KHALID AL QASSIMI ROUNDS OFF HIS SEASON AT HOME —
The FIA Middle East Rally Championship concludes this weekend in the United Arab Emirates at the Dubai International Rally. This will therefore practically be a home event for Khalid Al Qassimi, who will be competing alongside Scott Martin in his Citroën DS3 RRC. The Abu Dhabi driver makes no secret of his hopes of completing his first season at Citroën Racing with a win.
Reputed around the world as growing tourist, sporting and cultural hot spot, Dubai is one of the seven emirates that make up the United Arab Emirates. Created in the middle of the 1980s, the Dubai International Rally joined the FIA Middle East Rally Championship in 1997.
Used to travelling around the planet to take part in WRC rallies, Khalid Al Qassimi feels at home at this event since Abu Dhabi and Dubai are only separated by around a hundred kilometres. The Emirati has won the rally on two previous occasions, in 2005 and 2006.
This year, his aim is to rack up another win in the Arabian gulf: “I’ve not had much success on this rally in recent years, but I hope it will be different this year! As with each round of the championship, this event has its own distinctive features. The vast majority of the stages place greater emphasis on out-and-out speed in the desert. But there are also many changes in pace, with some very technical sections. I am very determined to fight for first place. Winning this rally for a third time would mean a lot to me and especially to my country. It would also be a great way to conclude the first season of Abu Dhabi Racing’s and Citroën Racing’s partnership.”
Competing in their Citroën DS3 R3s, the young drivers selected by Abu Dhabi Racing will also be looking to finish their first season – which they have spent learning about rallying at this level – on a high. With two wins and two runner-up spots in the 2WD category, Mohamed Al Sahlawi is almost certain to beat Mohamed Al Mutawaa to the title, the latter having only won once and finished as runner-up once.
The rally is set to begin with the ceremonial start on Thursday evening near to Burj Khalifa which, at some 828 metres tall, is the largest tower in the world. The race will be contested over two legs on Friday, 29 November and Saturday, 30 November. The event features twelve timed stages, with a total distance of 264km.
Abu Dhabi Racing and Citroën Racing will be holding further selection sessions aimed at identifying promising young Emirati drivers. Candidates will be assessed at the Yas Marina circuit on 2-3 December.