x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

Al Shamsi and al Jabri optimistic after good showing in Portugal

Majed al Shamsi and Bader al Jabri were pleased with their performance in Rally Portugal.

Team Abu Dhabi's Majed al Shamsi and Bader al Jabri have promised to keep delivering on the international stage following their respectable eighth and ninth place finishes in Rally Portugal — the second round of the seven-event Federation Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) Production Car World Rally Championship (PWRC).

As well as marking the first time that two Emiratis have recorded drivers' points in a PWRC event, the early season result demonstrates the fledgling Team Abu Dhabi pair's progress in their maiden season in the prominent World Rally Championship (WRC) feeder series.

Buoyed by a second successive eighth-place finish, al Shamsi believes there is more to come. "I had some problems with my accelerator and tyres during the second stage and felt unfortunate to finish day one in 10th," he said.

"To emerge from one of the toughest rallies of the year with four points is hugely satisfying and it gives me a lot of optimism about the remainder of the season."

Eighth place gave al Shamsi another four drivers' standing points to go with the four he bagged in the series' Swedish opener. With two points from his first PWRC finish, al Jabri - another recruit from Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority's Junior Driver Development Programme, a grassroots initiative designed to nurture the next generation of domestic motorsport stars - echoed his teammate's positive prediction.

"I'm quite surprised at how quickly we have gotten to grips in our new surroundings," al Jabri said.

"Although we drove here last year in another series, the PWRC is a completely different environment and everything has gone up a notch - the cars are faster, the drivers more skilled, it's a lot more pressure."

* Compiled by Graham Caygill with agencies