UAE Champion Sheikh Khalid Al Qassimi and co-driver Chris Patterson finished Qatar International Rally onboard their (Citroën DS3 RRC) with a bronze, due to a series of challenges posed by the rough terrain of most stages of Qatar International Rally, which formed a big hazard to tyres, and the setback of having a cracked cooling system, which cost Al Qassimi a hefty 4m delay towards the end of the first day’s pit retirement. The second day saw an improvement for Abu Dhabi Citroën Total World Rally Team, kicking off with Al Qassimi winning the early stages, and later maintaining short gaps with Qatari drivers Nasser Al Attiyah and Abdulaziz Al Kuwari, both nabbing first position in their familiar home town Qatar.
“Today’s stages were better off than yesterday’s, I was off to a good start and tried hard to suppress my adrenaline rushes and kept focused to win the early stages of the second day” said Al Qassimi, and added: “The 8th stage proved both easy and tough altogether with vague routes, but I was able to retain momentum to score close gaps between me and the leaders, where I was able to finish stages 8 and 9 in 3rd and 2nd position, consecutively. We will re-run these stages again in the hope of successfully finishing the rally”.
ADR young drivers achieved a better performance during the second day stages on board (Citroën DS3 R3), with Mohammed Al Mutawaa and teammate Al Sahlawi exchanging lead position throughout the final 6 stages. Equally thrilling, Juma Al Falasi pulled off enough conviction to score competitive results with teammates Mansoor Belhaelei and Saeed Bintouq. Off to the finish line, Al Mutawaa was crowned champion of Qatar International Rally – 2WD category, ahead of teammate Mohammed Al Sahlawi who claimed 6th and 7th position in the overall standings, with Mansoor Belhaelei and Juma Al Falasi finishing their first rally ever under Abu Dhabi Racing flag at 10th & 11th position in the overall standings, while unfortunately for Bintouq, an impact with rock had him leave the rally empty handed.
On the other hand, Al Qassimi was fiercely competing for the lead positions during the last 3 stages of the rally to finish 2nd, 3rd, and 2nd respectively.
“We were able to safely finish Qatar International Rally after getting really close to withdraw due to the cooling system fracture we suffered. Qatar Rally is quite tough with the harsh nature of its terrain, but today was fruitful, since we were able to achieve quicker results that yielded a little less than a second gap between us and the leaders inside the stages. We were committed to the stringed rally guidelines and successfully competed on the second day of the rally, and I feel content to have won the pre-defined Super Special Stage at the start of the rally where you have a clear track to follow”.
Provisional final positions– unofficial:
1. Nasser Al-Attiyah (QAT)/Giovanni Bernacchini (ITA) Ford Fiesta RRC /2hr 13min 11.4sec
2. Abdulaziz Al-Kuwari (QAT)/Killian Duffy (IRL) Ford Fiesta RRC/ 2hr 13min 41.5sec
3. Khalid Al-Qassimi (ARE)/Chris Patterson (GBR) Citroën DS3 RRC/ 2hr 16min 04.6sec
4. Yazeed Al-Rajhi (SAU)/Michael Orr (GBR) Ford Fiesta RRC/2hr 38min 31.3sec
5. Abdullah Al-Kuwari (QAT)/Nicola Arena (ITA) Ford Fiesta R5/2hr 39min 01.2sec
6. Mohamed Al-Mutawaa (ARE)/Stephen McAuley (GBR) Citroën DS3/2hr 47min 00.4sec
7. Mohammed Al-Sahlawi (ARE)/Craig Parry (GBR) Citroën DS3/2hr 49min 29.9sec
8. Ala’a Rasheed (JOR)/Joseph Matar (LBN) Ford Fiesta R5/2hr 54min 46.3sec
9. Meshari Al-Thefiri (KWT)/Fahad Al-Mutairi (KWT) Mitsubishi Lancer EvoX /3hr 03min 52.8sec
10. Mansoor Bel Helai (ARE)/Khalid Al-Kendi (ARE) Citroën DS3/3hr 13min 11.1sec
11. Juma Al-Falaisi (ARE)/John Higgins (IRL) Citroën DS3 /3hr 23min 35.8sec