Khalid Al-Qassimi took the early lead in the Qatar International Rally, the first round of the 2014 Middle East Rally Championship, after going fastest on Thursday evening’s super special stage at the Doha Corniche. The Citroen DS3 driver set a 1min 54.8sec on the 2.27-kilometer stage.

Qatar’s Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah (Ford Fiesta) settled for second place, just 0.7 seconds down on Al-Qassimi, while fellow countryman Abdulaziz Al-Kuwari (Ford Fiesta) went third quickest, a further 6.8 seconds behind, with Salah Bin Eidan (Ford Fiesta) fourth and Yazeed Al Rajhi (Ford Fiesta) fifth.

The Qatar International Rally action resumes tomorrow with three special stages scheduled for the morning and a repeat loop of the same stages in the afternoon.

Overall standings after SS0: