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Al-Attiyah, Bernacchini shoot into Jordan lead
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 11 - 05 - 2013

DEAD SEA, Jordan — Qatar's Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah and Italian co-driver Giovanni Bernacchini held a 1min 11.2sec lead in the 2013 Jordan Rally after eight drama-filled special stages in the Dead Sea area Friday.
The Ford Fiesta RRC driver edged into a tiny lead through the first slippery stage and gradually pulled away from the UAE's Sheikh Khalid Al-Qassimi and British co-driver Scott Martin to take a comfortable advantage into Saturday's eight timed tests.
“We knew after the recce that the stages would be very difficult and it has not been easy to maintain a fast pace,” said Al-Attiyah.
“The tires have been working hard and the roads have been very slippery. We have the lead but there is a long way to go.”
Abu Dhabi Racing's Al-Qassimi came under increasing pressure from the Lebanese duo of Roger Feghali and Joseph Matar as the afternoon progressed. The Lebanese was quickest through the fourth stage in his Motortune Fiesta and moved to within one and a half seconds of the Emirati's Citroën before slipping behind on the seventh stage.
Qatar's Abdulaziz Al-Kuwari and Irish co-driver Killian Duffy put their jetlag to one side to hold fourth place in the Seashore Ford Fiesta RRC. Sharjah's Abdullah Al-Qassimi and Qatar's Khalid Al-Suwaidi were tied in fifth position and Jordan's Ma'rouf Abu Samra was the leading local driver in seventh.
Jordanian Husam Salem (Mitsubishi) held the Group N advantage over Abu Dhabi's Bader Al-Jabri, but Abu Dhabi Racing's Majed Al-Shamsi and Irishman John Higgins lost a potential top finish and escaped unhurt after rolling over the edge of a sheer drop into a canyon in the fifth stage.
Teammates Mohamed Al-Sahlawi and Allan Harryman were fortunate to avoid serious injury when their Citroën DS3 left the road and came to rest balancing on the edge of the same cliff face. Mohammed Al-Mutawaa and Stephen McAuley led the Junior and 2WD categories in a third Abu Dhabi car.
Al-Shamsi was not so fortunate and was taken to a clinic with his shoulder in a sling for a check-up.
HRH Prince Feisal Al-Hussein, chairman of Jordan Motorsport flagged 26 cars away from the official start podium at Martyrs' Memorial in Amman Thursday evening. — SG


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