Find out more about our subscriptions

Delayed Jordan Rally ready to start

Jari-Matti Latvala, Ford, Jordan 2011This week's Jordan Rally will start with the seventh stage tomorrow and will run as a two-day event.

The kit finally arrived in the Dead Sea service park at 0200 this morning as a 37-truck convoy which had a police escort from the Israeli border for the three-hour journey to the Dead Sea.

The service park was built overnight, but the last remaining hopes of running today's six stages competitively were extinguished when the Michelin trucks containing the tyres everybody needed were among the 12 vehicles detained a couple of hours longer in customs at Haifa.

"We were prepared to run today servicing the cars under easy-ups," said Ford co-ordinator John Millington. "We committed to coming here and, of course, we want to run the rally, but when we couldn't get the tyres, it was impossible."

Millington added that he never doubted the show would come together.

"It's the way our boys work. They started at two this morning and really didn't stop. We had a chef come in to make some breakfast and make sure they had some food, then a second shift came in at five and continued to get the job done. I never had any doubts that they could get everything sorted out."

Citroen team manager Sven Smeets added: "It was quite stressful to get the cars ready for scrutineering at 1030 this morning, but it's been stressful week for all of the guys who have been waiting for days and hours and then building the service park through the night.

"The problem for us in Jordan was that we had to change plans so many times. We didn't come the usual route to Aqaba because of the problems in Egypt, the advice was not to go through the [Suez] canal in case it was closed. So then the safe way was through Turkey, Syria and into Jordan.

"But then we needed different documents to go in and out of Turkey, so we said we would go direct to Syria to avoid that problem and, finally, the problems began in Syria so we had one week to find the solution."

The solution was to cancel the original freight bookings and charter a boat from Italy to Israel. After one engine failure, the boat arrived off the coast of Israel on Tuesday night, but the harbour pilot refused to dock the boat due to the weather conditions. When the boat was cleared to dock the next day, the second engine refused to start, leaving it stranded. Tug boats eventually brought the boat in to allow the teams to unload. It then took 14 hours from reaching dry land to arriving in the Dead Sea.

The organisers of the Jordan Rally have issued a bulletin, informing crews that the event starts from Time Control 6D, parc ferme out tomorrow morning at 0830.

Having participated in a two-hour shakedown, the crews have now gone to Jerash for a ceremonial start.

  More news  
Read the AUTOSPORT Digital Edition
Visit the shop
See highlights from 60 years of AUTOSPORT
Breaking news feed
Live commentary feed
Ogier wins in Jordan by just 0.2s
Latvala sets up final-stage decider
Solberg retires after accident
Ogier fends off rivals in Jordan
Al-Attiyah retires from SWRC lead
S2000 Mini retires early in Jordan
Ogier charges into big lead
Al-Attiyah keen to avenge exclusion
Ogier takes early Jordan lead
Jordan WRC boat impounded
Rally Jordan's first day cancelled
Storm causes new Jordan delays
Teams to meet to decide on Jordan
Delays unlikely to halt Jordan Rally
Further delay to Jordan build-up
Jordan recce delayed by boat issue
FIA, teams confirm Jordan presence
No decision yet over Jordan WRC
Syria unrest threatens Jordan Rally