ABU DHABI JUNIOR DRIVERS LOOKING TO EMULATE MENTOR AL QASSIMI IN POLAND Al Qassimi's 6th in Greece set to inspire the Abu Dhabi Junior Drivers at Rally Poland ABU DHABI, 24 June, 2009: Sheikh Khalid Al Qassimi, the Abu Dhabi World Rally ...
ABU DHABI JUNIOR DRIVERS LOOKING TO EMULATE MENTOR AL QASSIMI IN POLAND
Al Qassimi's 6th in Greece set to inspire the Abu Dhabi Junior Drivers at Rally Poland
ABU DHABI, 24 June, 2009: Sheikh Khalid Al Qassimi, the Abu Dhabi World Rally Championship (WRC) driver and member of the BP Ford Abu Dhabi Rally Team, finished in a career best position of 6th place at the Acropolis Rally of Greece leaving a legacy the emirati Junior Drivers will aspire to during the Polish rally this week. The three drivers have started the season with excellent results and will look to improve upon these at Rally Poland, the 3rd stage of the Fiesta Sport Trophy International (FSTi), which starts on Friday 26 June.
The Abu Dhabi Junior Driver Development programme has been created to nurture future emirati champions, and the present drivers are nothing but ambitious. Since 2007 Majed Al Shamsi, Ahmed Al Mansoori and Bader Al Jabri have displayed both commitment to the sport and dedication to their country by using the opportunities provided by Abu Dhabi to succeed in the FSTi. After two stages of the six-event series Bader, Shamsi and Mansoori currently sit third, fourth and sixth respectively in the standings and Rally Poland looks to be an excellent chance to extend their achievements.
2009 sees Rally Poland accepted on to the WRC and FSTi calendars for the first time since 1973. The second oldest rally, it is of gravel terrain located in the hilly Mazurian Lake District, 230km north of Warsaw. Ahmed Hussien, Deputy Director General, Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA) commented: "The Abu Dhabi Junior Driver Development Programme has presented the three Abu Dhabi Junior Drivers with some good experience on gravel surfaces that has so far aided them successfully in earlier stages. We are optimistic that the conditions in Poland will enable them to continue to develop their skills, as well as their standings in the FSTi".
Also hoping to build on their points will be BP Ford Abu Dhabi drivers Mikko Hirvonen and Jari-Matti Latvala, who had a hugely successful rally campaign in Greece resulting in a first and third positions for the two Fins. This result has helped put the team back into contention for the Manufacturers Championship, placing BP Ford Abu Dhabi just 15 points behind the Citroen team and within reach of the lead. Commenting on the results Malcolm Wilson, BP Ford Abu Dhabi Team Director said "it was a dream result", he went on to be optimistic as to their chances for Poland, "A new rally means it's a level playing field for everybody and I'm hopeful we can be strong there. We've always done well on new rallies, I think we proved that, and I think Finnish drivers in general tend to adapt to new rallies quicker than the others. Poland is a fast rally and apparently a lot of the roads are quite like Finland, so that should suit Mikko and Jari-Matti."
Rally Poland also sees the Abu Dhabi Junior Development programme, and the three Junior Drivers, come under the spotlight as Abu Dhabi TV begin filming the first of four features on their progress.
The Abu Dhabi Rally Programme is an initiative of the Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA) which is one of the title sponsors of the BP Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team, Official Destination partner of the World Rally Championship, and creator of the Abu Dhabi Junior Driver Development Programme.