x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

Spanish sojourn for Emirati quartet as Rally Spain begins

Plenty to compete for as Emirati drivers get underway at Rally Spain

Mohammed Al Mutawaa will be aiming to build on his experience from his previous WRC outing in Germany in his Abu Dhabi Citroen. Courtesy World Rally Championship 2013
Mohammed Al Mutawaa will be aiming to build on his experience from his previous WRC outing in Germany in his Abu Dhabi Citroen. Courtesy World Rally Championship 2013

The World Rally Championship (WRC) drivers’ title may be safely in the hands of France’s Sebastien Ogier, but plenty can still be gained by the Emirati contingent at Rally Spain, which starts on Friday.

A good performance in the penultimate round of the season would give Sheikh Khalid Al Qassimi the chance to move into the top 15 in the WRC standings in his Abu Dhabi Citroen DS3.

Meanwhile, the Skydive Dubai Rally Team’s Rashid Al Ketbi is looking to continue his recent good form in WRC2, and two young Emiratis get a chance in WRC3.

Mohammed Al Sahlawi makes his WRC debut in Salou, just south of Barcelona, while Mohammed Al Mutawaa starts his second event this season behind the wheel of an Abu Dhabi Citroen DS3 R3 2WD.

The pair have been helping each other to improve their use of pace notes.

Despite giving a good account of himself in the Rally Germany in August, Al Mutawaa said: “I got it all wrong at two corners in Germany because I didn’t approach them the right way, and it taught me that I have got to be exact with my notes.

“Since then, I’ve been working with my co-driver, Stephan McAuley, to improve this side of my driving. Mohammed and I have also been spending time helping each other to improve our notes so that there’s better communication in the car.”

Sheikh Khalid has been competing in WRC since 2004 and he is passing on his knowledge to his young teammates.

“Sheikh Khalid has been helping us throughout the year with great advice about different aspects of rallying, not only about the driving aspect, but also how to interact with people and prepare ourselves mentally,” Al Mutawaa said.

“It’s so helpful to be able to learn from him.”

sports@thenational.ae