IRC Skydive Dubai Rally Team climbs back to finish 22nd overall in Corsica
55th Giru di Corsica-Tour de Corse, May 9-12, 2012
Intercontinental Rally Challenge (IRC), round 4
For immediate release
Sunday, May 13th, 2012
SKYDIVE DUBAI RALLY TEAM MOUNTS STERLING CLIMB BACK
THROUGH FIELD TO FINISH 22nd OVERALL IN TOUR DE CORSE
· Rashid Al-Ketbi and Khalid Al-Kendi finish strongly in Corsica
· Spain’s Dani Sordo claims Corsican victory from Czech driver Jan Kopecky
BASTIA (Corsica): The Skydive Dubai Rally Team duo of Rashid Al-Ketbi and Khalid Al-Kendi finished 22nd overall in the 55th Giru di Corsica-Tour de Corse, the fourth round of the 2012 Intercontinental Rally Challenge (IRC), on Saturday evening.
Tackling one of the most difficult and specialised events in the world rallying calendar, the Skoda Fabia S2000 duo began the final day from 28th overall after brake problems, a puncture and a time penalty had cost them time. They fought back through the field to reach the podium in Bastia in 22nd overall on Saturday evening.
“It was great experience and a real learning curve for us on this rally,” said Al-Ketbi. “We had problems early on, but I got into the swing of things as the rally progressed and we continued to set some good times and climbed back through the field.”
Spaniard Dani Sordo claimed an emphatic victory at the wheel of his Mini John Cooper Works S2000. He drove in a measured pace through the final day to preserve his car and reached the finish 17.9 seconds in front of Czech driver Jan Kopecky in a Skoda Fabia S2000.
The Skydive Dubai Rally Team is taking part in the IRC under the patronage of Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Dubai Sports Council.
After losing time on the last stage of day one, Al-Ketbi was back up to speed through the fifth stage, but he also incurred a time penalty for arriving late at the stage start.
"There were some mistakes in the road book and on the road section going to stage five and we took the wrong route,” said the Emirati. “It happened to some other drivers but it meant we got to stage five nine minutes late and I had a penalty because of this. Apart from that I was happy because I have been learning lots and improving my times."
The time penalty of 1m 40s dropped the Skydive Dubai Rally Team to 35th overall, but Al-Ketbi was back on a competitive pace through the 23.24km of the sixth stage and moved up to 31st overall. Another useful time between Taverna and Pont de Castirla promoted the Dubai driver to 30th position and he reached the end of the second leg in 28th overall after setting the 25th quickest time through the 24.57km eighth timed test.
Sordo headed Kopecky by 25.2 seconds heading into the remaining six special stages on Saturday. Local hero Pierre Campana and Frenchman Bryan Bouffier held third and fourth and defending IRC champion Andreas Mikkelsen had fought his way back to fifth.
Al-Ketbi was in flying form on the first of Saturday morning’s timed stages between Macinaggio and Centuri and set the 19th fastest time to climb to 26th overall. Kopecky set the fastest time and reduced Sordo’s overall lead to 20.9 seconds.
The Emirati was 17th quickest through the 10th stage and climbed still higher to 24th position. Campana set the fastest time and moved ahead of Kopecky into second behind Sordo.
Al-Ketbi was now in full flow and moved up to 23rd overall through the 11th stage, where Kopecky set the fastest time and Sordo consolidated his overall lead of 31.8 seconds with the fourth quickest time. Al-Ketbi maintained 23rd through the 12th special and headed for the final two stages, where Sordo was set to defend a 28.4 second lead over Kopecky.
The Czech driver set the fastest time in the penultimate stage to reduce Sordo’s lead to 23.8 seconds and he won the final stage as well, but Sordo held on to take victory. Al-Ketbi set the 18th quickest time to reach the finish in 22nd overall.
Neil Perkins, NDP Publicity Services, UK mobile: + 44 7831 123153, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
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