Tag Archives: Sheikh Khalid Al Qassim

Dubai International Rally

UAE’s Sheikh Khalid Al Qassimi powering his Abu Dhabi Citroën Total DS3 on the final day of Dubai International Rally.
UAE’s Sheikh Khalid Al Qassimi powering his Abu Dhabi Citroën Total DS3 on the final day of Dubai International Rally.


Dubai, UAE, 30 November, 2013:  Sheikh Khalid Al Qassimi’s brave bid to give the UAE victory in the 35th Dubai International Rally was frustrated today as Qatar’s Nasser Al Attiyah survived a powerful second leg charge by the Emirati driver to win the final round of the FIA Middle East Championship. 

Trailing Al Attiyah by 29.7 seconds overnight, Al Qassimi produced a brilliant surge to win the first four of the day’s six special stages in his Abu Dhabi Citroën Total DS3 and pile the pressure on the nine-times Middle East champion. 

But with his advantage reduced to 15.4 seconds, Al Attiyah fought back to take the next two stages, and Al Qassimi suffered a frustrating anti-climax when he was forced out of the event by a double puncture shortly after completing the final stage. 

His departure meant that Al Attiyah, partnered by Giovanni Bernacchini in a Ford Fiesta RRC, won by 5 mins 33.6 secs from Qatar’s 2010 Middle East champion, Misfer Almarri. “I had a good strategy,” said Al Attiyah. “I was careful because I didn’t want to get any punctures. Khalid took the risks and I’m happy to win. It was a good fight and this is what we need for the championship to improve.” 

Finishing third in another Ford Fiesta was the UAE’s Sheikh Abdullah Al Qassimi, brother of Sheikh Khalid and runner-up in Dubai last year. 

After a ten-second time penalty on Friday’s first leg had presented him with a mountain to climb, Sheikh Khalid produced the perfect response over the second leg’s first loop of three stages, winning them all alongside Scott Martin in his Abu Dhabi Citroën to move within 19.8 seconds of the lead. 

He reached the service halt to say: “I knew I had to go flat out, but I also had to be neat in places to avoid overshooting corners. There was a very fine balance. At very high speed you can maybe gain a second here or lose a second here on the corners. We still have a lot of hard work to do.” 

He was looking to complete one of the biggest fightbacks in recent Middle East Championship history and become the first UAE winner of the Dubai International Rally since his own second successive victory in 2006. 

The fightback continued as he clawed back another 4.4 seconds on the next stages, but Al Attiyah was not to be denied his seventh successive win in Dubai. 

The consolation for Al Qassimi was in seeing the four young Abu Dhabi Racing drivers he has guided into this year’s Middle East Championship all finishing in the top ten in Dubai’s traditional final round of the series. 

With Jordanian driver Alaa Rasheed finishing fourth, Majed Al Shamsi produced a mature drive to take fifth place overall and win the Group N production class in partnership with John Higgins. The UAE’s Rashid Al Ketbi completed the top six. 

It was a good day also for Al Shamsi’s three other Abu Dhabi Racing team-mates. Finishing seventh overall alongside Nicolas Klinger, Bader Al Jabri was runner-up in Group N and also finished third in the category in the Middle East Championship. 

Mohammed Al Sahlawi, driving an Abu Dhabi Citroën DS3 R3 2WD to 9th place overall alongside Allan Harryman, captured the Middle East 2WD and Junior titles ahead of team-mate Mohamed Al Mutawaa, who finished 10th overall and runner up in both classes with Stephen McAuley. Finishing 11th overall, Kuwait’s Meshari Al Thefiri won the Middle East Group N title. 

The biggest casualty of the day was Saudi Arabia’s Yazeed Al Rajhi, a WRC2 rally winner on this year’s World Championship stage, whose Ford Fiesta RRC went out at the end of the day’s first of six special stages after multiple punctures. 

Provisional results: 

1. Nasser Al-Attiyah / Giovanni Bernacchini (QAT / ITA) / Ford Fiesta RRC         2:01:11.9

2. Misfer Almarri / Nicola Arena (QAT / ITA) / Ford Fiesta RRC                            2:06:45.5

3. Abdulla Al Qassimi / Steve Lancaster (UAE / UK) / Ford Fiesta RRC                2:07.40.3

4. Alaa Rasheed / Joseph Matar (JOR / LBN) / Ford Fiesta RRC                             2:15:57.9

5. Majed Al Shamsi / John Higgins (UAE / IRL) / Suburu Impreza N15                  2:16:09.5

6. Rashid Al Ketbi / Khalid Al Kendi (ARE / ARE) / Ford Fiesta RRC                  2:16:29.6

7. Bader Al Jabri / Nicolas Klinger (UAE / France) / Suburu Impreza N15               2:18:04.7

8. Abdulla Al Kuwari / Khalid Al Kendi (Qatar/ UAE) Mitsubishi Evo 9                2:25:44.2

9. Mohammed Al Sahlawi / Allan Harryman (UAE / UK) / Citroen DS3 R3           2:26:29.2

10. Mohammed Al Mutawaa / Stephen McAuley (UAE / UK) / Citroen DS3 R3    2:29:14.7


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.