x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 24 January 2018

National joy in Dubai is the target for Sheikh Khalid

Not being in a position to challenge for the Middle East Rally Championship title has not dampened Sheikh Khalid al Qassimi's resolve to win the Rally Dubai.

Not being in a position to challenge for the Middle East Rally Championship (Merc) title has not dampened Sheikh Khalid al Qassimi's resolve to win the Rally Dubai, which starts today.

The Emirati driver has targeted winning the two-day event, which climaxes tomorrow at the Old Town Island, to help cap the UAE's celebration of National Day.

"I'm in it to win and nothing else," said the Team Abu Dhabi driver, who has won in Dubai twice before, in 2005 and 2006.

"It will be maximum attack. I'm not here just to participate or settle for a place on the podium.

"I want to win my home event on National Day weekend, not just for myself but for all the people of the UAE."

Sheikh Khalid is fourth in the Merc title standings on 21 points going into the final round of the season, and it is mathematically impossible for him to catch Misfer al Marri, the Qatari driver, who leads the way on 44, with only a maximum of 10 available for a victory in Dubai.

Only Nasser al Attiyah, the reigning champion, can catch his compatriot al Marri. He trails by eight points, but regardless of how he does if al Marri is sixth or better then he will be champion.

The event opened last night with the traditional Ceremonial Start, but the action begins today with six stages. Another six will be completed tomorrow.

Meanwhile, Khaled al Qubaisi qualified fifth on the grid for today's third round of the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East in Bahrain.

He clocked a time of 1min 06.737 secs, 1.6 seconds off the pace of Prince Abdulaziz Al Faisal of Saudi Arabia, who took pole.

His fellow Emiratis Musaed al Murar and Ibrahim Salloum line-up sixth and seventh in Sakhir.

* With agency