Al Qassimi eyes changes in WRC fortunes for Abu Dhabi Citroën partnership

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UAE driver hopes for happier second half of season as Hirvonen, Sordo seek first win in Finland

Abu Dhabi, UAE, 15 July, 2013: The UAE’s Sheikh Khalid Al Qassimi hopes that next month’s Rally Finland can provide an important turning point in the 2013 World Rally Championship for the new partnership between Abu Dhabi Racing and Citroën Racing.

Twelve months ago, Sébastien Loeb and Mikko Hirvonen scored a 1-2 success in Finland to take Citroën Racing another step closer to an eighth WRC manufacturers’ title.

While Loeb has scored two victories for the Abu Dhabi Citroën Total World Rally Team in a limited WRC programme this season, Hirvonen and Dani Sordo are both still seeking their first wins as team-mates.

Mikko Hirvonen and Jarmo Lehtinen, Citroën DS3 WRC, Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team
Mikko Hirvonen and Jarmo Lehtinen, Citroën DS3 WRC, Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team

Photo by: XPB Images

As a result, Citroën trail Volkswagen by 46pts in the 2013 manufacturers’ title race, while Hirvonen and Sordo lie fifth and sixth in the WRC drivers’ standings, topped by Sebastien Ogier who already has four victories to his credit.

“It’s been a tough championship so far, but we’re all looking for a much happier second half of the season,” said Al Qassimi. “The team is working hard to put some disappointment behind us, and Mikko and Dani are both hoping to turn things around, starting in Finland.”

Al Qassimi, who will miss Rally Finland on 2-4 August because of other professional commitments, has high hopes for Northern Ireland’s Kris Meeke when he represents the Abu Dhabi Citroën Total World Rally Team in one of the fastest and most exciting events on the WRC calendar.

Always keen to give opportunities to talented drivers, the Emirati said: “Unfortunately, I cannot take part in the Finnish round, and I’m happy to give Kris an opportunity to show what he can do on the WRC stage.

“He has real potential as a driver and has the maturity you need to enjoy a sensible and efficient rally. I’d like to give him the chance to express himself fully at this unusual event. I hope he is very successful there.”

Meeke first came to notice in the Junior World Rally Championship, especially in 2005 when he recorded his best result in a Citroën C2 Super 1600 by finishing third in the series.

The British driver went on to win the 2009 IRC title in a four-wheel drive car, and in 2011 was given a works drive in a World Rally Car.

Khalid Al Qassimi and Scott Martin, Citroën DS3 WRC, Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team
Khalid Al Qassimi and Scott Martin, Citroën DS3 WRC, Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team

Photo by: XPB Images

“This is an incredible opportunity for us now,” said Meeke. “Taking part in Rally Finland in a DS3 WRC is a dream that I didn’t think would become reality. I’d like to thank Sheikh Khalid, Abu Dhabi Racing and Citroën Racing for the trust they have placed in us.

“We’re going to benefit from the advice and expertise of a team that has won the world championship eight times. We therefore have every chance of securing a good result.”

Al Qassimi and his British co-driver Scott Martin will return to WRC action with the Abu Dhabi Citroën Total World Rally Team in Rallye Deutschland on 23-25 August.

Total Communications

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About this article
Series WRC
Article type Breaking news
Tags abu dhabi, al qassimi, citroen, deutschland, fia, finland, hirvonen, loeb, meeke, partership, sordo, uae, world rally, wrc

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