WRC Ninth place in Acropolis Rally WRC 2 for Al-Ketbi after four stages
Acropolis Rally, May 31-June 2
FIA World Rally Championship (WRC), round 6
For immediate release
Saturday, June 1st, 2013
SKYDIVE DUBAI RALLY TEAM’S RASHID AL-KETBI HOLDS
NINTH IN WRC 2 AFTER FOUR ACROPOLIS RALLY STAGES
· Overall Acropolis Rally lead for Latvala after four timed stages on Saturday
· Poland’s Robert Kubica leads from Yuriy Protasov in WRC 2 category
LOUTRAKI (Greece): Skydive Dubai Rally Team (UAE) driver Rashid Al-Ketbi and German co-driver Karina Hepperle held ninth in the WRC 2 category at the gruelling Acropolis Rally after four timed special stages on Saturday.
The Skoda Fabia S2000 driver began his campaign for honours on one of the most demanding rallies in the FIA World Rally Championship calendar on Friday evening. After taking the start in Athens, Al-Ketbi tackled two special stages late on Friday, including the run through the daunting 47.7km special between Kineta and Pissia and the 26.05km of the Kineta stage.
He set the ninth quickest time of 38min 09sec through the opener and was eighth fastest in stage two before tackling the 17.41km of the Klenia Mycenae and 17.61km of the Ghymno stages on Saturday morning. Pole Robert Kubica was the pacesetter from Ukrainian Yuriy Protasov through SS1 and the former Formula One driver maintained the lead from Protasov in stages two and three.
Al-Ketbi again set the eighth quickest time through Klenia Mycenae and consolidated ninth position after stage four. Kubica maintained a WRC 2 lead of 1min 21.7sec from Protasov.
“It was a case of taking no risks and making sure that we were still in contention,” said Al-Ketbi. “This is a long and difficult rally and the rate of attrition will be high on these demanding stages. I need to finish and score points.”
Russian Evgeny Novikov set the fastest times through the first two stages, but the major news surrounded the shock retirement of Volkswagen’s championship leader Sébastien Ogier with technical issues and delays for Finland’s Mikko Hirvonen in stage one.
Jari-Matti Latvala set the quickest time in the third stage and climbed to second place and he inherited the lead in stage four when Novikov dropped over four minutes and slipped to eighth place. The UAE’s Sheikh Khalid Al-Qassimi held ninth position after four stages and Qatar’s Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah was fifth.
Al-Ketbi had been happy with the performance of the car during the WRC 2 shakedown test on Tuesday - where he joined the likes of Qatar’s Abdulaziz Al-Kuwari and Poland’s Robert Kubica to obtain the best set-up for the tricky gravel stages.
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, and is backing the UAE’s bid for EXPO 2020.
There are just four stages on Sunday with the competitive action drawing to a close with the 30km Loutraki special acting as the Acropolis Power Stage, where up to three bonus points are at stake for the winner.
Neil Perkins, NDP Publicity Services, UK mobile: + 44 7831 123153, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
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