WRC Skydive Dubai Rally Team's Al-Ketbi relishes delivery of new Ford Fiesta R5
Rally d’Italia Sardegna, June 20-22
FIA World Rally Championship (WRC), round 7
For immediate release
Monday, June 17th, 2013
SKYDIVE DUBAI RALLY TEAM’S RASHID AL-KETBI RELISHES
DELIVERY OF NEW R5 FOR REMAINDER OF WRC SEASON
· Dubai star enters Sardinia for experience before acquiring new R5
· Qatar’s Al-Kuwari leads WRC 2 category from Peruvian Fuchs
SASSARI (Sardinia): Skydive Dubai Rally Team driver Rashid Al-Ketbi and German co-driver Karina Hepperle have entered this weekend’s Rally d’Italia Sardegna, round seven of the 2013 FIA World Rally Championship, to gain more experience of top flight rallying in readiness for the delivery of their brand new M-Sport-prepared Ford Fiesta R5 in July. The Sardinia-based event runs from June 20-22.
“We are looking forward to driving in Sardinia - not to score points in WRC2 but to gain a bit more experience and have some fun before we take delivery of the new R5 in July,” said Al-Ketbi. “The car was launched recently and I am looking forward to getting hold of it before Rally Finland.”
The R5 has been built by M-Sport in the UK and is scheduled to be homologated by the FIA on July 1st. British driver Elfyn Evans is set to drive a factory version in Finland. The four-wheel drive Fiesta is powered by a turbocharged 1600cc engine and will compete in the WRC 2 category alongside Super 2000 and Regional Rally Cars (RRCs). Skoda, Peugeot and Citroën are also developing R5 cars.
“With a proper driver this car is going to surprise a lot of people,” said M-Sport director Malcolm Wilson. “It’s going to be quicker everywhere than a Super 2000 car and a lot of places it will be quicker than a regional car.”
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.
Qatar’s Abdulaziz Al-Kuwari currently holds a nine-point lead in the WRC2 category from Peruvian Nicolas Fuchs, while Volkswagen Motorsport’s Sébastien Ogier has a 52-point advantage over Finnish colleague Jari-Matti Latvala in the main Drivers’ Championship standings. All four drivers line up alongside Al-Ketbi this weekend in an entry list that includes 14 World Rally Cars in a list of 56 entrants.
Rally d’Italia Sardegna has switched from a four to a two-day format and gets underway on Thursday morning with the Monte Pinu qualifying stage and the ceremonial start from the historic town of Sassari in the evening.
Friday’s action begins from the service park in Olbia and features a series of special stages en route to Sassari and the northern town of Castelsardo.
Saturday’s gravel stage action is centred around the picturesque forest areas of Monte Acuto and Gallura and the 16-stage event reaches a conclusion on Saturday evening at Olbia’s Molo Brin Archeological museum after around 304 competitive kilometres. The Mediterranean island has hosted a round of the WRC since the event switched from the Italian mainland in 2004.
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