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Jordan (S) - 14-16 Apr 11

Posted: January 21, 2012 11:56 PM - 4557 Hits

Round 4 - 2011 World Rally Championship
S - S2000 Championship
Round 3 - 2011 Middle East Rally Championship


Posted: January 21, 2012 11:56 PM

For the third time in four rallies, Dennis Kuipers took World Championship points in the Ford Fiesta RS WRC. In a eventful Jordan Rally the pilot of the FERM Power Tools World Rally Team finished ninth.

This is the best performance for Kuipers this season, resulting in two world championship points in the drivers' standings. Together with navigator Bjorn Degandt , the 25-year-old pilot also won four points in the manufacturers' championship.

After tenth place in Portugal this is the second consecutive top-ten finish for the driver of the FERM Power Tools World Rally Team. "Ninth in my debut in Jordan, is something I never had expected," said a delighted Kuipers. "It feels great to once again to have World Cup points."

The basis for this success came from the Saturday morning attack. They started in the morning with a 5.9 seconds gap behind Bernardo Sousa and finished the day with a 38 second lead over Sousa. In the difficult last stages the FERM-team succeeded in maintaining ninth position. This ninth position equals the best performance of Dennis Kuipers in a WRC rally. In 2010 he finished ninth in the Rally of Turkey.

"I think this ninth position is very special, for me it is a new rally, with a new temporary navigator and then achieving such a result is really, really magnificent. " Bjorn Degandt was also thrilled with the great result in Jordan. "Yesterday I learned already so much and I really enjoyed it. I could not wait to go racing again today. If you then finish with points in the FIA World Championship, it just makes this experience complete. "

This year’s Jordan Rally had two days of special stages instead the planned three days, due to problems with the logistics. The boat with the trucks, spare parts and recce cars was delayed. The situation required improvisational talents from all the teams and organisers. Kuipers and Degandt did the recce along the Dead Sea in a pick up truck.


Posted: January 21, 2012 11:55 PM

Portugal’s Bernardo Sousa made a perfect debut in the 2011 Super 2000 World Rally Championship in Jordan this weekend after claiming his first series win behind the wheel of a Ford Fiesta S2000.

The results at the second round of the S-WRC have now made for an exciting battle at next month’s event in Sardinia. With Bernardo Sousa now in joint second place alongside fellow Fiesta S2000 driver Martin Prokop, both drivers will be eager to snatch the championship lead from Karl Kruuda who is only five points ahead.

Nasser Al-Attiyah increased his leading margin to nearly two minutes by the end of the first day but an engine glitch caused the Qatari’s retirement on Saturday’s opening stage – a bitter disappointment for the eight-time MERC champion who was hoping to secure his sixth rally win of 2011 this weekend.

Spyros Pavlides returned to the wheel of the Fiesta S2000 after his debut in Portugal last month in an attempt to challenge the other S-WRC title-runners competing in the Middle East. Despite not being classified to score S-WRC points, the Cypriot was running fifth in class before a broken gearbox in Stage 10 forced him to retire. Pavlides opted not to return under SuperRally regulations for the final day of action.

Frigyes Turán had a disappointing debut in the S-WRC this week – the Hungarian was running third on Saturday morning but wad forced to retire on the event’s penultimate stage due to a mechanical problem.

Bernardo Sousa
S-WRC position: 1
Final position: 10

Bernardo Sousa reported difficulties with the car set-up on Friday’s opening loop and suffered from a spin on Stage 7. A change in set-up at the midday service vastly improved the young driver’s stage times on the repeat afternoon pass and he was closely matching the pace set by some of the World Rally Cars. At the end of the first day, Sousa was placed second in the S-WRC and eleventh overall.

Sousa took advantage of Nasser Al-Attiyah’s retirement on Saturday’s opening stage to move into the lead. With no immediate threat behind and with a lead of over one minute, Sousa opted for a more cautious driving approach. However, a problem with rear suspension damage on the young driver’s Fiesta S2000 going into the day’s final stages saw Estonia’s Karl Kruuda close the gap. Sousa was able to nurse his car safely home and finished with a much deserved 25 points, promoting him to joint second in the overall championship standings.

Bernardo Sousa said:
“I’m lost for words and absolutely delighted with my first win in S-WRC. Yesterday morning didn’t go so well for me but and I said last night, Nasser [Al-Attiyah] was winning his rally and I was winning the other. He knows the stages well here and the times he was setting were incredible – it was impossible to catch him and I would have been very happy with second. Then Nasser had his problems this morning – obviously it’s not how I wanted to win but that is the nature of rallying. It’s been the perfect start to the championship though – we had a tough time in the championship last year and I really appreciate the 25 points we got this weekend, I can’t wait to get to Sardinia now.”

Nasser Al-Attiyah
S-WRC position: Retired
Final position: Retired

Eager to make up for his exclusion from the previous round in Mexico, Qatar’s Nasser Al-Attiyah make a near-perfect performance in M-Sport’s new generation rally on Friday. The recent Dakar Rally champion lead the S-WRC by an astonishing 44 seconds by the end of the second stage and continued to post five-fastest stage times throughout Friday’s leg. A misfire in the afternoon cost the Qatari driver approximately 45 seconds but he had an impressive two minute lead over Sousa and was lying tenth overall by the end of the day.

Al-Attiyah’s engine glitch was fixed at the Friday evening service but disaster stuck for the flying Qatari as his Fiesta S2000 was struck down with a broken piston on the day’s opening 14.16 km stage. The disappointed driver was forced to retire and his hopes of his sixth rally win in 2011 was over.

Nasser Al-Attiyah said:
“Everything has been going so well for me this year but it seems I have no luck in this championship. I was very disappointed after Mexico and then when we had our engine problems this morning, I couldn’t believe our bad luck. I know this event very well but unfortunately it was engine problems and there is nothing I could do about that. I must concentrate on Sardinia now and hope that my bad luck is over so that I can push to pick up valuable championship points at the next round.”

Frigyes Turán
S-WRC position: retired
Overall position: retired
Hungary’s Frigyes Turán made his debut in the S-WRC this week after gaining valuable seat time in the Fiesta S2000 at Rally de Portugal last month.

Turán initially reported difficulties with grip on the loose gravel during Friday’s repeat loop covering 72.15 km and was placed sixth in S-WRC after the event’s opening stage. The team made some set-up changes at the midday service and the Hungarian climbed the WRC leaderboard throughout the afternoon, closing in on the other S-WRC contenders and finishing fourth in class - 36.4 seconds off a podium position.

After a good morning and the retirement of early leader Al-Attiyah, Turán was promoted to third place in the S-WRC. However, disaster struck on the penultimate stage when his Fiesta S2000 suffered from mechanical problems and the disappointed Hungarian was forced to retire from his debut event.

Frigyes Turán said:
“What can I say? I am very disappointed to have made it so close to a podium finish on my first S-WRC event and to retire so close to the finish. I had a great day yesterday – everything was going well and I had a very good feeling with the car. For sure, it is not the result that I had hoped for but I must stay positive – we have another six events this year and I hope that the experience we have learned this weekend will benefit us when we return to the championship next month.”


Posted: January 21, 2012 11:53 PM

M-Sport Stobart’s Matthew Wilson remains on track for securing his best ever season in the FIA World Rally Championship after posting his second consecutive top-five finish at this week’s Jordan Rally.

The 24-year-old Cumbrian was hot on the tail of Kimi Räikkönen throughout the final day of action and successfully moved ahead of the Finn on the day’s closing stages to notch up his third top-five finish in the Middle East.

After Thursday’s stages were cancelled due to a delayed boat carrying vital service park infrastructure, the going was made difficult for WRC crews who were forced to combat one of the longest stages of the WRC calendar – the 41.45 km Jordan River Stage – in the rally’s opening leg on Friday.

However, Wilson and co-driver Scott Martin – who were paying a special tribute in memory of Edward Stobart with a sticker on the bonnet of their Ford Fiesta RS WRC – showed a gradual improvement in their times throughout the first day. The duo completed the 17.20 km Kafrain stage 23.6 seconds quicker on the second pass and finished the day only 12 seconds adrift of Kimi Räikkönen in sixth place.

Determined to catch the 2007 Formula One Champion, Wilson set two quick stage times on Saturday’s opening leg and the gap between the two drivers closed to a mere 7.3 seconds. A puncture for Räikkönen on Stage 19 saw the Cumbrian move ahead of the Finn, securing Wilson his fifth-place finish and ten valuable drivers’ points.

Jordan Rally debutant Mads Østberg opted for a cautious approach on Friday morning, eager to learn the new stages and to gain valuable experience of the newly-developed Michelin tyres. By Stage 8, however, Østberg had found a good rhythm and finished the Kafrain stage fifth-fastest. By the end of the opening loop the M-Sport Stobart driver was sixth overall, 3.6 seconds behind fellow Fiesta RS WRC driver Mikko Hirvonen.

Stage 10 saw the return of dreaded technical gremlins for Østberg and Swedish co-driver Jonas Andersson when their Fiesta RS WRC suffered from a broken gearbox and forced the Scandinavians to retire. The M-Sport Stobart duo returned for the final day of action under SupeRally regulations but a disheartened Østberg struggled with motivation after Friday’s disappointment but was keen to experiment with different set-ups in order to learn more about the car in preparation for Sardinia.

Henning Solberg – who celebrated his 100th WRC in Jordan this week - reported his Fiesta RS WRC was running perfectly on Friday’s opening two stages, but disaster struck when he hit a rock on the 41.45 km Jordan River Stage which damaged the oil sump and forced the Norwegian to retire.

Solberg and co-driver Ilka Minor returned under SupeRally regulations on Saturday to set two third-fastest stage times during the event’s closing leg. The M-Sport Stobart driver gradually climbed the WRC leaderboard and finished the fourth round of the WRC 13th overall.

Matthew Wilson said:
“We’ve got a good track record at this rally and it’s great to finish with another top-five result straight after Portugal. We didn’t have too many dramas today - we hit a bank on a junction and stalled the engine on Stage 14 but it didn’t cost us too much time. At times we found it difficult to find good rhythm and decent grip but we were able to go flat out when the feeling was good. We’ve definitely noticed a big improvement with the Michelin tyres – they’re very strong and even though they’ve had to sacrifice some of the grip to make up for the durability, they’ve been fantastic for an event like this where it is so rocky out on the stages.”

Mads Østberg said:
“I am disappointed – it’s my second rally in a row where I’ve had to SuperRally and it’s frustrating. I just want to have a clean rally for the next few events – it is important for the sponsors. We have been testing this afternoon – it’s always good to try a few different things. I really pushed on the Power Stage but had a bit of a moment when I thought a left-hander over a crest was a right-hander. I’m looking forward to going home now and hope that Sardinia will be a better event for me.”
Henning Solberg said:

“There has been a lot of rocks on the stages today so we had to be a bit careful not to get a puncture but the car has been feeling good today. In fact, we’ve had a very nice feeling for most of the stages so I am disappointed that we had our problems yesterday morning and had to retire. I felt like the car had a lot more power this afternoon - our split times were good and we had two top-three fastest times which I am very happy with. Hopefully we can finally have a clear run in Sardinia – I hope this will be the case as when everything is going good, the car runs perfect.”

M-Sport Stobart Ford Team Principal Malcolm Wilson said:
“It’s been a disappointing rally for Mads and Henning but at least they were both able to get to the end of a difficult rally and score some manufacturer points for the team. It’s been a solid performance from Matthew this weekend – this is now his second top-five finish of the season so hopefully he can look to continue this consistency in Sardinia next month. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the team for their tremendous efforts on Thursday which enabled everything to be ready in time for the drivers’ starting on Friday, it’s fantastic to see such team spirit.”

Ogier scores a last-gasp thrilling victory!

Posted: January 21, 2012 11:51 PM

Sebastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia snatched victory in Rally Jordan in the very last stage, the Power Stage shown live on TV throughout the world. The Citroe?n Total World Rally Team crew won by two-tenths of a second, the smallest gap ever at the end of a WRC round. Se?bastien Loeb and Daniel Elena, who came third, have now taken the overall lead in the Drivers’ World Championship, while Citroe?n is now dead-heating for first place in the Manufacturers’ World Championship. With 115 kilometers of special stages, the second day of Rally Jordan looked like being a hotly-contested one between the four drivers in the running for victory: Se?bastien Ogier, Se?bastien Loeb, Jari-Matti Latvala and Petter Solberg. Loeb was the first to lay down a marker when he set the fastest time in Yakrut (SS13), but Jari-Matti Latvala’s all-out attack pushed the seven-time world champion back to third.

At the midday service break, Se?bastien Ogier was still leading the rally with some twenty seconds in hand over Latvala:
”I set off at a fast pace in the first stage, but when I saw Seb’s time I knew I had to push harder in the next ones. We managed to make the best of it as we’ve still got a lead that’s in keeping with our estimations. It’s not a big enough cushion, though. I’m going to have to go pedal to the metal right till the end to win the rally.”

“I’m not giving anything away, but I’ve a tendency to make small errors in trying to find the limits,” said Loeb. “We’re going to modify the setup as we’re losing time in the twistier sections, which is where I thought I’d be quicker. We’re going to fight till the bitter end.”

After losing some ten seconds after a wheel came off a rim in SS15, Petter Solberg retired after he went off in SS17. This meant that barring unexpected incidents, Ogier, Latvala and Loeb were assured of a place on the podium. But in which order?

By winning three stages in succession (SS17-19) Jari-Matti Latvala closed the gap to Ogier and took the lead by 5/10s just before the Power Stage. Loeb decided it was better to settle for third and lifted off. This left only Latvala and Ogier locked in battle for victory. They both gave their all in the final stage. The Citroe?n Total World Rally Team members could not believe their eyes when they saw their driver setting the fastest time and beating his rival by just 2/10s!

“Se?bastien Ogier continues to surprise us! Three weeks after Portugal this victory is a really exceptional performance to which we should associate the DS3 WRC, which again put on a stunning display both in terms of speed and reliability,” said Olivier Quesnel, the Citroe?n Racing Team Principal. We’re also delighted with Se?bastien Loeb’s performance as he was in a tricky situation because of his position on the road. This podium has put him in the lead in the Drivers’ World Championship, and that’s the most important thing.”

“Despite the fact that we were pushing like crazy, Jari-Matti gave us a hard time today” said the delighted winner. “He banged in incredible times and we almost felt that there was nothing we could do about it. Thanks to the reversed order in the final stage, sweeping had no influence and we were able to do battle on an equal footing. It was tough, but we never stopped thinking we could win, and Lady Luck smiled on us! It’s hardly believable to win the rally by such a tiny margin, but we’ve bagged the maximum amount of points with the Power Stage bonus. That’s put us back in the title hunt and it augurs well the rest of the season.”

Latvala edged out of Jordan win in world rallying's closest finish

Posted: January 21, 2012 11:49 PM

Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team's Jari-Matti Latvala and Miikka Anttila missed a dramatic victory in the Jordan Rally by just 0.2sec today after the closest finish in world rallying history. They held a slender 0.5sec lead in their Ford Fiesta RS World Rally Car ahead of the final desert speed test on the shores of the Dead Sea, but were edged into second by the smallest winning margin in FIA World Rally Championship history.

Team-mates Mikko Hirvonen and Jarmo Lehtinen finished fourth in another Fiesta RS WRC. In an equally enthralling conclusion to this fourth round of the championship, they took runners-up bonus points after claiming second fastest time in that final special stage – just 0.046sec behind the winner.

The previous closest rally result came in 2007 when Ford's Marcus Grönholm and Timo Rautiainen won Rally New Zealand by 0.3sec. The result here means Ford Abu Dhabi is tied for the lead in the manufacturers' world championship. Hirvonen lies second in the drivers' standings, just two points from top spot, with Latvala in fourth, just eight points from the lead.

The rally was shortened to two days after a 24-hour delay caused by the late arrival of teams' equipment. The ferry transporting the cargo from Trieste in Italy to Haifa in Israel was initially delayed in departing, and then broke down twice en route before finally having to wait outside the port to dock while bad weather subsided.

Competitors tackled 14 stages covering 259.56km, most of which was below sea level. Temperatures topped 30ºC and the heat and the hard, gravel desert tracks posed a tough challenge for drivers, cars and tyres. However, Michelin's new construction tyres were equal to the challenge and neither Latvala nor Hirvonen collected any punctures on the rock-strewn roads.

Latvala ended yesterday in third, after sacrificing 20sec and second position by slowing on the final stage to ensure better road conditions today. His gamble looked to be paying off as he benefited this morning from roads swept clean of gravel by the two cars ahead. He slashed the overnight 33.1sec deficit with three fastest times and moved ahead on the penultimate test, before the last stage drama.

"It was a fantastic way for the rally to finish but I'm so disappointed to lose out," said the 26-year-old Finn. "It hurts when you fight so hard and lose by such a small margin. I made a few small mistakes on the final stage but I had no option to attack as hard as I could. I took big risks all day, and it nearly paid off. My heart was pounding on several occasions because I almost hit big rocks.

"This was my fourth consecutive podium and they are valuable points. The car's performance was great all weekend and it's given me plenty of confidence for the next few gravel events," he added.

Hirvonen dropped more than two minutes yesterday after starting first on the slippery gravel tracks, and then driving with broken power steering on the final stage. The 30-year-old Finn ended the day out of the victory battle in fifth, but climbed to fourth after setting two fastest times this morning. He then claimed runners-up bonus points in the final stage.

"I tried to look after my tyres so that I had maximum grip for the Power Stage," he said. "I thought I had done enough to take full bonus points, but lost by a few hundredths of a second. It was a difficult weekend because I spent so many kilometres yesterday sweeping the road, but I'm pleased to have come out of it in a strong position in the championship. Two fastest times gave me a good boost and showed that the pace of the car is extremely strong."

Khalid Al Qassimi and Michael Orr finished eighth in the third Fiesta RS WRC. The Abu Dhabi driver felt comfortable in conditions similar to his native country and said:
"It was a tough rally. I tried to find a good pace and stay at that speed throughout the weekend, and my plan worked well. It wasn't an easy surface to drive on, and I had a few lucky escapes," said Al Qassimi.

Ford Abu Dhabi team director Malcolm Wilson shared Latvala's emotions.
"I can't imagine his disappointment after fighting so hard. It was the closest finish ever in a world rally and we showed great pace all weekend, setting seven fastest times. It's a good confidence boost for the team because we know the Fiesta RS WRC has the pace to win on gravel."

Ford of Europe motorsport director Gerard Quinn paid tribute to the team's behind-the-scenes personnel.
"After the late arrival of the equipment, our team members performed miracles in setting up the service park so quickly and ensuring we were ready to start the rally on time. Many worked throughout the night with no rest, before staying on throughout the next day also. I would like to thank them for their hard work and the role they played in such an exciting rally," he said.

News from other Ford teams

M-Sport Stobart Ford's Matthew Wilson and Scott Martin finished fifth in a Fiesta RS WRC. Team-mates Mads Østberg and Jonas Andersson were 13th and Henning Solberg and Ilka Minor finished 14th. Both finished under SupeRally rules after retiring yesterday. Munchi's Ford World Rally Team's Federico Villagra and Jose Perez Companc were seventh, while Dennis Kuipers and Bjorn Degandt were ninth for the FERM Power tools team. In the SWRC support category, Portugal's Bernardo Sousa and Antonio Costa took victory in a Ford Fiesta S2000 and finished 10th overall.


Posted: January 21, 2012 11:48 PM

Sébastien Ogier and Daniel Ingrassia emerged victorious from the closest finish in the history of the FIA World Rally Championship at the Jordan Rally on Saturday.

The Citroën Total World Rally Team crew entered the final Power Stage, near the Dead Sea, trailing Finland’s Jari-Matti Latvala and Miikka Anttila by half a second and the fastest time gave them a winning margin of just 0.2 seconds after 14 punishing gravel special stages in the Jordan Valley.

“Just an incredible day. I had to push like hell. It is an amazing feeling,” said a triumphant Ogier, who claimed a second successive championship win. “I had to ‘clean’ the road on the first loop this morning and to win like this is amazing. To win the Power Stage as well and get the extra points is a perfect weekend for me.”

Latvala duly claimed second position:
“I pushed really hard and went wide and made a couple of little mistakes in the last stage,” said the Finn.

Defending World Champion Sébastien Loeb finished third, Finland’s Mikko Hirvonen was fourth and Britain’s Matthew Wilson rounded off the top five.

A fascinating four-driver duel had developed between Ogier, Loeb, Latvala and Norway’s Petter Solberg over Saturday morning’s stages in the Jordan Valley. Solberg crashed out of contention with two stages remaining and Loeb began to slow over the last loop of stages as a fierce battle waged between Ogier and Latvala for the win.

Qatar’s Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah held a comfortable lead in both the SWRC and MERC categories until engine problems forced him to stop with a piston failure five kilometres into the Yakrut stage. His demise handed the SWRC victory to Portugal’s Bernardo Sousa and gifted the UAE’s Rashid Al-Ketbi with his first ever victory in the FIA Middle East Rally Championship in a Fazza Skoda Fabia S2000.

“In the end it was okay and we were not pushing a lot,” said Sousa, who beat Estonian Karl Kruuda’s Skoda Fabia S2000 by 21.7 seconds, despite suffering rear suspension problems on his Ford Fiesta. “We had to take it easy on the shocker. I am delighted. I really need a little more experience for the title (SWRC) but to start the year with 25 points is perfect.”

Al-Attiyah’s demise also ensured that the UAE’s Sheikh Abdullah Al-Qassimi moved into a one-point lead in the FIA Middle East Rally Championship after three of seven rounds, courtesy of his second overall in the MERC rally in a Ford Fiesta S2000.


Posted: January 21, 2012 11:31 PM

Jordan Rally WRC
1. Sébastien Ogier (F)/Julien Ingrassia (F) Citroën DS3 WRC 2h 48m 28.2s
2. Jari-Matti Latvala (FIN)/Miikka Anttila (FIN) Ford Fiesta RS WRC 2h 48m 28.4s
3. Sébastien Loeb (F)/Daniel Elena (F) Citroën DS3 WRC 2h 48m 55.9s
4. Mikko Hirvonen (FIN)/Jarmo Lehtinen (FIN) Ford Fiesta RS WRC 2h 51m 12.9s
5. Matthew Wilson (GB)/Scott Martin (GB) Ford Fiesta RS WRC 2h 54m 13.1s
6. Kimi Räikkönen (FIN)/Kaj Lindstrom (FIN) Citroën DS3 WRC 2h 54m 43.1s
7. Federico Villagra (RA)/Jorge Pérez-Companc (RA) Ford Fiesta RS WRC 2h 57m 46.9s
8. Khalid Al-Qassimi (UAE)/Michael Orr (GB) Ford Fiesta RS WRC 2h 58m 11.9s
9. Dennis Kuipers (NL)/Bjorn Degante (B) Ford Fiesta RS WRC 3h 02m 55.7s
10. Bernardo Sousa (P)/Antonio Costa (P) Ford Fiesta S2000 3h 03m 33.7s
11. Karl Kruuda (EE)/Martin Järvedja (EE) Skoda Fabia S2000 3h 03m 55.4s

Jordan Rally MERC
1. Rashid Al-Ketbi (UAE)/Khalid Al-Kendi (UAE) Skoda Fabia S2000 3h 19m 52.9s
2. Sheikh Abdullah Al-Qassimi (UAE)/Steve Lancaster (GB) Ford Fiesta S2000 3h 30m 43.1s
3. Mufeed Mubarak (KT)/Saad Al-Melaifi (KT) Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X 3h 33m 10.3s
4. Michel Saleh (RL)/Ahmad Ghaziri (RL) Subaru Impreza STi 3h 33m 35.5s
5. Mazan Tantash (HKJ)/Zeid Abu Zeid (HKJ) Subaru Impreza STi 3h 34m 27.4s
6. Essam Al-Nejadi (KT)/Anwar Al-Sharah (KT) Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX 3h 39m 40.0s
7. Meshal Al-Nejadi (KT)/Ahmad Al-Khrass (KT) Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX 3h 41m 04.2s
8. Nancy Al-Majali (HKJ)/Nadia Shnoudeh (HKJ) Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX 3h 51m 53.8s
9. Rami Hijazi (HKJ)/Ramzi Mansour (HKJ) Subaru Impreza STi 3h 59m 25.7s
10. Mirza Hatk (HKJ)/Faisal Hakki (HKJ) Fiat Stilo 4h 24m 01.4s


Posted: April 14, 2011 7:23 PM

Henning Solberg celebrates his 100th FIA World Rally Championship event at this week’s Jordan Rally with a card from the Norwegian Prime Minister, Jens Stoltenberg.

The M-Sport Stobart driver was presented with the card from Norway’s head of state this afternoon by Ford Team Principal Malcolm Wilson. Stoltenberg has met Solberg on several occasions and wanted to commemorate the landmark event by sending his fellow Norwegian a personally signed card.

“It is a great honour to be recognised by Mr Stoltenberg for reaching 100 WRC events, I am very touched,” said Solberg.

“It’s amazing how quickly the time has gone but I’d like to thank M-Sport for some fantastic memories over the past few years and hope that I’ll still have many more to come.”

Solberg started his motorsport career in bilcross and rallycross events and racked up five consecutive Norwegian Rally Championship titles between 1999 and 2003.

He had his first WRC outing in 1998 and in 2007 joined the M-Sport Stobart Ford World Rally Team alongside Cato Menkerud for a full championship campaign in the award-winning Ford Focus RS WRC. With five top-five finishes in his first year for Stobart, including a third placed podium finish on his home event of Norway and a third place in Japan, Solberg was the star for the Stobart Team.

The Norwegian continued with Stobart in 2008, occasionally representing the Munchi’s Ford team but was back full-time for M-Sport Stobart in 2009 when he landed podiums in Argentina and Poland.

2010 saw a new co-driver for Solberg – Austria’s Ilka Minor and the pair contested nine events in their Focus RS WRC. He also piloted the Ford Fiesta S2000 for four events, winning the Group N category on three occasions.

Solberg became a YouTube phenonomen at the end of 2010. Over 50,000 people have watched Henning and brother Petter run in tandem in a hamster wheel on Norwegian game show “Who can beat Aamodt and Kjus” which saw Henning fall over on live TV. More recently, he appeared on the Norwegian version of Fort Boyard where he and his three team-mates won the series. Solberg’s team decided to donate their winnings to a Norwegian hospital.

In 2011, Solberg continues to drive for the M-Sport Stobart Ford World Rally Team alongside Minor in the new Ford Fiesta RS WRC.

The fourth round of the FIA World Rally Championship, Jordan Rally, will commence tomorrow – one day later than originally planned due to the late arrival of service park infrastructure.

LEG 1 (Thursday) Cancelled

Posted: April 13, 2011 4:23 PM

The late arrival of vital equipment and vehicles from Europe has given Jordan Rally and WRC officials no other option but to cancel the first leg of timed special stages, scheduled for Thursday, and rearrange the ceremonial start in Jerash for Thursday evening.

The decision was taken following meetings at the King Hussein Bin Talal Convention Centre by Hilton on Wednesday and means that the fourth round of the 2011 FIA World Rally Championship will now be fought out over 14 special stages on Friday and Saturday, with the WRC competitors tackling the same route as teams taking part in the third round of the FIA Middle East Rally Championship.

“The ship that has been bringing the equipment in has broken down twice en route from Europe but thankfully the vehicles are now on land and will be at the Dead Sea tonight (Wednesday),” said Randa Nabulsi, Clerk of the Course. “The decision to change the first day’s schedule was made collectively and we can all look forward to the ceremonial start tomorrow evening in Jerash and then the start of the rally on Friday morning.”

Citroën Total’s Sébastien Loeb and Sébastien Ogier and Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team’s Mikko Hirvonen arrive at the start of the shortened Jordan Rally with a win apiece under their belts after three rounds of this year’s world series. Hirvonen and Loeb share the lead in the Drivers’ Championship with 58 points and the Blue Oval holds a 10-point advantage over the French marque in the Manufacturers’ title race.

Both Hirvonen and Loeb have taken one win apiece on the previous two WRC events in the Hashemite Kingdom and Ogier arrives at the lowest point on earth fresh from taking his third ever WRC rally win in Portugal two weeks ago.

While Ogier and Hirvonen chase a maiden world title, Loeb will be bidding to win his 64th WRC rally and maintain his progress towards a staggering eighth successive World Championship title and a fourth successive Manufacturers’ award for Citroën.

The Jordanian gravel stages take few prisoners and it was vital that the leading crews were able to carry out a rescheduled reconnaissance of the winding roads, despite many having to use road cars and rental vehicles on this occasion.

While Loeb, Hirvonen and Ogier start as favourites to lead the way in Jordan, Ford’s Jari-Matti Latvala lies third in the Drivers’ Championship and has the pace to beat and match the top trio, while Norway’s Petter Solberg has shown a remarkable turn of speed in his privately-run cars over the last couple of seasons and would dearly love to claim victory on his first WRC rally since the 2005 Wales Rally GB and move off his current unlucky total of 13 WRC wins.

The top runners will also face competition from M-Sport Stobart Ford World Rally Team drivers Henning Solberg, Matthew Wilson and Mads Ostberg, former Finnish Formula One star Kimi Raikkonen, Team Abu Dhabi’s Khalid Al-Qassimi and Argentina’s Federico Villagra. The Jordan Rally will also mark the first Middle East appearance of a Mini John Cooper Works S2000 in the hands of Brazilian driver Daniel Oliveira.

After being excluded from taking a slender victory in the SWRC category in Mexico for a technical infringement, Qatar’s Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah will be hoping to bounce back with a win in Jordan at the wheel of his Ford Fiesta S2000. But the Qatari needs to ensure that his car remains in one piece to enable him to score points in the MERC event that also runs on Friday and Saturday.

Al-Attiyah faces fierce competition at the Dead Sea from Portugal’s Bernardo Sousa, Estonian Karl Kruuda (Skoda), Germany’s Hermann Gassner Junior (Skoda), Norwegian Eyvind Brynildsen (Skoda), Hungary’s Frigyes Tuban (Ford) and Andorra’s Albert Llovera (Fiat). Jordan’s Ammar Hijazi lies third in the MERC series and will represent the host nation in his Skoda Fabia S2000 at the rear of the P3 field.

Thursday’s revised schedule will include pre-event scrutineering, a revised session for the shakedown test, the official FIA pre-event press conference and the ceremonial start at Jerash from 17.30hrs. Friday’s and Saturday’s schedules will run as per normal.

Thursday, April 14 – revised timetable
Scrutineering 07.00-10.30
Shakedown 12.30-14.30
Pre-event press conference 14.30 (service park)
Ceremonial start in Jerash 17.30 onwards

Rally Guide / Event Website / Details

Posted: January 2, 1990 3:01 PM

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