WRC Rashid Al-Ketbi slips to 10th in WRC2 after ninth Swedish stage
FIA World Rally Championship (WRC), round 2
For immediate release
Saturday, February 9th, 2013
SKYDIVE DUBAI RALLY TEAM’S AL-KETBI HOLDS 10th IN
SWEDEN AFTER SATURDAY’S NINTH SPECIAL STAGE
· WRC2 advantage for Anders Grøndal in his Subaru Impreza
· Frenchman Ogier retains overall Swedish Rally lead by 33.5 seconds
KARLSTAD (Sweden): Skydive Dubai Rally Team (UAE) driver Rashid Al-Ketbi and his German co-driver Karina Hepperle remained on course for an excellent finish in the Swedish Rally, round two of the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC), after nine gruelling snowy and icy special stages on Saturday.
After beginning the penultimate leg of the event in ninth place in the WRC2 category at the held of their Skoda Fabia S2000, Al-Ketbi was leaving nothing to chance through the demanding 13.73km of the Ságan special stage but he lost six minutes on the course and slipped to 10th in the overall rankings.
“This has been a real rally of attrition,” said Al-Ketbi. “We could see just how tough it was on Friday when some of the top drivers in the world hit problems very early on and lost a lot of time. I have found a good pace that is suited to these snowy stages and will keep going.”
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.
As the rally progressed, Anders Grøndal gained the upper hand in the WRC2 category with his Subaru Impreza and the Swede reached the overnight halt with an advantage of 32.6 seconds over Saudi Arabia’s Yazeed Al-Rajhi and Germany’s Sepp Wiegand. Al-Rajhi lost time with a broken differential. Eyvind Brynildsen was forced to retire with engine damage. Grøndal led Al-Rajhi by 28.5 seconds after nine special stages. Wiegand was third.
Al-Ketbi slipped to ninth in the third special stage on Friday and maintained his position through the next few special stages. He maintained ninth after a repeat of the Vargàsen special and reached the overnight halt in a similar position.
Frenchman Sébastien Ogier began to take control of the main event in his Volkswagen Polo. The Frenchman had built up an overall advantage of 24.1 seconds after six timed stages and reached the overnight halt with an advantage of 31.4 seconds.
Finnish VW team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala held second until the seventh stage and was then overtaken by FIA World Rally Champion Sébastien Loeb in his Citroën Total Abu Dhabi DS3 WRC. The UAE’s Sheikh Khalid Al-Qassimi completed a troubled day in 27th overall and continued his climb through the field in his Citroën DS3.
After nine special stages on Saturday, Ogier extended his overall lead to 33.5 seconds from Loeb. Latvala held third.
Sunday’s action (six stages) will be held over the border in Norway before the ceremonial finish back in Sweden on Sunday afternoon.
Neil Perkins, NDP Publicity Services, UK mobile: + 44 7831 123153, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
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