Amman, 21 May 2022 - Nasser Saleh Al Attiyah and Mathieu Baumel cruised through the final six gravel stages to secure a comfortable 15th victory at the 2022 Jordan Rally on Saturday.
Driving an Autotek Volkswagen Polo GTi R5 to victory for the third time in Jordan, the Qatari won 11 of the 12 special stages in the Dead Sea and Jordan Valley areas of the Hashemite Kingdom and is now very close to a record-breaking 18th FIA Middle East Rally Championship (MERC) title.
The win marked Al-Attiyah’s 81st career MERC success and his third of the season, while his Andorra-based co-driver now has 29 victories to his name.
Al-Attiyah, who had a winning margin of 9min 57.6sec, said: “I am really happy to win the Jordan Rally. I have a lot of experience and I have competed a lot here. Thanks to the organisation for making an amazing job. To win 15 times here has not been easy but the team has worked very hard. We need only two or three points from Lebanon and Cyprus. We know we can be strong in every race. We need another Nasser Al-Attiyah in the championship. We need people to continue the Middle East Championship. It is important to us.”
The Lebanese duo of Alex Feghali and Joseph Matar overcame a minor turbo scare to seal second overall and first in the MERC2 category, the youngster going one better than his third place and second in class in 2021.
“It was a pretty fun weekend and at the end of the first day we had a good of around one minute,” said Feghali. “The game plan today was just to keep the time and that’s exactly what we did. It’s nice to get the second place, my first second place ever and we won the group.”
Defending MERC2 champion Meshari Al-Thefiri was unable to catch Feghali on the final day but the Kuwaiti and Qatari co-driver Nasser Al-Kuwari collected valuable showroom category points nonetheless, their challenge for the showroom category title boosted by the unfortunate retirement of the series-leading Jordanian Issa Abu Jamous with car damage.
Al-Thefiri said: “It was good for us to finish this rally. We lost many seconds yesterday. Today I pushed to the maximum to catch what I can. We win six stages and Alex wins six. I promise next year we will fix everything to win!”
The Jordanian pairing of Khaled Juma and Tareq Al-Taher came home in fourth overall in their Subaru Impreza WRX and claimed victory in the Jordan National Rally after a fierce tussle with fifth-placed Hamada Odeh and Yazan Juma. The crew were separated by just half a second in the battle for fourth and the national category win.