GREEK DRAMA AS ACROPOLIS RALLY TOLL KEEPS UAE'S AL QASSIMI IN CONTENTION UAE World Rally star, Sheikh Khaled Al Qassimi, is leading the charge for Abu Dhabi on a spectacular triple-header weekend of motorsport for the emirate. After a...
GREEK DRAMA AS ACROPOLIS RALLY TOLL KEEPS UAE'S AL QASSIMI IN CONTENTION
UAE World Rally star, Sheikh Khaled Al Qassimi, is leading the charge for Abu Dhabi on a spectacular triple-header weekend of motorsport for the emirate. After a dramatic day and a half of high-speed action at the WRC Acropolis Rally of Greece, the BP Ford Abu Dhabi driver remains in Championship points contention, going into this afternoon's stages and the final day on Sunday. At the half-way point, Al Qassimi is now in ninth place after stages seven, eight and nine and in well placed to mount a leadership charge.
The Abu Dhabi master began day two in eighth position overall and some intelligent driving saw him avoid problems which beset other competitors. While those around him appeared to lose their heads, Al Qassimi proved that years of world and Middle East championship experience have kept him in good stead for the tricky Greek mainland conditions. Loose gravel roads strewn with rocks are taking a big toll on all the cars and require sensible management of tyres and suspension.
BP Ford Abu Dhabi driver Jari-Matti Latvala, World Champion Sebastian Loeb and Citroen's Dani Sordo all suffered major set-backs, crashing off course on stages six, seven and nine respectively, to leave the field wide-open. Meanwhile Al Qassimi has maintained steady progress to stay in the points places. "It is really tough out there, the cars are taking a huge battering", said the Emirati rally ace after this morning's stages. "Concentration is everything -- we cannot push the car too much on this surface, we must be sensible, take our time, and not make many mistakes. With Loeb crashing out this morning, it is easy to see how quickly things can change."
Al Qassimi is hoping to stay in touch with the leaders today, knowing that further dramatics could propel him even further up the classifications. Meanwhile, as he flies the flag for Abu Dhabi on four wheels, the emirate's name is also reaching out to motorsport fans in Canada and Finland. Flying high in the skies above Windsor, Ontario, Team Abu Dhabi with reigning Champion Hannes Arch, is looking for more glory in the Red Bull Air Race series, while the Abu Dhabi F1 Powerboat drivers Ahmad Al Hameli and Thani Al Qamzi, will be at full throttle on Lake Lesijarvi in Lahti, Finland.
The three pronged motorsport campaign is being backed by the Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority ( ADTA) as it seeks to promote the emirate in key world markets.
"The Acropolis is living up to its reputation as a rally which takes a tough toll on both cars and drivers but is holding out great opportunity for Khaled who perhaps has an advantage of being more used to the heat environment," said ADTA's Deputy Director Ahmed Hussein. "Khaled's steady performance is exciting hopes within the worldwide rally community and the UAE, that he is ready to seize this opportunity.", said Deputy Director General, Ahmed Hussein.
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.