After a disappointing exit from Rally Sweden in his first World Rally Championship [WRC] outing for 16 months, Sheikh Khalid Al Qassimi turns his attention to the Kuwait International Rally of the Middle East Rally Championship.
After snowy exit in Sweden, Sheikh Khalid Al Qassimi turns to Kuwait
Sheikh Khalid Al Qassimi has targeted a victory on his return to the Middle East Rally Championship [MERC] in Kuwait next month after suffering a disappointing exit from Rally Sweden in his first World Rally Championship [WRC] outing for 16 months.
The Emirati, with British co-driver Scott Martin, in their Abu Dhabi Citroen Total World Rally car, were denied a reward for their climb through the field in Sweden by a third0-leg setback that put them out of the event Saturday night.
But Sheikh Khalid is already planning ahead for the Kuwait International Rally, the second round of the MERC season on March 21-23, where he will be looking to go one better after his second-place finish in Qatar last month.
"For sure, we will be looking for a win in Kuwait," he said. "I have already sat down with the team to put together a strategy for Kuwait where we will be doing as much testing as possible to make sure we are as well-prepared as we can be."
After a second-day slide into a snow bank lost time him valuable time, Sheikh Khalid recovered from being as low as 39th in the standings, climbing to 19th midway through the second leg Saturday.
But he was unable to start the final leg on Sunday because of an over-heated engine.
"It's a real shame, because I had found decent pace," he said. "The stages were quicker than Friday, and I felt good. I knew that if I'd continued I might have been able to finish higher, maybe in the top 12, and I've been happy with that after the bad start I had on Friday.
"But these things happen. The last time I was in a World Rally Car in a WRC event was October, 2011, and I'm now I have a new team and a new car, and the conditions in Sweden are never easy for me. But I'm looking forward to the rest of the season."
Sheikh Khalid's teammate Sebastien Loeb finished second in the event, 41.8 seconds behind Sebastien Ogier, who triumphed in his Volkswagen.
Rashid Al Ketbi finished 26th in his Dubai Rally Team Skodia Fabia car in the WRC2 category in Sweden.
Al Ketbi was eighth in the WRC2 competition.
"The goal was to finish and I managed to do that and score some points as well," Al Ketbi sad. "It was a really useful learning curve for me to come here and compete."
Follow us @SprtNationalUAE