x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

Al Qassimi keen on Finnish test

Sheikh Khalid Al Qassimi is pleased with his performances in the World Rally Championship, as he marks one year in the competition.

Sheikh Khalid Al Qassimi is confident of a good display in Finland.
Sheikh Khalid Al Qassimi is confident of a good display in Finland.

Sheikh Khalid Al Qassimi is pleased with his performances in the World Rally Championship, as he marks one year in the competition. Jyvaskyla, where he will race this weekend, is the scene of his debut for the BP-Ford Abu Dhabi team last July. He is confident of improving on his 16th-placed finish last season. "I've finished every event I've started, but my previous pace notes and stage experience should benefit my times," he explained. "It will be the first rally where I can look at a prior performance and assess my progress, I'm intrigued to know how I am developing one year into my WRC career."

The course is traditionally dominated by Finnish drivers, with the retired driver Marcus Gronholm winning seven of the last eight rallies. With that in mind Al Qassimi is likely to take a back seat to Finnish teammates Mikko Hirvonen and Jari-Matti Latvala. Hirvonen leads the drivers standings, while the outfit hold a nine-point lead at the top of the team rankings. Al Qassimi is delighted to see his team challenging for the title a year after being rebranded following a sponsorship deal with Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority.

"Marking Abu Dhabi's one year anniversary in the spiritual home of rally is going to be very special for everyone," he said. "I'm sure my Finnish teammates will offer me certain pointers and also be determined to celebrate the landmaek occasion with podium finishes." @Email:lthornhill@thenational.ae