Tag Archives: Abu Dhabi Racing


Al Qassimi: ready for action in Jordan in his Abu Dhabi Citroën DS RRC.
Al Qassimi: ready for action in Jordan in his Abu Dhabi Citroën DS RRC.


Sheikh Khalid spearheads five-car Emirati challenge by Abu Dhabi Racing

Abu Dhabi, 23 April, 2013:  The UAE’s Sheikh Khalid Al Qassimi will call on his latest World Rally Championship experience as he looks to reignite his Middle East title challenge in next month’s Jordan International Rally where he spearheads a five-car challenge by Abu Dhabi Racing. 

Partnered by British co-driver Scott Hamilton in his Abu Dhabi Citroën Total World Rally Team DS3 RRC, Al Qassimi has emerged from his recent WRC outing in the Rally de Portugal with some new confidence to carry into the third round of this year’s FIA Middle East Championship, running from 9-11 May.  

At the end of a difficult three days in Portugal, during which he never felt fully comfortable behind the wheel, a top-ten finish and his first World Championship points of the season have given the Emirati driver fresh belief as he prepares to do battle again with Nasser Al Attiyah. 

“I know I can do better, but taking everything into account, it was a good result in Portugal,” said Al Qassimi, who goes to Jordan hoping to reverse the results in Qatar and Kuwait where he finished second to Al Attiyah in the first two rounds of the 2013 Middle East series. 

“This is a new team and a new car which still needs a lot of work, and we can’t get the set up right overnight. I wasn’t happy in Portugal and we still need a lot of testing to get the balance right in the car. But when I consider that I was out of rallying for some time, and I still have some way to be at my best again, I came away from Portugal feeling better, so let’s see what we can do in Jordan.”

Winner of the Jordan Rally title in 2007, Al Qassimi was on course for a second victory in 2010 when he led on the first leg before being hit by a mechanical problem at the start of the next day. 

Al Qassimi finished fifth last year as he made a cautious return to rallying after almost a year on the sidelines as a result of injury, and he has great respect for the special stages in Jordan, many of which remain from the event’s three years in the World Rally Championship. 

“You have to be very precise there,” he said. “If you go off line on those stages, you can hit something or go off the side of a hill. You want to keep a good pace, but it’s dangerous to push too hard and you have to keep the right balance.” 

Al Qassimi, the 2004 FIA Middle East champion, is one of five Emirati drivers heading to Jordan with Abu Dhabi Racing, which was established at the end of last year to increase Emirati participation in international motorsport. 

Majed Al Shamsi and Bader Al Jabri, products of the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority’s Junior Driver Training Programme which gave them their first Middle East Championship experience, return to Jordan in a pair of Subaru N15s to contest the production category. 

Meanwhile, Mohammed Al Mutawaa and Mohammed Al-Sahlawi, newcomers to rallying this season after topping a  three-day Citroën Racing-supported selection programme in Abu Dhabi last December, line up in the two-wheel drive class in two Citroen DS3 R3 2WDs. 

After a ceremonial start in Amman on 9 May, the main action in the Jordan Rally over the next two days will again be centred around the Jordan Valley, close to the Dead Sea,  the lowest land spot on earth at 420m below sea level. While the exact route is kept closely under wraps, it is expected to feature many of the challenging stages that were used when Jordan hosted the WRC in 2008, 2010 and 2011.


Sheikh Khalid Al Qassimi with FIA Vice President Dr. Mohammed Ben Sulayem and H.E.Faisal Al Ali


Dubai, UAE, 24 January, 2013:  Dr. Mohammed Ben Sulayem says the five-car challenge by Abu Dhabi Racing in the 2013 FIA Middle East Rally Championship which gets under way in Qatar tomorrow can help revive the regional series.

Sulayem sees the Qatar International Rally as the starting point in a new era for the Middle East series, which this year includes three new parallel championships – for Group N production cars, young drivers, and 2WD vehicles – as well as a T3 category for 2WD and 4WD buggies.

After convincing the World Motorsport Council to restructure the championship in order to rebuild its fading popularity, he believes the presence of five Emirati drivers in the Abu Dhabi Racing team this season can boost efforts to attract more young Arab talent.

“This is a very positive development for UAE motor sport, and for the Middle East Rally Championship,” said Sulayem, President of the Automobile and Touring Club of the UAE, who will be attending the Qatar International Rally, the first of the six-round 2013 series.


“One of the main ideas behind Abu Dhabi Racing is to create more opportunities for young Emiratis to compete in international motor sport events, and this reinforces what we are doing in re-shaping the championship.

“With five Emirati drivers and the most professional back-up team we have seen in the Middle East, it can only help to raise the profile of the championship, attract the attention of other young Arab drivers, and help to bring in the extra sponsors rallying needs to get back to where it was.”

The Abu Dhabi Racing challenge is led by Sheikh Khalid Al Qassimi , supported by Majid Al Shamsi and Badr Al Jabri who contest the new Group N title race, and Mohammed Al Mutawaa and Mohammed Abdullah Hussain Al-Sahlawi in the 2WD championship.

Starting at 8am tomorrow,  the Qatar International Rally incorporates a sophisticated new tracking system designed to eliminate route deviations.

This was tested successfully during last month’s Dubai International Rally and will be used throughout this year’s Middle East Championship.

Through tracking devices fitted onto rally cars, it shows when competitors stray off line by more than the ten-metre legal limit, so that rally organisers can impose time penalties.

The new upgraded system has been developed to ensure a fairer level of competition, with realistic penalties now replacing the harsher ones of recent years to allow those who stray off line to remain in contention


Citroen DS3 WRC


Sheikh Khalid sees new era for UAE capital in world rallying as Loeb aims to seal another Monte Carlo triumph

Abu Dhabi, UAE, 15 January, 2013: Abu Dhabi’s three-year partnership with eight-time World Rally Championship (WRC) manufacturers winners, Citroën Racing, begins in earnest this week as French ace Sebastien Loeb launches his bid for a seventh victory in the legendary Monte Carlo Rally, the opening round of the 13-event season.

Loeb’s participation marks the start of a momentous first season for the recently-established Abu Dhabi Racing (ADR), which has created the UAE capital’s new partnership with Citroen on the WRC stage as part of a concentrated programme designed to reinforce the emirate’s global motorsport stature.

The UAE’s Sheikh Khalid Al Qassimi is central to the initiative, both as ADR Chairman and as the main driver in Abu Dhabi Citroën Total World Rally Team. In addition to running a nine-event WRC campaign, Al Qassimi will also spearhead a five-car assault on the FIA Middle East Rally Championship which starts later this month in Qatar.

While Al Qassimi must wait for February’s Rally Sweden to make his long-awaited WRC return, Loeb and co-driver Daniel Elena, backed by flying Finn Mikko Hirvonen and Jarmo Lehtinen, will pilot Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team’s debut through the treacherous snow and ice-coated roads of Monte Carlo’s winter.

With Hirvonen contesting all 13 nominated championship events, the Monte Carlo Rally represents one of only four WRC appearances this season by Loeb, who has retired from full-time competitive rallying after winning nine consecutive WRC drivers’ titles. He will alternate in the second DS3 WRC this season with Spain’s Dani Sordo. In the season opener, Sordo and co-driver Carlos del Barrio will chase points for Abu Dhabi Citroën Total WRT – the second team created by the new ADR- Citroën Racing partnership – in another DS3 WRC.

With Al Qassimi taking the wheel of a fourth DS3 WRC in Sweden, he will be following this week’s Monte Carlo event with enormous interest and expectation.

“We see this as the start of a new era for Abu Dhabi in world rallying and I’m very excited by what lies ahead,” said Al Qassimi. “I’m very happy to be getting the chance to return to action in the WRC but the bigger picture is that this is a unique opportunity to carry the Abu Dhabi brand to a worldwide audience.

“The emirate is already well known as one of the world’s top venues for Formula 1 racing and for other events held at Yas Marina Circuit. Now we have linked up with the most successful works team in WRC history and opened up another exciting avenue for UAE motorsport and Emirati drivers.”

In the first test for the three new Abu-Dhabi-branded Citroen DS3 WRCs, the Monte Carlo Rally gets under way from Valence tomorrow with four special stages. Ice and snow are expected to play a big part, making tyre choice critical en route to the finish on Saturday. In total there are 465km of timed stages and no pair is better prepared for the challenge than Loeb and Elena, who begin their ‘testimonial’ year with one of their favourite rallies, ten years after their debut Monte Carlo win.

“They’ve had an amazing run of success and it would give us a wonderful start to the season if they could take an Abu Dhabi-branded car to victory on what looks like being their final Monte Carlo appearance,” said Sheikh Khalid.