x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

Al Qassimi targets another points haul at Rally Italy

Fresh off an eighth-place finish in the last WRC round in Jordan, the Emirati is determined to maintain momentum as the series rolls into Sardinia.

The UAE's Sheikh Khalid al Qassimi, fresh off an eighth-place finish in the last World Rally Championship (WRC) round in Jordan, is determined to maintain momentum as the series rolls into Sardinia for this weekend's Rally Italy.

To do so, the Emirati, who has finished 16th and 15th in two previous runs on the Mediterranean island, will treat his third Sardinia appearance - on a vastly altered rally route - as his first.

"Over 80 per cent of my previous pace notes are no longer relevant," Sheikh Khalid said.

"The new stages mean that Michael [Orr, his co-driver] and I will need to produce most of our notes from scratch. This weekend is going to be a huge challenge for everyone."

The punishing rock-strewn tracks on round five of the 13-event calendar, deserve respect, he said.

"Drivers who treat the narrow gravel sections of Sardinia with the most respect will have the upper hand," said the UAE's highest grossing WRC points scorer.

"The passes have no defined edges and instead of side-banks, large rocks border them. Fast and loose gravel tracks mean that the margin of error is so small that you need to really focus on balance and traction while driving."

Sheikh Khalid has earned points in every rally he has completed this season. Now, with a place in the drivers' standings top 10 within reach, he is eyeing more.