WRC Podium WRC2 finish for Rashid Al-Ketbi in Rallye de France-Alsace
Rallye de France-Alsace, October 3-6
FIA World Rally Championship (WRC), round 11
For immediate release
Sunday, October 6th, 2013
PODIUM WRC2 FINISH FOR FLYING SKYDIVE
DUBAI RALLY TEAM’S RASHID AL-KETBI IN FRANCE
· World champion Sébastien Ogier wins rally; Loeb rolls on his final event
· Polish star Robert Kubica wins WRC2 category; Welshman Evans second
STRASBOURG (France): Skydive Dubai Rally Team driver Rashid Al-Ketbi and German co-driver Karina Hepperle secured a podium finish and their best result of the season in Rally de France-Alsace, round 11 of the FIA World Rally Championship, which finished in Strasbourg on Sunday.
At the wheel of his Ford Fiesta R5, Emirati driver Al-Ketbi drove in a measured and professional manner for the 20 asphalt special stages that made up the itinerary for the four-day event and he finished a comfortable third in the WRC2 category behind
Poland’s Robert Kubica and Welshman Elfyn Evans. Mexican driver Ricardo Trivino was a distant fourth.
“I promised myself that I would take a podium finish here and I am delighted to have achieved that and taken our best result of the season,” beamed Al-Ketbi. “The car and the team were fantastic. Karina worked superbly on the pace notes. It was a great performance for the Skydive Dubai Rally Team. But I had a scare on the final stage. We came to the one corner and we break the rear (suspension) arm.”
Newly crowned world champion Sébastien Ogier of the Volkswagen team won the event outright by 12.2 seconds in his Polo R WRC, with Spaniard Dani Sordo pipping Finland’s Jari-Matti Latvala for second position. Outgoing and retiring world champion Sébastien Loeb rolled out of third place on the first slippery stage of the morning.
Finland’s Jari-Matti Latvala held a 0.4-second lead over Dani Sordo and a 1.9 second advantage over Ogier at the start of the final day. Loeb was a further 3.5 seconds adrift, but early leader Thierry Neuville lost his lead after a puncture and dropped to fifth.
The drama continued into the final day. Loeb rolled out of his final rally on the first of the morning’s stages and a stunning time by Ogier catapulted the Frenchman into a lead of 7.3 seconds over Sordo, with Latvala slipping to third. Kubica retained the advantage in WRC2 from Evans and Al-Ketbi and the trio held station to the finish.
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.
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