Nine drivers are rushing from Baja Russia to compete in the Jordan Baja this weekend
Jordan will host the second round of the FIA Bajas Cross Country World Cup and the first round of the FIA Middle East Cross Country Bajas Cup on February 17.and-19andwith a challenging course with varied terrain and demanding dunes in Wadi Araba.
The Jordan Baja arrives on the heels of last weekend’s Baja Russia Northern Forest and nine riders have organized their logistics to allow them to travel from the icy and snowy wastelands of northern Russia to compete through the spectacular deserts of the south. from Jordan. It will also be a complete contrast in terms of temperature, with sub-zero daytime chills and snow showers in Russia’s Leningrad region replaced by the hot, shifting sands of Wadi Rum and Wadi Araba.
Saudi pilots Yazeed Al-Rajhi, Dania Akeel, Mashael Al-Obaidan, Saleh Al-Saif and Yousef Al-Dhaif have had mixed fortunes in Russia. But they attacked the Hashemite Kingdom.
Al-Rajhi had been the pre-event favorite to claim a second victory in Russia, but his Toyota Hilux hit a rock on the first true forest stage and the impact damaged the steering and lower front suspension. The result was a massive series of time penalties and a decision by the Saudi not to restart on the final day. Thus, Al-Rajhi arrives in Jordan 40 points behind Baja Russia winner Vladimir Vasilyev in the championship standings.
Akeel and Al-Obaidan finished seventh and 10th in the FIA T3 class, while South Racing Can-Am teammate Fernando Alvarez was fifth overall and second in T3 in Russia and also makes the trip to Jordan.
Al-Saif was ranked ninth overall and fifth in T3. With T3 winner Anastasiya Nifontova not making the trip to Jordan, Alvarez has a great opportunity to extend his series lead after two rounds, while Al-Saif will aim to close the gap on the Spaniard.
Al-Dhaif finished 14th overall and third in the T4 section behind local rally driver Sergey Remennik and Spaniard Miguel Angel Valero. With neither of these two rivals present in the Levant this week, the Saudi senses an opportunity to top the points standings against a new set of opponents.
The Saudi sextet will be joined in Aqaba by the Nakusi Rally Team duo of Pavel Silnov and Armen Puzian and Brazilian Cristiano de Sousa Batista in a Snag Racing Team Can-Am. The Russian pair finished seventh and 10th overall and fourth and sixth in T3 and will be aiming to close the gap on Alvarez through the deserts of southern Jordan. De Sousa Batista retired to Russia.
The Jordan Baja is based at the Hyatt Regency Aqaba Ayla Resort in Aqaba City on the Red Sea.
SCHEDULE OF EVENTS AND MEDIA ACTIVITIES
Thursday February 17
Pre-event press conference, Ayla Marina Village, Aqaba 5:45 p.m.
Departure Ceremony, Ayla Marina Village, Aqaba 6:00 p.m.
Friday February 18
SS1A Rum (234.10 km) First car 08:05
SS1B Rum (84.90 km) First car 1:15 p.m.
Saturday February 19
SS2 Araba (152.00 km) First car 09:15
Podium/Award Ceremony, Ayla Marina Village, Aqaba 5:00 p.m.
Post-event press conference, Ayla Marina Village, Aqaba 5:30 p.m.
For more information on the FIA Off-Road Bajas World Cup, please visit the FIA website.