Support Class Preview

SWRC preview: Jordan Rally

Nasser Al-Attiya and Giovanni Bernacchini, Ford Fiesta S2000
Nasser Al-Attiya and Giovanni Bernacchini, Ford Fiesta S2000

Photo by: xpb.cc

Nasser Al-Attiyah thought he would be leaving last month’s Rally Guanajuato Mexico, venue for round one of the Super 2000 World Rally Championship, with victory and 25 points following an impressive drive on the taxing gravel event.

However, post-rally technical checks found that a part on his Ford Fiesta S2000 didn’t comply with the regulations and the Qatari was promptly disqualified, handing victory to rival Fiesta driver Martin Prokop in the process.

Undeterred, the multiple Middle East champion will start the second round of the SWRC - the World Rally Championship’s fastest support category - determined to make up lost ground and profit from the absence of Prokop, Juho Hanninen and Ott Tanak, none of whom have nominated the gravel round as one of their seven scoring events.

“The car was running perfectly in Mexico so, of course, I was hugely disappointed after my disqualification,” said the Barwa World Rally Team driver, a winner in Jordan during the event’s stint as a WRC candidate rally. “But I must try to push that incident to the back of my mind and aim for victory in Jordan. I know the stages well in Jordan - they are very similar to other rounds in the Middle East championship and I am feeling very confident with the car. I think I can win.”

If Al-Attiyah is to win in Jordan then he will have to overcome the threat posed by Bernardo Sousa. The Portuguese didn’t select Rally Mexico as one of his seven nominated events so starts his campaign in the Middle East. Although his challenge in Jordan last year ended in exclusion, Sousa had been leading in his Fiesta and is set to challenge again.

Like Sousa, Eyvind Brynildsen will also use Jordan to open his SWRC campaign at the wheel of a Skoda Fabia. The young Norwegian will compete under the PS Engineering banner in deference to his countryman, the 2003 world champion Petter Solberg, who has taken Brynildsen under his wing.

Hermann Gassner Jr will also be reliant on Skoda power when he makes his SWRC debut. The perennially underfunded German star has been handed a dream drive in a Red Bull-backed Fabia, run by Raimund Baumschlager’s crack BRR operation from Austria. It’s quite a turnaround for Gassner, who spent last year’s Jordan Rally working as a mechanic for his current employer.

Frigyes Turan will also make his SWRC debut in Jordan. The Hungarian impressed on a handful of world championship events last term only to suffer a heavy crash on RACC Rally de Espana. “It means the world to accomplish a place in the SWRC but I am sure it will be an extremely hard season among extremely talented opponents,” said the Fiesta pilot. “I’ve only tested my car on icy stages so far but I am ready for the hot climate and gravel stages in Jordan.”

Albert Llovera begins his second season in the SWRC in an Abarth Grande Punto partnered by new co-driver Diego Vallejo, who navigated MINI factory driver Dani Sordo for part of the 2010 season. The Andorran is paralysed from the waist down following a skiing accident back in 1985 and relies on special hand controls.

Karl Kruuda will be looking for better fortune in Jordan after being hampered by mechanical problems in Mexico. Local driver Ammar Hijazi is eligible to score SWRC points after being nominated as a wildcard entrant by the rally organisers.

-source: wrc

shares
comments
MINI WRC Team is officially launched in Oxford

Previous article

MINI WRC Team is officially launched in Oxford

Next article

M-Sport SWRC Preview

M-Sport SWRC Preview
Load comments
How Neuville stole the show from Ogier vs Evans slugfest in Spain Prime

How Neuville stole the show from Ogier vs Evans slugfest in Spain

While all pre-event chat focused on the two World Rally Championship title fighters, their closest challenger charged into the spotlight on Rally Spain. Thierry Neuville's star turn and another strong drive from Elfyn Evans in his fight with Sebastien Ogier made for an intriguing event as the 2021 campaign nears its crunch point

WRC
Oct 18, 2021
The steely determination behind the WRC’s Solberg 2.0 Prime

The steely determination behind the WRC’s Solberg 2.0

Two decades after Petter Solberg emerged as a World Rally Championship winner, his son Oliver is ready to take the WRC by storm. Having secured a part-time WRC factory drive for Hyundai in 2022, he's raring to repay the marque's faith in him and follow in his 2003 champion father's footsteps

WRC
Oct 14, 2021
Analysing the key moves in WRC’s 2022 silly season Prime

Analysing the key moves in WRC’s 2022 silly season

The World Rally Championship will step into a new hybrid era in 2022, but the car changes haven't been the only excitement that has built within the paddock. WRC's 'silly season' kicked off in a big way and all the key driver moves for 2022 - of which there are many - look set to shake things up.

WRC
Oct 13, 2021
Why winning in Finland was Evans' true WRC coming-of-age Prime

Why winning in Finland was Evans' true WRC coming-of-age

By his own admission, the fifth World Rally Championship victory of Elfyn Evans' career in Finland last weekend was the drive of his life. Winning five stages in a row and soaking up huge pressure from the Hyundais on the fastest gravel stages around, the Welshman put in a faultless showing that proved what he is truly made of

WRC
Oct 4, 2021
Does Neuville have a point with his WRC Rally1 rant? Prime

Does Neuville have a point with his WRC Rally1 rant?

OPINION: Thierry Neuville's diatribe against the upcoming Rally1-spec machines that will usher in the World Rally Championship's new hybrid era was remarkable in an era where drivers are usually reticent to air their views in public. But are the Belgian's concerns about speed, safety and cost entirely valid?

WRC
Sep 16, 2021
How Rovanpera reached new heights in the Greek mountains Prime

How Rovanpera reached new heights in the Greek mountains

After Kalle Rovanpera’s historic feat at Rally Estonia, the Finn scaled new heights at the Rally of the Gods with a commanding victory. And this time Toyota’s young star demonstrated why the future is bright with his devastating speed and consistency at the Acropolis Rally

WRC
Sep 13, 2021
The WRC drivers that came of age at the Acropolis Rally Prime

The WRC drivers that came of age at the Acropolis Rally

Five drivers have won first time out at the Rally Acropolis, transcending the tough dirt and gravel Greek roads to cement a place in rallying folklore. Here are three of the first-time winners' tales

WRC
Sep 9, 2021
Understanding Suninen’s sudden WRC exit gamble Prime

Understanding Suninen’s sudden WRC exit gamble

From being considered a likely contender to drive the next-generation M-Sport Ford Puma in 2022, Teemu Suninen's abrupt exit has created plenty of questions. The Finn's bid to become his country's next World Rally Championship winner won't be furthered by being sidelined, but there may be reason behind the decision

WRC
Sep 2, 2021