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Subaru World Rally Team pairing Petter Solberg and Phil Mills are to take part in the recce for next month’s Jordan Rally as preparation for the event’s graduation to the FIA World Rally Championship calendar in 2008.

Citroen's Sebastien Loeb will also do the recce for the event.

After competing in their Impreza WRC2007 on the previous weekend’s Rally Argentina, Petter and co-driver Phil will fly to the Middle East to drive the route on May 9-10. Although they will not compete on the rally itself, the Subaru duo’s reconnaissance of the event’s 18 speed tests will give them a great deal of information about the challenge they will face next season.

“Unlike Phil, I haven’t been to Jordan before so I’m not sure what to expect of the stages,” said Solberg. “Having the chance to recce the roads like this is a great opportunity and the experience of making a set of pace notes will help our preparations before we rally there for real in 2008. It’s always good to try a fresh event for the first time and I’m very much looking forward to getting out to Jordan and seeing the event for myself – it sounds like a lot of fun.”

This year’s rally runs over two days and will be a dress rehearsal for the country’s first full WRC event. Next season the event, which has been given a March 28-30 date on the 2008 schedule, will expand to three days of competition.

For 2008 the route is expected to be a variation on this year’s event, which is based in north and west Jordan on gravel roads around the historic Dead Sea and the Jordan Valley regions, as well as in a more mountainous area in Rumman forest. The unique geography of the region means that almost 70 per cent of the stages are run below sea level. The 13km Dead Sea stage (SS7) is officially the lowest land point on earth, at 400 metres below sea level.

Jordan is the first Arab country to win a place on the WRC schedule and the 2008 rally could expose up to 200 million people to the Subaru World Rally Team and the WRC.

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