WRC Skydive Dubai's Al-Ketbi heads to Spain fresh from German national success
Rallye RACC Rally de Espana, October 24-27
FIA World Rally Championship (WRC), round 12
For immediate release
Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013
SKYDIVE DUBAI RALLY TEAM’S AL-KETBI HEADS TO SPAIN
FRESH FROM SUCCESS IN NATIONAL EVENT IN GERMANY
· Poland’s Robert Kubica looks to clinch WRC2 title on Costa Daurada
· Skydive Dubai Rally Team up to fourth place in FIA WRC2 Team standings
SALOU (Spain): Skydive Dubai Rally Team driver Rashid Al-Ketbi and German co-driver Karina Hepperle head to this weekend’s Rally RACC-Rally de Espana fresh from taking a superb outright victory in a recent national rally in Germany. The event starts on Thursday October 24 and finishes on Sunday, October 27.
The Ford Fiesta R5 driver has shown a blistering turn of speed since he acquired his new M-Sport-built car in late summer and the Emirati followed up his podium WRC2 finish in Rally de France-Alsace at the start of this month with his first outright rally win since he triumphed with Khalid Al-Kendi in the Jordan Rally in 2011.
“It really seems to be coming together at the moment and I am delighted that I am able to repay the faith put in me by Skydive Dubai and my sponsors,” said Al-Ketbi. “The national rally in Germany was a good test for this WRC event in Spain. It was the first time that I drove the R5 on a gravel rally in Germany as a test. I am ready for Spain now and really looking forward to it.”
Success in France has catapulted Al-Ketbi up to eighth in the WRC2 drivers’ standings after 11 rounds of the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) and pushed the Skydive Dubai Rally Team into fourth place in the FIA WRC2 Team standings.
“Now I try and finish the season by taking the team into the top three in the championship,” added Al-Ketbi.
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.
Poland’s Robert Kubica starts as the clear favourite to wrap up the WRC2 championship on the mixed surface 12th round of the WRC, although Qatar’s Abdulaziz Al-Kuwari will have other ideas.
With the outright championship title already safely in the hands of Frenchman Sébastien Ogier, Belgian Thierry Neuville and Finn Jari-Matti Latvala will be challenging to finish the season in second position, while the ever-improving Spaniard Dani Sordo could well spring a surprise on his home event in Catalonia.
The event is based in the seaside resort of Salou on Spain’s Costa Daurada and features two classic days of asphalt rallying followed by a final leg of loose-surface tests.
The timetable gets underway with a shakedown stage near Salou on Thursday morning and the ceremonial start in Barcelona later in the day. Crews will then tackle three tarmac stages in darkness without a service break.
Saturday’s action contains five race circuit-like tarmac specials in the mountains to the north-west of Salou, including the 42km El Priorat stage – the longest of the event. The eighth Colldeou section acts as the event’s Power Stage for additional bonus points and the day is rounded off with a mixed surface 2km blast along the beach promenade in Salou.
After teams have just 75 minutes to switch from a tarmac to a gravel set-up on Saturday evening, Sunday’s action features three stages in western Catalonia. After three stages and 355 competitive kilometres, the finishers will cross the finish ramp in Salou late on Sunday afternoon.
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