Sheikh Khalid al Qassimi puts himself in position for a first World Rally Championship points finish as he finishes the second day of the Rally Ireland in eighth place.
Points hope for al Qassimi
SLIGO // Sheikh Khalid al Qassimi put himself in position for a first points finish in the World Rally Championship as he finished the second day of the Rally Ireland in eighth place. A string of quick stage times in the wet conditions saw him move up from his overnight 12th position and leave him on track to finish in a top eight spot and earn a single point for the first time if he can maintain his pace today. The Emirati said: "The rain is relentless and it's very difficult but I've lifted the pace and it's gone well. I'm not re-evaluating my strategy, I'm focusing on a top ten finish and if things happen and I end up in the points then great." He has a 50.4 second advantage to ninth placed Eamonn Boland going in today's final day, which will comprise five stages. For al Qassimi's teammate Mikko Hirvonen it was a disappointing start to the day as he was hit by power steering problems.
The Finn, who is in third place, lost more than a minute as he fell 2mins 30secs behind rally leader Sebastien Loeb, with the Frenchman's Spanish teammate Dani Sordo in second place. Hirvonen said: "It's a shame, but with no power steering it's extremely hard to catch the car with so much water on the road." The five-times champion Loeb leads Sordo by 1.09.1. Henning Solberg is fourth in his Stobart Ford, with the Citroen of Chris Atkinson in fifth place. email@example.com