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Jordan Rally WRC becomes motor-sport focus in Middle East

18.03.2008 / Amman (Jordan), Cairo /

Only a few weeks to go and the Royal Kingdom of Jordan will become the focus of not only the Middle Eastern but also the international motor-sport society and motor-sport lovers. Jordan is the first Middle Eastern country to ever host a WRC round, giving it therefore the same motor-sport importance like Bahrain and Abu Dhabi, which are hosting the only Formula 1 races in the region for the time being.

And today the Jordanian Motorsport Association announced that a staggering statistic has been revealed showing that up to one billion people across the world will witness Jordan’s first entry onto the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) from April 24-27th.

With the Jordan Rally WRC creating an electric buzz throughout the motoring community in the Arab World, Jordan’s image in the international arena is set to be enhanced by immeasurable proportions through the widespread television coverage planned by International Sportsworld Communicators (ISC), which manages and distributes the championship’s television footage.

With its crew of over 100 set to converge on Jordan, ISC is planning to mix hardcore rally action with features and footage on Jordan as a whole. These images will then be inserted into a portfolio of programmes to be broadcasted in the weeks following the rally to 183 countries worldwide.

“ISC’s partnership with the FIA has been instrumental in enhancing the championship’s global image,” said HRH Prince Feisal Al Hussein, Chairman of Jordan Motorsport. “It is statistics like this that attracted us to the championship in the first place and it is reassuring to know that all of our hard work will help to position Jordan globally as an emerging leisure and sporting destination.”

Programmes such as Rallyworld and Gillette World of Sport will show extensive Jordan Rally WRC highlights while the event will also benefit enormously from the nightly news feed shown by the main global broadcasters such as CNN and BBC World.

As well as the extensive world-wide coverage, Arab broadcasters are queuing up to obtain rights to show the rally footage across the region as 200 million Arabs eagerly await the arrival of one of the biggest sporting and social occasions ever to reach West Asia.

Complimenting this television coverage will be 300 journalists and photographers of 70 nationalities that will be reporting the event to 200 countries. The long term spin-offs from the media coverage, word-of-mouth and the general feel-good confidence from the event being hosted here will run into 100s of millions of dollars for the Kingdom.

Jordan has invested considerable financial and logistical resources into the event but did so in the knowledge that each dollar spent would be recuperated several times over. The rally is centered at the Dead Sea with the 22 timed special stages being held within 40 kms of the headquarters, making Jordan the second most compact rally of the championship.

The Jordan Rally WRC will be the fifth round of the 2008 Championship, following earlier rounds held in Monte Carlo, Sweden and Mexico and next week’s fourth round in Argentina. All the superstars of the sport, including four-time world champion Sebastian Loeb and 2003 World Champion Petter Solberg, will be competing in the region for the first time.

It is worth mentioning that without the motor-sport enthusiasm of H.R.H. King Abdallah of Jordan and his father the late King Hussein of Jordan, who set the motor-sport foundation in Jordan, such a success of hosting a WRC round would not have been possible. H.R.H. King Abdallah and late King Hussein used to race themselves in various rallies, and King Abdallah is know for having one of the most exquisite and exclusive car collections worldwide and being a Harley Davidson rider and lover.

If Jordan manages to host a WRC round for the next few years, then it would surely succeed in becoming one of the most important , if not THE most important and popular motor-sport in the Middle East region, especially since rally motor-sport has a much longer history and Arab drivers' participation than other motor-sport championships like the Formula 1, the FIA GT or the WTCC.

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