Mounting a rally is never easy to begin with. Organizing one in the Middle East amidst the greatest popular upheaval in the region's considerable history, however, is another matter entirely. We recently reported on the potential effects which demonstrations and revolutions across the region could have on motorsport competition, and now it's all come home to roost.
Only two months after protests forced the cancelation of the Bahrain Grand Prix, a number of unpredictable factors have caused the delay – but not the cancellation – of the WRC rally in Jordan. Although the Hashemite Kingdom itself has remained relatively stable, getting the cars and equipment there this year proved a unique hassle. Teams were cautioned against trying to go through the Suez Canal due to the situation in Egypt, and with protests kicking into high gear in Syria, Plan B was out, too. Organizers ended up shipping by sea from Italy to Israel, only to be faced by further setbacks.
Stormy weather reportedly dictated it unsafe for the ship to dock in Haifa – Israel's northern port on the Mediterranean – leaving it stranded one kilometer offshore. When the harbor finally gave the all-clear for the ship to dock, one of its engines wouldn't start, forcing tug-boats to bring it in and shutting down all traffic in the port in the process. The shipment was then delayed in customs and took fourteen hours to finally reach the Jordanian coast of the Dead Sea where the garages are being set up.
The rally is now set to begin on Friday, two days behind schedule, but ready to go nonetheless. Meanwhile, the ship has since been impounded by the Israeli ministry of transportation until its engine can be repaired, forcing organizers to make alternative arrangements for getting their cars and gear back to Italy for the Sardinia rally on May 5.
[Source: Autosport | Image: McKlein/Citroën]