WRC Rashid Al-Ketbi slips to sixth in WRC2 after two Monte Carlo stages
Monte Carlo Rally
FIA World Rally Championship (WRC), round 1
For immediate release
Wednesday, January 16th, 2013
SKYDIVE DUBAI RALLY TEAM’S AL-KETBI HOLDS SIXTH
IN WRC2 CLASS AFTER TWO MONTE CARLO STAGES
· First blood in WRC2 category goes to Sepp Wiegand in a Skoda
· Loeb leads from Ogier at top of overall Monte Carlo results
MONTE CARLO (France): Skydive Dubai Rally Team (UAE) driver Rashid Al-Ketbi and his German co-driver Karina Hepperle held sixth in the new WRC2 category after two timed special stages of the Monte Carlo Rally, round one of the 2013 FIA World Rally Championship, on Wednesday.
The pair had started well through the demanding opening special stage, holding fourth position and 29th overall, before losing six minutes in SS2 and slipping down the leader board.
The first stage was a treacherous 37.10km passage between the start at the Ardeche village of Le Moulinon and the finish in Antraigues. Sébastien Ogier netted the new Volkswagen team its first stage win of the new season, the Frenchman beating multiple World Champion Sébastien Loeb by just 3.7 seconds, and it was equally as close in the WRC2 category.
Tuesday’s snow flurries had passed but bright conditions belied the risk of ice and patches of snow lying around as the special climbed to the Col de la Fayolle.
Finn Esapekka Lappi set the pace in his Skoda Fabia and was followed across the finish line by the German duo of Sepp Wiegend and Armin Kremer. But Rashid Al-Ketbi also started brightly in the Fazza Rally Team Skoda and reached the stage finish with the fourth quickest time in the WRC2 section that put him fourth in the class and 29th in the general classification.
A 30.60km stage between Burzet and St Martial was next on the agenda for the Emirati driver and his WRC2 rivals. Wiegand hit the front with the fastest time and Kremer inherited second position when Lappi retired. Unfortunately, Al-Ketbi dropped six minutes on the special and slipped to sixth in the WRC2 class.
Loeb moved ahead of Ogier with the fastest time in SS2 and led the WRC event by 6.7 seconds on the return to Valence for service before two further stages on Wednesday afternoon.
Al-Ketbi and Hepperle had completed their warm-up for the start of the Monte Carlo Rally in excellent fashion by finishing fourth in the traditional shakedown on Tuesday.
Six more timed tests follow on Thursday over demanding roads through the Ardeche, three stages are on offer on Friday and there are five further timed tests on Saturday before the official podium finish at 11.00hrs outside the Place du Palais in Monaco on Sunday. The 18 stages will offer a total of 465km of competition.
The Skydive Dubai Rally Team is running in the 2013 WRC 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: email@example.com
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