x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

Disappointing Acropolis Rally means Sheikh Khalid will search for balance at Sardinia event

Sheikh Khalid Al Qassimi vows for better results at the Sardinia Rally at the end of the month as Team Abu Dhabi finishes second and eighth behind the winning Volkswagen driven by Jari-Matti Latvala at the Acropolis Rally.

Sheikh Khalid Al Qassimi has vowed to bounce back quickly from his disappointment at the Acropolis Rally with a strong performance at the Sardinia Rally later this month.

The Emirati had been on target for his second successive points finish in the World Rally Championship (WRC) as he was running in ninth place until a roll on the rocky Greek terrain on Saturday's second leg caused too much damage to his Team Abu Dhabi Citroen for him to be able to continue.

Sheikh Khalid said he would learn from the incident and look to score points at the next round, which is in Italy from June 20 to 23.

"Things can go wrong in rallying, but you learn from them," said the UAE driver. "When something like that happens you just have to put it out of your head and move on.

"I've just had a meeting with the team now and we're looking to get a better set-up for the car in Sardinia. It was OK this week, but it's still not the way I like it."

Describing the incident which put him out in Greece, he added: "It was at a medium-fast corner, and it had started to rain. The stages were rough and we had raised the car slightly to avoid damaging it underneath, and that may have changed the balance.

"I was pushing at that point and the car just slid and rolled. This is a very sensitive car, and a small change can make a big difference, so we still have work to do to get things right."

The event was won yesterday by Volkswagen's Jari-Matti Latvala, with Sheikh Khalid's Abu Dhabi Citroen teammates Dani Sordo and Mikko Hirvonen finishing second and eighth, respectively.

The WRC2 category was won by Robert Kubica, the Polish driver who drove in Formula One until a crash competing in a rally in 2011 left him with severe injuries.

It was his first rally success and he told Autosport: "These conditions were completely opposite to what I was used to for the past 20 years, but we came here and performed in a good way."

The UAE's Rashid Al Ketbi was classified fifth in the WRC2 standings in his Skoda Fabia.

"The competition is very strong and there were times when I could have driven quicker," said the Skydive Dubai driver, "but I did not want to risk the car over the large rocks and stones that make this rally so difficult."

 

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