WRC Skydive Dubai Rally Team's Al-Ketbi on a charge in France
Rallye de France-Alsace, October 3-6
FIA World Rally Championship (WRC), round 11
For immediate release
Friday, October 4th, 2013
SKYDIVE DUBAI RALLY TEAM’S RASHID AL-KETBI
MAKES EARLY CHARGE THROUGH ALSACE STAGES
· Dubai rally star hails legend Loeb on Frenchman’s final rally
· Volkswagen’s Sébastien Ogier confirms maiden world title on first stage
STRASBOURG (France): Skydive Dubai Rally Team driver Rashid Al-Ketbi and German co-driver Karina Hepperle were well placed in the WRC2 category after two timed special stages of the Rally de France-Alsace, round 11 of this year’s FIA World Rally Championship (WRC), on Friday.
While focus at the top of the leader board had centred on Sébastien Ogier claiming his first World Championship title on Thursday evening’s Power Stage, Al-Ketbi was getting on with the job in hand in his Ford Fiesta R5.
The Emirati held fifth place at the overnight halt in Strasbourg and was just 38.2 seconds behind WRC2 leader Robert Kubica through the 10.66km Klevener special stage to trail the Polish former F1 star by 56 seconds.
“Our times have been getting better all the time,” said Al-Ketbi. “This is only the second event in the car and it is pleasing to be competitive. I enjoyed that first stage but I had a spin on the last corner. There are no excuses for me. I want to bring the car to the podium for everyone in the Skydive Dubai Rally Team.
“This event will go down in WRC history as one of the most notable in recent times - not just because Ogier won the title here, but it is also the last one for Sébastien Loeb before he retires. His successes over the last 10 years have been the benchmark for many people and certainly an inspiration to us all.”
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.
Crews tackled a 4.55km super special stage in reverse order in Strasbourg on Thursday evening and this also acted as the Power Stage, with three points available to the winner, two for the runner-up and one for third position.
Needing only two points or for Thierry Neuville not to win the Power Stage to claim his maiden FIA World Rally Championship title, Frenchman Sébastien Ogier prevailed to continue the French domination of the Drivers’ Championship on an event which also marks the retirement of multiple champion Sébastien Loeb.
Al-Ketbi clocked a time of 3min 46.5sec through the super special and avoiding taking any risks to finish the day fifth in WRC2. Poland’s Robert Kubica led the way.
Friday’s action consisted of six special stages through the Bas-Rhin and Vosges areas and Al-Ketbi was into a competitive WRC2 pace from the outset.
Saturday will be the longest day of the event with 134.93km of special stages through the Haut-Rhin region. After several classic Alsace stages, the day draws to a close with a town centre special in Mulhouse. There are a further six stages on Sunday, totalling just 56.58km.
Neil Perkins, NDP Publicity Services, UK mobile: + 44 7831 123153, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
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