Sheikh Khaled al Qassimi is hoping to boost his challenge for the FIA Middle East Rally Championship (MERC) by triumphing in next weekend's Rally Jordan. The Abu Dhabi driver, who normally competes in the World Rally Championship for the BP Ford Abu Dhabi team, is keeping his focus on the MERC this weekend as he drives a Ford Fiesta S2000, despite the competition also being a World Rally event.
"My focal point for 2010 is now to challenge for the MERC title," he said. "My co-driver Michael and I won at Rally Kuwait, and led at Rally Qatar before punctures forced us to retire, and I feel that we are in a strong position to go for a win in Jordan. "We have a busy schedule, including all the MERC rallies and nine rounds of the WRC, but it is all vital to my continuing development as a driver," he added.
Al Qassimi is joint top of the standings with Nasser Saleh Al Attiya, who won in Qatar, and Hamad Al Thani, with the trio all on 10 points. Meanwhile, his BP Ford teammate, Mikko Hirvonen, is hoping to replicate his 2008 victory in the event as he looks to re-take the championship lead from Sebastien Loeb, the Citroen driver. "Jordan can be difficult, there are a lot of crests and hills and nothing to define the edge of the road. We will have to make sure that our distances after crests and corners are very precise," he said.
The rally actions begins on Friday morning. email@example.com