WRC Rashid Al-Ketbi flies UAE flag proudly to finish eighth in WRC2 in Sweden
FIA World Rally Championship (WRC), round 2
For immediate release
Sunday, February 10th, 2013
SKYDIVE DUBAI RALLY TEAM’S AL-KETBI FLIES UAE FLAG
PROUDLY TO FINISH EIGHTH IN PUNISHING SWEDISH RALLY
· Overall WRC2 victory for Saudi Arabia’s Yazeed Al-Rajhi
· Frenchman Ogier earns first ever outright WRC victory for Volkswagen Polo
KARLSTAD (Sweden): Skydive Dubai Rally Team (UAE) driver Rashid Al-Ketbi and his German co-driver Karina Hepperle flew the UAE flag with pride and survived the rigours of the Swedish Rally, one of the most demanding events in the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) calendar. They held on to confirm eighth overall in WRC2 at the podium in Karlstad late on Sunday afternoon.
The performance meant that Al-Ketbi was the only Emirati driver to finish the notoriously difficult event after Sheikh Khalid Al-Qassimi’s Citroën DS3 WRC succumbed to engine problems after an accident on Saturday evening.
Despite the sub-zero temperatures, the snowy stages and the treacherously slippery road surfaces – even with the permitted metal studded tyres – the Emirati Skoda Fabia S2000 driver kept his composure superbly to secure more valuable points in his quest for the WRC2 title.
After slipping to 10th in the WRC2 category mid-way through Saturday’s daunting special stages, Al-Ketbi was able to adjust his stage pace and begin a climb back through the field. By the end of SS16, he had moved back up to eighth position and he survived the rigours of Sunday’s remaining six stages to confirm an excellent WRC2 finish.
“I knew from the start that this was going to be a tough rally where mistakes would be costly,” said Al-Ketbi. “The goal was to finish and I managed to do that and score some points as well. It was a really useful learning curve for me to come here and compete in these conditions and it puts me in a good position for the next rally in the championship.”
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.
Sweden’s Anders Grøndal began the final leg with a slender 4.5-second advantage over Saudi Arabia’s Yazeed Al-Rajhi, with Germany’s Sepp Wiegand in third position. The Swede and the Saudi were locked in a tense tussle over the closing stages and Al-Rajhi snatched an excellent victory after the 22nd stage by the margin of 43.5 seconds. Wiegand finished third.
Frenchman Sébastien Ogier started the event’s remaining six stages leading the event outright by 26.9 seconds, as he stayed on course to give Volkswagen Motorsport their first ever win with the Polo WRC.
Defending FIA World Rally Champion Sébastien Loeb attacked over the first few stages and finished second, 41.8 seconds behind Ogier, in his Citroën Total Abu Dhabi DS3 WRC. Loeb continues to lead the Drivers’ Championship.
The UAE’s Sheikh Khalid Al-Qassimi lost considerable time in a snow bank on day one and then suffered radiator damage after an accident on Saturday. He was unable to start the final day after suffering engine damage.
Neil Perkins, NDP Publicity Services, UK mobile: + 44 7831 123153, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
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