UAE driver moves up leaderboard.
Citroen Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team driver Sheikh Khalid Al Qassimi overcame two spins during his first pass over the treacherous 59.13km Monte Lerno stage to finish Rally Italia Sardegna Day 2 in ninth place overall (provisionally).
Tackling the sixth round of the FIA World Rally Championship with co-driver Chris Patterson, Sheikh Khalid began the day in 10th place that position at the end of the morning’s two special stages.
Sheikh Khalid though lost some precious seconds on his first pass of the 59.13km Monte Lerno stage, the longest competitive section of the WRC this season, after spinning twice, one of which was close to a steep drop.
The Abu Dhabi driver said: “It was a hard day, especially with Monte Lerno. I enjoyed it, but the stage was very technical with some high speed sections. I spun twice near the end of the stage and damaged the rear of the car a little. The technicians fixed the problem during the service break though.”
Sheikh Khalid returned for the second pass of the morning’s two stages and was immediately on the pace, completing the 12th special in 10th overall and ninth among the WRC contenders.
And on the second pass over the monster Monte Lerno stage, Sheikh Khalid went one better finishing 9th overall (provisionally).
Sheikh Khalid added: “I felt better in the second half of the day. The technical crew did a good job on my car setup and I really enjoyed the second pass over Monte Lerno, although it was a very challenging stage.”
Meanwhile, lead driver Mads Ostberg capitalised on problems for Volkswagen duo Jari-Matti Latvala and Andreas Mikkelsen to go up second overall, one minute 40.2 seconds behind new leader Sebastien Ogier, also of Volkswagen.
Ostberg had earlier held on tenaciously to third place despite intense pressure from Mikkelsen, but the Volkswagen driver lost considerable time on SS12.
Citroen’s second driver, Kris Meeke, who was forced to retire on the first day due to an electrical fault with his DS3, returned yesterday under Rally 2 rules but finished the day in 16th overall.
Today, the final day of the rally, will see the drivers tackle a total competitive distance of 46.84km over four stages in two sections, which includes the concluding 8.96km Power Stage.
The top three in the Power Stage will be awarded three, two and one point respectively.