Great Jordan finish boosts Al Qassimi's expectations

By on Monday, April 18, 2011

Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team’s Sheikh Khalid Al Qassimi believes his eighth-place finish in last weekend’s Rally Jordan has spurred his ‘season to life’, with the Emirati driver predicting the result will be a springboard for a renewed assault on the top 10 positions in the World Rally Championship (WRC) drivers’ standings.

After claiming his second-best result in the world’s premier off-road motorsport series, Al Qassimi, who finished sixth in Rally Greece in 2009, collected four championship points in the Dead Sea event to climb up to 13th in the WRC standings.

“It was a very tough rally on a treacherous surface, but the fight I showed has reinvigorated my season and re-energised me personally,” said Al Qassimi, the UAE’s highest-grossing WRC points-scorer. “The result has inspired me to aim for a top ten place by the end of the year – it’s a challenging but realistic goal.”

While no stranger to the tricky man-made gravel passes which dominate the Jordan event – which was reduced to two days after logistical and transport problems saw several teams’ equipment arrive more than 72 hours late at the rally service park – Al Qassimi reiterated how local knowledge had played a decisive role on his 40th WRC start.

“I finished tenth here in 2008 and wanted to at least match that,” said the Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority-backed driver. “The personal milestone of WRC starts only fuelled my determination to get a result, as did the late arrival of our equipment. It caused a bit of a distraction for many drivers, but it shaped my plan - to concentrate on the technical basics and drive cleverly on stages I know well.

“A bit of luck went my way when I managed to avoid several huge stones, but Jordan was a great result and has brought my season to life.”

Next up for Al Qassimi is the revamped Rally Italy (May 5-8), round five of the 13-event WRC calendar.

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