Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large
Sheikh Khalid Al Qassimi likes Team Abu Dhabi's chances at race wins and a title in the World Rally Championship.
Sheikh Khalid Al Qassimi likes Team Abu Dhabi's chances at race wins and a title in the World Rally Championship.

Sheikh Khalid says Citroen partnership offers 'very strong team' for WRC

With Team Abu Dhabi partnering nine-time World Rally Championship team Citroen, Sheikh Khalid Al Qassimi says challenging for wins and a title is a strong possibility, says Graham Caygill.

ABU DHABI // Sheikh Khalid Al Qassimi is confident that the new partnership between Abu Dhabi Racing [ADR] and Citroen will get off to a victorious start at the Monte Carlo Rally.

While Sheikh Khalid himself is not competing in the opening round of the 2013 World Rally Championship [WRC], which began Tuesday with the ceremonial start and runs until Saturday, the Citroen Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team will have world champion Sebastien Loeb, Mikko Hirvonen and Dani Sordo competing in their colours in their respective DS3 cars.

The rally will see the drivers race on snow-covered tarmac stages, and Sheikh Khalid said: "I think we have a very strong team competing in Monte Carlo. Sebastien is the world champion and has won there before and I am sure he will be very competitive again.

"Mikko has won there when it was an IRC [Intercontinental Rally Challenge] event and Dani is a tarmac specialist so I think that we will be strong."

Sheikh Khalid, who is the chairman of ADR, is not in Monte Carlo because he is working with the French manufacturer on developing his car for next week's opening round of the Middle East Rally Championship [MERC] in Qatar.

He will make his first WRC appearance of the year next month in Sweden, and he said: "I am looking forward to it. I have heard good things about the car. I have not driven it yet in its WRC set up but I will do before Sweden."

Sheikh Khalid sat out the entire 2012 WRC season having been a regular competitor since 2007, but he believes his return to the championship, thanks to the formation of the ADR, will not only help him but raise the profile of the city and encourage the next generation of rally drivers to get behind the wheel.

"We see this as the start of a new era for Abu Dhabi in world rallying and I'm very excited by what lies ahead," he said. "I'm very happy to be getting the chance to return to action in the WRC but the bigger picture is that this is a unique opportunity to carry the Abu Dhabi brand to a worldwide audience."

Also in action in Monte Carlo is Rashid Al Ketbi, who will drive a Skoda Fabia S2000 in the WRC2 category.

The Emirati, who drives for the Skydive Dubai Rally Team, said: "I know it is going to be a tremendous challenge this week but I am really looking forward to it.

"To improve in this sport you need to rally in all types of weather conditions."

Today's action comprises four special stages, with the total event covering a distance of 465 kilometres before the winner is crowned on Saturday afternoon.

gcaygill@thenational.ae

twitter Follow us @SprtNationalUAE

Back to the top

More articles


Editor's Picks

 Faisal Al Ketbi, standing, has been the poster boy for the upcoming Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship. Courtesy of Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship

Faisal Al Ketbi is in spotlight for world jiu-jitsu championships at Abu Dhabi

Faisal Al Ketbi is the poster boy for UAE jiu-jitsu, with his picture prominent in the billboards and advertisements for this week’s Abu Dhabi World Jiu-Jitsu Championship.

 Broadcast crews have been working to adjust UAE's cricket stadiums, such as Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi, for the IPL, such as installing the cables for cameras. The opening match between Mumbai Indians vs Kolkata Knight Riders is April 16, 2014 at at Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi. Pawan Singh / The National

IPL turns UAE into cricket’s world stage

The Indian Premier League’s UAE schedule will be a television production emanating in the Middle East, choreographed from Singapore and involving a Belgian who happily admits to being a cricket novice.

 Lalit Modi during the 2010 Indian Premier League T20 Final between Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings played at DY Patil Stadium on April 25, 2010 in Navi Mumbai, India. Ritam Banerjee / Getty Images

IPL’s best moments: April 25, 2010 - Modi’s final farewell

Lalit Modi, the league’s first commissioner, knew his days were numbered when he made a closing speech ahead of the 2010 tournament finale.

 Abdelaziz Haikal, left, avoids getting tackled, but his Al Ahli side were forced to a goalless draw at home to Al Hilal, from Saudi Arabia. Al Ittihad

Al Ahli miss huge opportunity to progress in ACL

Dubai side forced to a goalless draw at home to Al Hilal. Ahmed Rizvi reports.

 Godolphin is hoping to get a clear picture of  Ihtimal at Newmarket. Jeffrey E Biteng / The National

Godolphin to get a good look at Ihtimal’s form at Newmarket

The true abilities of Godolphin’s Ihtimal will be brought more into focus on Wednesday after a trio of fillies turn out at the headquarters of British racing for trainer Charlie Appleby.

Events

To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National