WRC

Acropolis Rally: Sheikh Khaled Al Qassimi midday notes

AL QASSIMI POISED FOR BEST EVER WORLD RALLY FINISH BP Ford Abu Dhabi lie first, third and sixth going into final Acropolis Rally stages High drama on the second day and third morning of the Acropolis Rally of Greece saw UAE rally ace Sheikh...

AL QASSIMI POISED FOR BEST EVER WORLD RALLY FINISH

BP Ford Abu Dhabi lie first, third and sixth going into final Acropolis Rally stages

High drama on the second day and third morning of the Acropolis Rally of Greece saw UAE rally ace Sheikh Khaled Al Qassimi and co-driver Michael Orr in a fantastic position to register their best ever finish at a WRC event. The Abu Dhabi master is in sixth position overall - his best finish to date has been eighth. But with two more stages to come this afternoon, including the long 33km final leg (stage 17), anything could still happen and only a fool would rule out more drama taking place before this incident-packed rally concludes.

It has been an exceptional rally so far for the BP Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team -- not only is Al Qassimi in his best ever WRC form, but drivers Mikko Hirvonen and Jari-Matti Latvala are currently in first and third positions respectively. The collective BP Ford Abu Dhabi nerves will be on edge until the final two stages are complete.

Al Qassimi began day three in seventh place overall, after the treacherous gravel roads around Loutraki, west of Athens, claimed yet another leading scalp on Saturday afternoon. WRC legend Petter Solberg, who was second at the half-way point on Saturday, damaged his car on stage 11 to slip down the field. Solberg joined a growing number of leading drivers to come unstuck on the difficult road conditions on Saturday, and the drama showed no sign of abating on Sunday morning with seventh placed Citroen Junior driver Evgeny Novikov suffering mechanical problems to lose time and propel Al Qassimi into sixth.

Al Qassimi maintained his steady progress through stages 13, 14 and 15 this morning, consolidating sixth position and maintaining consistent stage times. With two stages remaining this afternoon there is everything to play for. "We have had a good morning -- we are driving sensibly with controlled aggression and have to maintain our levels this afternoon", commented Al Qassimi. "It is far too early to get excited -- anything can happen on these roads and the last stage is very long."

Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA) is behind the Abu Dhabi rally programme which includes sponsorship of the WRC, the BP Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team, and the Abu Dhabi Junior Driver Programme. All eyes will be on BP Ford Abu Dhabi team's performance and also on the other Abu Dhabi-backed motorsport teams in action around the world this weekend, with Team Abu Dhabi competing in the Red Bull Air Race in Windsor, Ontario and the Abu Dhabi F1 Powerboat team in action in 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 Petter Solberg , Jari-Matti Latvala , Mikko Hirvonen , Evgeny Novikov
Teams Citroën World Rally Team