AL QASSIMI BATTLES BACK IN THE BUSH BP Ford Abu Dhabi driver claims back time to push for points Gold Coast, Australia, 5th September 2009: Abu Dhabi rally driver Khaled Al Qassimi pushed hard to make up valuable time during day two of ...
AL QASSIMI BATTLES BACK IN THE BUSH
BP Ford Abu Dhabi driver claims back time to push for points
Gold Coast, Australia, 5th September 2009: Abu Dhabi rally driver Khaled Al Qassimi pushed hard to make up valuable time during day two of his antipodean adventure at Repco Rally Australia. The Emirati ace rose to the challenge of reclaiming time, after his enforced day one retirement when his car was damaged after hitting a tree stump, and fought his way up the rankings during all ten stages, claiming a credible 26th position.
Al Qassimi's unscheduled previous day's retirement meant he was being tested by new stages and also had a formidable 35 minutes penalty to overcome. Heavy rain over night added to the test by creating very slippery conditions, accentuated by the second day's frequent tight and technical sections. Starting further back in the field, Al Qassimi was able to use the slight advantage of previous WRC drivers sweeping away the slippery gravel and take cleaner and more precise lines, clawing back the seconds where ever he could. The Emirati took every chance presented to him, surging on through a gruelling 15 hours behind the wheel, edging his way up from 30th place.
Al Qassimi recognises, however, there's still much to do to close the large gap to earn place points. "I pushed as hard as possible to bring myself back into the game. I am happy with the car and hope that I can continue to test myself tomorrow. I am gaining valuable experience on this terrain, which I will look to use to my benefit for rest of the Championship," he said.
Al Qassimi's fight back won the total support of his main backer the Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA), which is behind the BP Ford Abu Dhabi initiative."Khaled is rising to the challenge and clearly invoking a typical Emirati trait of resilience," said Ahmed Hussein, Deputy Director General, ADTA.
Meanwhile Al Qassimi's BP Ford Abu Dhabi team mates were also challenging hard for the top of the podium. Jari-Matti Latvala and Mikko Hirvonen produced some of the fastest times across the stages, both of them leading at different points in the rally. The day ended in darkness on the tarmac Super Special Stage through the town of Murwillumbah. The short two loop stages produced sound results placing the Finns in second and third position at the end of day two.