WRC Rashid Al-Ketbi finishes fifth in WRC2 category at Acropolis Rally
Acropolis Rally, May 31-June 2
FIA World Rally Championship (WRC), round 6
For immediate release
Sunday, June 2nd, 2013
SKYDIVE DUBAI RALLY TEAM’S RASHID AL-KETBI FINISHES
FIFTH IN WRC2 AT PUNISHING ACROPOLIS RALLY IN GREECE
· Finland’s Latvala wins Acropolis Rally; second place for Spain’s Sordo
· Poland’s Robert Kubica secures WRC2 victory; Qatar’s Al-Kuwari in third
LOUTRAKI (Greece): Skydive Dubai Rally Team driver Rashid Al-Ketbi and German co-driver Karina Hepperle completed the gruelling Acropolis Rally, round six of the FIA World Rally Championship, in fifth position in the WRC 2 category after 14 special stages.
The Skoda Fabia S2000 driver held seventh in WRC2 at the end of Saturday’s action after 10 timed tests - where large rocks and even rain showers created hazards for the drivers - and he held his nerve over the remaining four stages on Sunday to ensure that he was the only UAE finisher on the event. When Indonesian driver Subhan Aksa retired his Ford Fiesta in the 11th stage with mechanical problems, Al-Ketbi climbed to sixth and then he moved up to fifth in the final stage when Peruvian Nicolas Fuchs hit trouble with punctures.
“After the accident in Portugal it was vital that I finished this rally and scored points for WRC 2,” said Al-Ketbi, a former winner of the Jordan Rally. “I am very happy with this result.
“I knew that it would not be easy. The competition is very strong and there were times when I could have driven quicker, but I did not want to risk the car over the large rocks and stones that make this rally so difficult.”
Poland’s Robert Kubica secured the WRC2 victory, but third position ensured that Qatar’s Abdulaziz Al-Kuwari maintained the outright championship lead after a fascinating final day tussle with category runner-up Yuriy Protasov.
Jari-Matti Latvala took an overnight lead of 64 seconds over Dani Sordo into the final four stages on Sunday and reached the finish 1min 50sec clear of the Spaniard to confirm his first win of the season and yet another outright WRC victory for Volkswagen Motorsport.
“Incredible, it feels amazing. It has been a tough start of the season for me but it was nice to win here. Ten years ago I drive here for the first time and it took me 10 years to win here,” said Latvala.
Qatar’s Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah finished an excellent fifth overall in his Ford Fiesta after losing out on fourth position to Norwegian Andreas Mikkelsen.
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.
Al-Ketbi had climbed to eighth in WRC 2 through the fifth special stage on Saturday afternoon and maintained that position after the sixth special at Ziria. Kubica set the fastest time in the category and extended his advantage over Protasov to 1min 38.5sec, with Qatar’s Al-Kuwari in third.
Al-Ketbi was sixth quickest in the seventh stage and climbed to a similar position in the rankings and he repeated the feat in SS8. Kubica held on to maintain his WRC2 lead into the overnight halt after 10 stages from Protasov and Al-Kuwari. Latvala led Sordo by 64 seconds in the overall rankings, but the UAE’s Sheikh Khalid Al-Qassimi crashed his Citroën DS3 heavily out of a top 10 placing in the rocky eighth stage shortly after the start.
Neil Perkins, NDP Publicity Services, UK mobile: + 44 7831 123153, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
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