WRC

Acropolis Rally: Sheikh Khaled Al Qassimi final leg summary

STUNNING RESULT FOR BP FORD ABU DHABI TEAM IN GREECE Best ever finish for Al Qassimi. First and third for Hirvonen and Latvala A stunning drive from Sheikh Khaled Al Qassimi and his co-driver Michael Orr was rewarded at the Acropolis...

STUNNING RESULT FOR BP FORD ABU DHABI TEAM IN GREECE

Best ever finish for Al Qassimi. First and third for Hirvonen and Latvala

A stunning drive from Sheikh Khaled Al Qassimi and his co-driver Michael Orr was rewarded at the Acropolis Rally of Greece with their best ever finish in a WRC event. Sixth place for the Emirati ace is a remarkable achievement for someone contesting only his second WRC season. The dramatic rally witnessed an astonishing performance overall by the BP Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team which registered its 70th world rally victory, with Mikko Hirvonen emerging victorious. The perfect weekend was rounded off in style with a further podium place for BP Ford Abu Dhabi driver Jari-Matti Latvala who finished third despite having crashed his car on day one.

Al Qassimi's sixth placing earns him three Championship points, doubling his total for the year. He moves up to 11th position in the 2009 drivers' classifications. The first and third places for the BP Ford Abu Dhabi team blow the WRC Drivers' Championships wide open, with Mikko Hirvonen moving to within seven points of leader Sebastian Loeb of Citroen. The BP Ford Abu Dhabi team is now within 15 points of Citroen in the Manufacturers' Championship. There is everything to play for now as the team's head to Poland in two weeks time.

Al Qassimi began day three in seventh place overall, moving up to sixth when Citroen Junior driver Evgeny Novikov suffered mechanical problems in the morning and rapidly lost time to move down the field. Controlled aggression from Al Qassimi saw him progress through stages 13 to 17 without any major difficulties to finish the rally in jubilation: "What an incredible rally this has been. The roads have been unbelievably tough and I can't remember so many drivers having problems. But we stuck at it, despite some close encounters and I am so pleased for myself, Michael, and the entire Abu Dhabi team. This result is a huge boost to the whole Abu Dhabi rally programme, and I hope it will be an inspiration for the Abu Dhabi Junior Drivers in Poland."

Al Qassimi's best WRC performance to date won immediate acclaim from Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA) which is behind the BP Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team initiative.

"Khaled is now clearly demonstrating how experience pays off. He has come a long way since the start of this campaign just 18 months ago to now feature in the top 10 placings of one of the most difficult rallies in motorsport," said Ahmed Hussein, Deputy Director General, ADTA. "He is blazing a trail for our junior drivers who can now follow his example of quiet, yet dogged determination.

"Equally Khaled is earning himself a significant following among the many WRC followers worldwide who, thanks to his prominent, yet understated, emergence onto the championship circuit have an expanding interest in Abu Dhabi and its sporting and cultural initiatives."

Team Abu Dhabi outfits are also in action in the Red Bull Air Race in Windsor, Ontario and the F1 Powerboat fixture in Lahti, Finland.

The BP Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team is an initiative of the Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority which is title sponsor of the BP Ford Abu Dhabi team, Official Destination partner of the World Rally Championship, and creator of the Abu Dhabi Junior Driver Development Programme.

-credit: aq

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About this article
Series WRC
Drivers Jari-Matti Latvala , Mikko Hirvonen , Evgeny Novikov
Teams Citroën World Rally Team