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Al Qassimi Set For Big Victory Battle With Al Attiyah
Posted by: newsla on Jan 25, 2013 - 06:04 PM
WRC Rally News 2010
Al Qassimi Set For Big Victory Battle With Al Attiyah After Thrilling Qatar Rally Debut For Abu Dhabi Racing

The UAE's Sheikh Khalid Al Qassimi is poised for a classic battle for victory with reigning Middle East champion Nasser Al Attiyah in the Qatar International Rally after spearheading a fine debut by Abu Dhabi Racing at the start of this year’s regional series today.


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At the end of the first leg on completion of six special stages making up the first leg, Al Attiyah held a slender 4.8 seconds advantage over Al Qassimi, driving his new Abu Dhabi Citroën Total WRC Team DS3 RRC for the first time, after the two Arab stars had fought out a day-long tussle for the lead.

They now face a dramatic showdown over the six stages making up Saturday’s second leg, as Al Qassimi looks to give Abu Dhabi Racing an outright victory to mark their first outing in the Middle East.

While he was involved in a spectacular dual with Al Attiyah, three of his four Emirati team-mates also had a memorable first day of action with the new team, each earning top ten positions over a punishing first leg which claimed a number of casualties along a rugged desert route.

They were headed by Majid Al Shamsi who finished the leg in seventh place overall and was second to Qatari Abdulla Al Kuwari in the new Group N category in his Subaru Impreza.

Team-mate Bader Al Jabri, like Al Shamsi a former recruit from the Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority Junior Driver Development Programme, was in ninth position overall and third in Group N.

Completing the top ten at the end of the first leg’s six special stages was Mohammed Al Mutawaa who also led the new two-wheel drive category in his Citroën DS3 R3 in his first ever rally.

The other Abu Dhabi Racing rally newcomer, Mohammed Al-Sahlawi, was unluckily forced to retire from the first leg after a series of punctures. He will take the super rally option to re-start the rally on the second leg tomorrow morning and gain invaluable competitive experience.

Much of the day belonged to 2004 Middle East champion Al Qassimi, who is the inspiration for the four other Emirati drivers in the five-car Abu Dhabi Racing line-up. Partnered by British co-driver Scott Martin, he led twice and was fastest on two special stages before Al Attiyah moved into a marginal lead on the last competitive section of the day.

Al Qassimi’s performance was particularly impressive as the UAE driver is just returning to full competitive action with Abu Dhabi Racing this season after being out of rallying for most of 2012.

Qatar International Rally provisional leading positions at end of first leg

1. Nasser Al Attiyah (QAT)/Giovanni Bernacchini (ITA) Ford Fiesta RRC 1:11:35.4
2. Khalid Al Qassimi (UAE)/Scott Martin (GB) Citroën DS3 RRC 1:11:40.2
3. Abdulaziz Al Kuwari (QAT)/Killian Duffy (IRL) Ford Fiesta RRC 1:14:12.4
4. Khalid Al Suwaidi (QAT)/Nicola Arena (ITA) Ford Fiesta RRC 1:15.47.8
5. Adullah Al Qassimi(UAE)/Steve Lancaster (GB) Ford Fiesta RRC 1:22:31.6
6. Abdulla Al Kuwari (QAT)/Khalid Al Kendi (UAE) Mitsubisi Evo IX 1:30:37.7
7. Majid Al Shamsi (UAE)/John Higgins (IRL) Subaru Impreza N15 1:32:07.4
8. Michele De Nora (ITA)/Sergio Secchi (ITA) Subaru Impreza R4 1:35:43.9
9. Bader Al Jabri (UAE /Nicholas Clinger (FRA) Subaru Impreza N15 1:36:25.7
10. Mohammed Al Mutawaa (UAE)/Stephen McAuley (GB) Citroen DS3 R3 1:36:43.7

PaddockTalk Perspective

Also in WRC Rally News 2010:

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Most read story in WRC Rally News 2010:
Nasser’s Path To Victory In Dubai Threatened By UAE Duo

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