IRC Skydive Dubai Rally Team finishes 15th overall in Belgian Ypres Rally
Geko Ypres Rally, June 21-23, 2012
Intercontinental Rally Challenge (IRC), round 6
For immediate release
Sunday, June 24th, 2012
SKYDIVE DUBAI RALLY TEAM FINISHES
15th IN BELGIUM’S GEKO YPRES RALLY
· Finland’s Juho Hänninen takes outright victory in Geko Ypres Rally
YPRES (Belgium): The Skydive Dubai Rally Team duo of Rashid Al-Ketbi and Khalid Al-Kendi finished the world famous Geko Ypres Rally in Belgium in an excellent 15th position late on Saturday night.
Finland’s Juho Hänninen held off a fierce challenge from Belgian Freddy Loix to clinch victory in the sixth round of this year’s Intercontinental Rally Challenge (IRC), while Al-Ketbi was delighted with his performance on one of the most demanding, specialist asphalt rallies on the planet.
“We set our stall from the start and built up our performance as the event progressed,” said a delighted Al-Ketbi. “It was never going to be easy to come here and take on the local drivers with a specialist knowledge of the stages and the conditions.”
Al-Ketbi, driving a Skoda Fabia S2000, began Saturday morning’s eighth special stage from 20th position and climbed to 18th, before improving still further to 16th overall after the ninth Watou test. Loix set the quickest time and reduced Hänninen’s outright lead to 22.8s.
Al-Ketbi slipped back to 17th through the daunting 28.82km of the 10th Hollebeke stage where Hänninen edged another four seconds clear of Loix in the overall rankings. The Dubai driver maintained 17th through the next three stages and reached service in a comfortable position. Hänninen’s lead over Loix remained a stable 27.1 seconds.
Five stages remained on Saturday evening and Al-Ketbi set the 17th quickest time through the second Heuvelland stage to climb a place to 16th, while Hänninen extended his overall advantage over Loix to 40 seconds.
Al-Ketbi continued his climb up the leader board on the 15th stage where Loix shaved 1.4 seconds off Hänninen’s overall lead. The Finn edged stage 16 by just 0.3 seconds and reached the service point before the final two stages with a lead of 38.9 seconds. Al-Ketbi disposed of Davy Vanneste’s Citroën and László Vizin’s Skoda to move up to 13th position, courtesy of the 12th quickest time.
There were no major dramas on the remaining Hollebeke and Kemmelberg specials, with Hänninen holding on to secure the outright victory by a margin of 46.5 seconds and Al-Ketbi reaching the podium in a highly-creditable 15th position on his first visit to a Belgian tarmac rally after he slipped back behind Vanneste and Vizin on the penultimate stage.
The Skydive Dubai Rally Team is running in the 2012 IRC under the patronage of Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Dubai Sports Council,
Neil Perkins, NDP Publicity Services, UK mobile: + 44 7831 123153, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
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