WRC Eighth for Rashid Al-Ketbi after second Swedish Rally special stage
FIA World Rally Championship (WRC), round 2
For immediate release
Friday, February 8th, 2013
SKYDIVE DUBAI RALLY TEAM’S AL-KETBI HOLDS 8th
POSITION IN WRC2 AFTER TWO SWEDISH STAGES
· Early WRC2 lead for Saudi Arabia’s Yazeed Al-Rajhi
· Ogier holds overall Swedish Rally lead after two timed stages
KARLSTAD (Sweden): Skydive Dubai Rally Team (UAE) driver Rashid Al-Ketbi and his German co-driver Karina Hepperle made a solid start to their challenge for honours in the Swedish Rally, round two of the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC), on Friday.
After enjoying a useful mid-week test session with their Skoda Fabia S2000 to acclimatise to the sub-zero temperatures and the treacherous conditions, the pair tackled the opening timed super special stage in Karlstad on Thursday evening and the first of eight special stages across the icy wastelands of Sweden on Friday morning.
Al-Ketbi settled into seventh through the short super special stage and headed for the second Lesjöfors special stage in confident mood. He posted an impressive stage time of 11miN 16.9sec and held eighth position in WRC2.
“This is a long, difficult and specialised rally and not one where you can afford to push too hard and take risks,” said Al-Ketbi. “The conditions are so different to those we are used to in the Middle East and this snow rally is fantastic experience for me. Finishing and scoring points is the priority and I am not prepared to take risks and jeopardise that.”
The Skydive Dubai Rally Team is running in the 2013 WRC under the patronage of H.H. Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Dubai Sports Council.
Ketbi is entered in the WRC2 category of the FIA World Rally Championship and faces fierce competition from some of the world’s finest drivers this season. Germany’s Sepp Wiegand (Skoda Fabia) took maximum points on the opening rally in France, but the snowy stages in Sweden are better suited to the likes of local specialists Anders Grondhal (Subaru) and Eyvind Brynildsen (Ford Fiesta RRC).
Saudi Arabia’s Yazeed Al-Rajhi was quickest of the WRC2 runners through SS1 in his Ford Fiesta RRC and managed to retain an overall lead of 13.7 seconds after two of the event’s 22 timed tests. Wiegand held second position and Ukrainian Yuriy Protosov settled into third place.
Defending FIA World Rally Champion Sébastien Loeb set the fastest time of 1min 34.5sec through the short opening super special stage in Karlstad at the helm of his Citroën Total Abu Dhabi DS3 WRC and held a 0.5sec advantage over Finland’s Jari-Matti Latvala heading into the first of the remote special stages on Friday.
The Frenchman lost out to Latvala through the second stage and headed to stage three trailing the Finn by 0.8 seconds, but a fastest time by Frenchman Sébastien Ogier handed the Frenchman a tiny overall lead of two-tenths of a second. The UAE’s Sheikh Khalid Al-Qassimi lost over eight minutes in the stage and slipped off the leader board.
Saturday’s eight timed tests take place east of the centralised service park in Hagfors and the bulk of Sunday’s action (six stages) will be held over the border in Norway. Crews will tackle a total of 22 special stages and around 339 competitive kilometres.
Neil Perkins, NDP Publicity Services, UK mobile: + 44 7831 123153, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
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