Tag Archives: Al Qassimi



Al Qassimi hails 14-times FIA Middle East champion for great comeback; now both aim to attract new generation of drivers into rallying

Dubai, UAE, 1 March, 2015: Sheikh Abdullah Al Qassimi won the Sharjah Rally after a great battle with Mohammed Ben Sulayem, and then paid tribute to the 14-times FIA Middle East Champion for a stirring comeback 12 years after retiring from competitive motor sport.

“Mohammed was much faster on the technical sections, and it was as if he had never been away,” said Al Qassimi, who was partnered by Ghaby Khoury in a Mitsubishi Evo 9 for the second round of the UAE Rally Championship.

They had a winning margin of 45 seconds over Sulayem and his long time Irish co-driver Ronan Morgan, who were back together in the Ford Escort WRC which they took to victory in the 1999 Jordan International Rally before the car was retired.

A time penalty accounted for 30 of those seconds, and but for mechanical problems in the 20-year old Escort it might have been a different story at the finish on Saturday.

Oman’s Khalid Al Manji and Saif Al Aisiri in a Subaru Impreza took third place, and the top six was completed by two more Omanis, Faisal Al Rashidi and Walid Al Rashidi in another Subaru, Emiratis Ali Mater Al Ketbi and Rabab Al Tajir in a Nissan Patrol, and Saudi Arabia’s Ibrahim Al Mohana with the UAE’s Rashid Al Ketbi in another Nissan Patrol.

Sheikh Abdullah was full of praise for Sulayem at the finish, and both men are determined to work together to bring about a revival of rallying in the UAE where it has fallen behind other motor sport disciplines in recent years.

“Mohammed’s car had been parked for the last 15 years and it gave him problems,” said Al Qassimi, founder and President of the Emirates Motorsport Club, organisers of the UAE National Rally Championship. “But he was back up to speed. Really, he was the winner.

“We are trying our best to revive rallying, and it seems to be coming back better than I had expected, but now I hope it will go better and better. We are working together as friends to rebuild the spirit of rallying. We want to bring a new generation of drivers into this sport, and I think in the next rally we will see many more.”

Sulayem said: “Getting in a rally car for the first time in 12 years, the memories came flooding back and it was fun. But this is not about me. It’s about encouraging youth to come into rallying.

“Abdullah is doing a great job to bring more drivers into the sport. He is working hard and I’m very grateful to him. This was a very well organised rally, supported by the Government of Sharjah, and we will work together now to attract the next generation of drivers.”

Sulayem had not competed since scoring his 15th victory in the Dubai International Rally in December 2002, but he won the first special stage, beating Al Qassimi by one second, despite a broken rear drive shaft.

That meant he was reduced to 2WD power on the next stage which Al Qassimi won by 43 seconds. Sulayem took the next three stages to close the gap to 15 seconds, but his challenge faded when he lost fuel pressure and punctured on the last stage.

Sharjah Rally results:

  1. Shk Abdulla Al Qassimi, Gaby Khoury (UAE) Mitsubishi Evo 9             43:59.659
  2. Mohammed Ben Sulayem , Ronan Morgan (UAE)/ Ford Escort               44:45.721
  3. Khalid Al Manji / Saif Al Aisiri (Oman) Subaru Impreza                          50:32.708
  4. Faisal Al Rashidi / Walid Al Rashidi (Oman) Subaru Impreza                  50:45.231
  5. Ali Mattar Alketbi / Rabab Al Tajir (UAE) Nissan Patrol                         51:20.222
  6. Ibrahim N.Al Mohana / Rashed R. Al Katbi (KSA/UAE) Nissan Patrol 52:40.710
  7. Ian Barker / Sheila Hutton (UAE) / Nissan Patrol                                      53:04.456
  8. Ali Al Shawi / Ali Obaid (UAE) Chevy Blazer                                           53:57.978
  9. Nooh Buhmaid / Suhail Al Ali (UAE) / Nissan Patrol                                54:44.210
  10. Mansoor Parol / Srinivasa Thota (UAE) / Ford Fiesta                             56:18.558


Kris Meeke drew praise from all round with an impressive drive in Rally Finland in the Abu Dhabi Citroën DS3.
Kris Meeke drew praise from all round with an impressive drive in Rally Finland in the Abu Dhabi Citroën DS3.


Northern Irishman has provided much food for thought, says Sheikh Khalid as reigning world champions look for WRC boost  –

Abu Dhabi, UAE, 7 August, 2013:  Sheikh Khalid Al Qassimi says Northern Ireland’s Kris Meeke has given Abu Dhabi Racing and Citroën plenty of food for thought as they look to revive their challenge in the FIA World Rally Championship.

Nominated by Al Qassimi to drive his Abu Dhabi Citroën Total DS3 in last week’s eighth round of the WRC series in Finland, Meeke was lying fifth overall until he rolled and went out of the event near the end of the penultimate stage. 

Despite the setback which denied Meeke his reward for a hugely impressive drive, Al Qassimi says he could be given other chances in the WRC, where results this season have been disappointing for the partnership between Abu Dhabi Racing and eight-time manufacturers champions, Citroën Racing. 

Making his first appearance in the WRC for more than 18 months, Meeke closely tracked team-mate Mikko Hirvonen in Rally Finland while completely outpacing Spain’s Dani Sordo in the other Citroën Total Abu Dhabi DS3 to earn a huge amount of praise from all round. 

“He did an excellent job, and I wasn’t surprised,” said Al Qassimi, who missed the event because of other commitments. “He was up there with Mikko and much quicker than Dani, and he’s given us a lot to think about. 

“Our first priority is to get the best we can out of our drivers for the rest of the season, and we need to be on the podium. But already we’re looking ahead to next season, and Kris could get more chances.” 

Added Al Qassimi: “He’s a very good driver, that’s why we picked him. We considered several drivers, but decided Kris would be the best choice and he proved us right. 

“It was just unfortunate that he didn’t get the finish he deserved. I really felt for him, especially as I rolled in the same car in the Acropolis Rally.” 

Al Qassimi is now fully focused on his return to WRC action at the wheel of his Abu Dhabi Citroën DS3 in Rallye Deutschland on 23-25 August. 

In addition to looking for his best WRC finish of the season, the UAE driver will also be hoping for similar from Hirvonen and Sordo – placed fourth and fifth in Finland – as they try to narrow the 55pt gap to manufacturers championship leaders Volkswagen.

Motorsports Mondial



Al Qassimi wants to prevent Qatari title rivals stealing the show

as Dubai Rally brings Middle East series to a climax

Dubai, UAE, 23rd December 2010: Twice former winner Sheikh Khalid Al Qassimi will be out to prevent Qatari drivers from stealing the show when the Dubai International Rally brings the 2010 FIA Middle East Championship to a climax next week.

Qatar’s Misfer Al Marri needs only to finish sixth in the final round of the series to snatch the Middle East crown from fellow countryman Nasser Saleh Al Attiyah who has won the last two championship rounds and has scored victory in Dubai five times in the last seven years.

But with the event again taking its traditional slot on UAE National Day weekend, Al Qassimi is in no mood to let the Qataris dominate proceedings. He would love to give the host country a victory to celebrate, and add to his back-to-back Dubai International Rally wins in 2005 and 2006.

While his main focus with Team Abu Dhabi is the World Rally Championship, Al Qassimi has already scored maximum points in two Middle East events this season, in Kuwait and Lebanon, and wants to round of the campaign with a win on home territory.

Partnered by Irish co-driver Michael Orr in a Ford Fiesta, he is joined in the rally line-up by his brother, Sheikh Abdullah Al Qassimi, who leads him by a single point, and currently holds fourth place, in the championship.

Sheikh Abdullah, accompanied by British navigator Steve Lancaster in a Mitsubishi Evolution 9,

is in the 25-strong provisional entry list issued today by the rally organisers, the Automobile and Touring Club of the UAE.

Dubai Rally 2

The line-up also includes the UAE’s Rashid Al Ketbi and co-driver Khalid Alkendi in a Skoda Fabia Evolution 2, as well as veteran UAE-based Lebanese driver Michel Saleh who will be partnered by Ziad Masannat in a Mitsubishi Evo 9

Under pressure from the Al Qassimi brothers as he tries to hold on to third place in the championship, Khalid Al-Suwaidi is one of five other Qatari drivers in the line-up, teaming up with Nick Beech in a Subaru Impreza. The other Qatari challengers are Abdulaziz Kuwari, Abdullha Alrabban, Sheikh Hamad Al Thani, and Jabir Al Marri.

Essam Al Nejadi, lying joint seventh in the championship, heads a seven-car entry from Kuwait.

His fellow countrymen Meshari Al Sabti, Mufeed Mubarak, Mshari Al Thefiri, Mohammad Al Thefiri, Eid Falah and Fahad Ashknani also tackle the event in Mitsubishi Evos

Carrying the Jordanian flag in Dubai will be Mazen Tantash and Carlos Del Barrio in a Subaru Impreza and Ahed Eid with Feras Allowh in a Mitsubishi Evo.

Saudi Arabia is represented by Ahmed Al Sabban and co-driver Adel Huseen in a Subaru Impreza, while Turkey’s Orcun Polat and Ufuk Uluocak in a Mitsubishi Evo 9 add to the international flavour of the event.

Two British drivers with four Middle East titles between them are also in the line up. UAE-based Ron Oakeley, a former regional Group N champion and Super 1600 winner, enters a Subaru Imprezza, as does close friend, Simon Nutter, twice a winner of the Formula Two crown.

A third British driver, David Scialom, also contests the event in a Subaru.

The 2010 Dubai International Rally will have a ceremonial start on December 2 from the Old Town area of Dubai. Over the following two days six stages of approximately 22 kms each will all be run twice to produce a route of 280 kms.

Dubai Rally 3

FIA Middle East Rally Championship drivers’ standings after seven of eight rounds:

1.      Misfer Al-Marri (QAT) 44pts

2.      Nasser Al-Attiyah (QAT) 36pts

3.      Khaled Al-Suwaidi (QAT) 22pts

4.      Sheikh Abdulla Al-Qassimi (UAE) 21pts

5.      Sheikh Khalid Al-Qassimi (UAE) 20pts

6.      Yazeed Al-Rajhi (SA) 20pts

7.     Sheikh Hamad Al-Thani (QAT) 14pts

8.     Abdulaziz Al Kuwari (QAT) 14pts

9.     Essam Al-Nejadi (KWT) 14pts

10. Mohammed Al Marri (QAT) 10pts