Dakar: Al Qassimi completes fruitful testing campaign in Liwa ahead of Dakar 2018

Dakar: Al Qassimi completes fruitful testing campaign in Liwa ahead of Dakar 2018

AL QASSIMI: “If you want to build your confidence then you’ve got to learn how to tackle Liwas’ dunes first”

The Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge winner will be behind the wheel of a Peugeot 3008 DKR Maxi run by PH Sport in Dakar 2018

ABU DHABI, (UAE): Abu Dhabi Racing driver and Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge winner, Sheikh Khalid bin Faisal Al Qassimi is continuing his preparations with intensive testing sessions in the Liwa desert in prior to the 40th edition of the historic Dakar Rally, which will run from January 6-20, 2018.

 

The anniversary edition will run through three countries in South America – Peru, Bolivia and Argentina – and the Abu Dhabi Racing driver is aiming for a good result at the end of the annual event that attracts some of the biggest names from across the globe.

 

Sheikh Khalid has been busy with intense testing runs in the desert in the company of his co-driver Xavier Panseri. He was pleased with what the team has achieved over the past few days of tough testing in the desert sands.

 

“Testing has been very difficult especially because I have not driven in severe desert conditions such as these for the past eight months. Yet it has been a fruitful period because the conditions have been very, very difficult and that throws up fresh and further challenges before us as a team,” Sheikh Khalid said.

 

“Making things even more difficult was the fact that we were the only people in the desert and any mistake could prove to be very costly. Besides, the sand was very, very soft and in such conditions it is very difficult to get a proper traction for the car,” he added.

 

Sheikh Khalid is confident his experience of testing in the extreme conditions of Liwa will best assist him when he tackles the dunes during Dakar. “Liwa has that something special for everyone. The conditions are the most extreme ones and from experience, if one can handle conditions in Liwa then he can go through with any of the rallies. This is what makes Liwa so special. There are a lot of surprises as the dunes change continuously. So if you want to build your confidence then you’ve got to learn how to tackle Liwa first and take the fear out of you. I firmly believe that no one other rally comes even ten per cent close to Liwa conditions,” he remarked.

 

Behind the wheel of a Peugeot 3008 DKR Maxi run by PH Sport, this will be the second time that Panseri will be Sheikh Khalid’s co-driver. The Frenchman first co-drove for Sheikh Khalid in Rally Morocco last year.

 

“Yes, definitely the focus for us at this moment is to get our chemistry right. We have done 800kms, if not more in the soft sands and this has been enough time for us to get to know each other better and understand how each of us thinks,” Sheikh Khalid noted.

“The progress has been good so far. I feel that I can understand him well, but of course there are a few points that we need to develop as part of being one team. For sure, the key element here is that we need to remain patient and not make any mistakes. We need to avoid getting stuck or getting lost in the desert. You cannot afford to make mistakes and then hope to win or be at the top of the standings. It is a very long rally and we need to be at our best at all times,” he added.

Sheikh Khalid has been testing in the old 2008 DKR Peugeot car, while as the new Peugeot 3008 DKR Maxi is on the way to Lima. “There is no big difference in the two cars, both are a rear wheel drive busy style cars. The biggest technique that we’ve got to master for the moment is that we need to ensure how not to get stuck in the sand in whatever car we are in. No doubt, there is very little difference in driving the old car and the new one,” Sheikh Khalid disclosed.

The Dakar 2018 will feature seven off road stages made up of 100 per cent dunes. The rally, set over 9,000 kms, of which nearly 5,000 kms will be special stages and more than 4,000 kms of road sections.

The 40th edition of the Dakar Rally will take place on the South American continent for the tenth time with drivers getting the opportunity to re-acquaint themselves with the Pacific Ocean and the Peruvian dunes, which the riders and drivers will tackle after having enjoyed several days in the Peruvian capital of Lima.

 

The race then continues on to Bolivia, where the rest day will take place in the capital city, La Paz. From there the race moves to Argentina, concluding in Córdoba, which will host the finish of the Dakar for the first time.

 

Handling altitude will be yet another aspect of training for the Abu Dhabi team as they would be required to race at a height of more than 3,600 metres. Since the past one month, Sheikh Khalid has included cardio and specialized circuit training to his daily regimen. “We have been training with altitude masks, while trying to use maximum valves for the masks to get as close to the conditions that we would be going through,” he related.

 

In 2017, Al Qassimi’s Dakar Rally debut came to a sudden and premature end with just one day to go following a technical snag on Stage 11 from San Juan to Rio Cuarto which comprised of a total distance of 759 kms, of which 288 kms were competitive. At the time of his unfortunate retirement mid-way through the stage, Sheikh Khalid was in ninth position and looking to improve upon his tenth overall in the classifications going into the final day.

 

A competition of extremes and an orienteering race, the Dakar brings together the leading rally raid riders and drivers, as well as amateur competitors who come to fulfill their dream, experience an adventure and meet the biggest challenge of their life on a bike, on a quad, in a car or in a truck. Over the last 40 years, each year 500 participants from more than 60 nationalities have come together for 15 days of a unique competition on which extraordinary feats of human endeavour are played out

 

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12 hrs ago

CircuitProDigital

Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport win fifth consecutive FIA Formula One Constructors' World Championship!

Lewis Hamilton took his 72nd career victory today, his tenth of the 2018 season and second in Interlagos
Valtteri set the fastest lap of the race - his tenth fastest lap in Formula One - and finished the race in P5
Today's result marks the 50th win of the hybrid era for Lewis, which means that he won more than 50 percent of the 99 races since 2014

The result also marks the tenth win for the Mercedes-AMG F1 W09 EQ Power+, a championship-winning car that has now earned its designation as a true Silver Arrow
Lewis (383 points) leads the Drivers' Championship by 81 points from Sebastian Vettel (302 points), with Valtteri (237 points) in P4

Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport (620 points) lead Ferrari (553 points) by 67 points in the Constructors' Championship - an unassailable lead with 43 points still to be scored in the 2018 season

Andrew Shovlin, Trackside Engineering Director, accepted the Constructors' trophy on behalf of the team

Lewis Hamilton
That's real history in the making for the team. If I were to stop today with Mercedes, I would always remember this day and that I was a part of it and that's so cool. This has been a seriously tough year and everyone on this team has fought so hard, harder than we've ever fought and we're the most united that we've ever been - which is not expected when you've had success in previous years and could easily drop the ball. The guys have been continuing to raise the bar. Today was such a tough race for me, but I really wanted to deliver and win this for the team. It has such a big knock-on effect; everyone on the team can now go into the last race and into the winter, knowing that they won the world title and that they're legends. I am so grateful for all the hard work - here at the track, back home at the factories, at PETRONAS and all of our partners - I'm so proud to be part of this team. I'm actually kind of nervous to go back to the factories and hear the roar - I think the atmosphere is going to be incredible. I didn't expect the Red Bulls to be in the race like that today, I thought they'd be in a similar pace to us, but they were quite a bit quicker. We struggled with the tyres in the first stint and they were able to manage the tyres better than us. In the second stint, I was on the Medium tyre and had an issue with the engine, so I was really just trying to bring the car across the line. Max passed me which was painful, but then they had an issue and all of a sudden I was back in the lead. I was on the radio, telling my engineers "I don't want to give it up, tell me what I need to do" - I was pushing so hard at the end, taking every risk to bring it home with a win. This is a high, but I want to stay on that wave and win the next race as well.

Valtteri Bottas
I'm really happy and proud to be part of this team. This is down to hard work by every single team member, both back at the factories in Brackley and Brixworth as well as here at the race track - they really deserve this title! It's usually only a few people who are in the spotlight all the time, but there are many, many hidden heroes in our team - thank you all! We kept everything together even under immense pressure, minimised our mistakes and did a great job developing the car - huge congratulations to everyone. The race today was a bit tricky; everything went as planned at the start and we could gain the lead at the beginning, but after that it got more difficult. In the first stint, I was struggling with overheating the tyres, in the second stint, I was struggling with blistering on the Mediums, so we had to stop a second time. I think we didn't quite have the pace today. It was a slightly tougher race than I expected, I was a bit more optimistic before the race, but overall it is a great day for Mercedes.

Toto Wolff
We just wrote Championship history - but winning the fifth double World Championship feels so surreal. Who would have thought this would be possible when we embarked on this mission eight years ago? If anyone had mentioned this record back then, we would have told them they are crazy. And yet, here we are today, having just equalled the Ferrari record from the Schumacher years. It's a great honour to represent Mercedes on the track and I can't thank everyone enough for their great work, both here at the track and in Brackley and Brixworth, and also for the continued support from Daimler in Stuttgart and PETRONAS in Kuala Lumpur and Turin. None of this would have been possible without their contributions and without the hard work and the passion of everyone on the team. I had a conversation with Lewis on Sunday night in Mexico; he had just won his fifth world championship, but both of us were not fully satisfied - because our objective was to win both titles. That's why he was fighting so hard today because he wanted to finish this on a high, win the race and win the constructors' championship for the team. Valtteri had a trickier season than Lewis, but he has improved his performance this year and played a vital role for this championship success. Five consecutive titles - I'm immensely proud of this amazing achievement.
... See Less

Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport win fifth consecutive FIA Formula One Constructors World Championship!

Lewis Hamilton took his 72nd career victory today, his tenth of the 2018 season and second in Interlagos
Valtteri set the fastest lap of the race - his tenth fastest lap in Formula One - and finished the race in P5
Todays result marks the 50th win of the hybrid era for Lewis, which means that he won more than 50 percent of the 99 races since 2014

The result also marks the tenth win for the Mercedes-AMG F1 W09 EQ Power+, a championship-winning car that has now earned its designation as a true Silver Arrow
Lewis (383 points) leads the Drivers Championship by 81 points from Sebastian Vettel (302 points), with Valtteri (237 points) in P4

Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport (620 points) lead Ferrari (553 points) by 67 points in the Constructors Championship - an unassailable lead with 43 points still to be scored in the 2018 season

Andrew Shovlin, Trackside Engineering Director, accepted the Constructors trophy on behalf of the team

Lewis Hamilton 
Thats real history in the making for the team. If I were to stop today with Mercedes, I would always remember this day and that I was a part of it and thats so cool. This has been a seriously tough year and everyone on this team has fought so hard, harder than weve ever fought and were the most united that weve ever been - which is not expected when youve had success in previous years and could easily drop the ball. The guys have been continuing to raise the bar. Today was such a tough race for me, but I really wanted to deliver and win this for the team. It has such a big knock-on effect; everyone on the team can now go into the last race and into the winter, knowing that they won the world title and that theyre legends. I am so grateful for all the hard work - here at the track, back home at the factories, at PETRONAS and all of our partners - Im so proud to be part of this team. Im actually kind of nervous to go back to the factories and hear the roar - I think the atmosphere is going to be incredible. I didnt expect the Red Bulls to be in the race like that today, I thought theyd be in a similar pace to us, but they were quite a bit quicker. We struggled with the tyres in the first stint and they were able to manage the tyres better than us. In the second stint, I was on the Medium tyre and had an issue with the engine, so I was really just trying to bring the car across the line. Max passed me which was painful, but then they had an issue and all of a sudden I was back in the lead. I was on the radio, telling my engineers I dont want to give it up, tell me what I need to do - I was pushing so hard at the end, taking every risk to bring it home with a win. This is a high, but I want to stay on that wave and win the next race as well. 
 
Valtteri Bottas 
Im really happy and proud to be part of this team. This is down to hard work by every single team member, both back at the factories in Brackley and Brixworth as well as here at the race track - they really deserve this title! Its usually only a few people who are in the spotlight all the time, but there are many, many hidden heroes in our team - thank you all! We kept everything together even under immense pressure, minimised our mistakes and did a great job developing the car - huge congratulations to everyone. The race today was a bit tricky; everything went as planned at the start and we could gain the lead at the beginning, but after that it got more difficult. In the first stint, I was struggling with overheating the tyres, in the second stint, I was struggling with blistering on the Mediums, so we had to stop a second time. I think we didnt quite have the pace today. It was a slightly tougher race than I expected, I was a bit more optimistic before the race, but overall it is a great day for Mercedes. 
 
Toto Wolff 
We just wrote Championship history - but winning the fifth double World Championship feels so surreal. Who would have thought this would be possible when we embarked on this mission eight years ago? If anyone had mentioned this record back then, we would have told them they are crazy. And yet, here we are today, having just equalled the Ferrari record from the Schumacher years. Its a great honour to represent Mercedes on the track and I cant thank everyone enough for their great work, both here at the track and in Brackley and Brixworth, and also for the continued support from Daimler in Stuttgart and PETRONAS in Kuala Lumpur and Turin. None of this would have been possible without their contributions and without the hard work and the passion of everyone on the team. I had a conversation with Lewis on Sunday night in Mexico; he had just won his fifth world championship, but both of us were not fully satisfied - because our objective was to win both titles. Thats why he was fighting so hard today because he wanted to finish this on a high, win the race and win the constructors championship for the team. Valtteri had a trickier season than Lewis, but he has improved his performance this year and played a vital role for this championship success. Five consecutive titles - Im immensely proud of this amazing achievement.

12 hrs ago

CircuitProDigital

Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport win fifth consecutive FIA Formula One Constructors' World Championship!
Lewis Hamilton took his 72nd career victory today, his tenth of the 2018 season and second in Interlagos
Valtteri set the fastest lap of the race - his tenth fastest lap in Formula One - and finished the race in P5
Today's result marks the 50th win of the hybrid era for Lewis, which means that he won more than 50 percent of the 99 races since 2014
The result also marks the tenth win for the Mercedes-AMG F1 W09 EQ Power+, a championship-winning car that has now earned its designation as a true Silver Arrow
Lewis (383 points) leads the Drivers' Championship by 81 points from Sebastian Vettel (302 points), with Valtteri (237 points) in P4
Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport (620 points) lead Ferrari (553 points) by 67 points in the Constructors' Championship - an unassailable lead with 43 points still to be scored in the 2018 season

Andrew Shovlin, Trackside Engineering Director, accepted the Constructors' trophy on behalf of the team

-----------------------

Lewis Hamilton
That's real history in the making for the team. If I were to stop today with Mercedes, I would always remember this day and that I was a part of it and that's so cool. This has been a seriously tough year and everyone on this team has fought so hard, harder than we've ever fought and we're the most united that we've ever been - which is not expected when you've had success in previous years and could easily drop the ball. The guys have been continuing to raise the bar. Today was such a tough race for me, but I really wanted to deliver and win this for the team. It has such a big knock-on effect; everyone on the team can now go into the last race and into the winter, knowing that they won the world title and that they're legends. I am so grateful for all the hard work - here at the track, back home at the factories, at PETRONAS and all of our partners - I'm so proud to be part of this team. I'm actually kind of nervous to go back to the factories and hear the roar - I think the atmosphere is going to be incredible. I didn't expect the Red Bulls to be in the race like that today, I thought they'd be in a similar pace to us, but they were quite a bit quicker. We struggled with the tyres in the first stint and they were able to manage the tyres better than us. In the second stint, I was on the Medium tyre and had an issue with the engine, so I was really just trying to bring the car across the line. Max passed me which was painful, but then they had an issue and all of a sudden I was back in the lead. I was on the radio, telling my engineers "I don't want to give it up, tell me what I need to do" - I was pushing so hard at the end, taking every risk to bring it home with a win. This is a high, but I want to stay on that wave and win the next race as well.

Valtteri Bottas
I'm really happy and proud to be part of this team. This is down to hard work by every single team member, both back at the factories in Brackley and Brixworth as well as here at the race track - they really deserve this title! It's usually only a few people who are in the spotlight all the time, but there are many, many hidden heroes in our team - thank you all! We kept everything together even under immense pressure, minimised our mistakes and did a great job developing the car - huge congratulations to everyone. The race today was a bit tricky; everything went as planned at the start and we could gain the lead at the beginning, but after that it got more difficult. In the first stint, I was struggling with overheating the tyres, in the second stint, I was struggling with blistering on the Mediums, so we had to stop a second time. I think we didn't quite have the pace today. It was a slightly tougher race than I expected, I was a bit more optimistic before the race, but overall it is a great day for Mercedes.

Toto Wolff
We just wrote Championship history - but winning the fifth double World Championship feels so surreal. Who would have thought this would be possible when we embarked on this mission eight years ago? If anyone had mentioned this record back then, we would have told them they are crazy. And yet, here we are today, having just equalled the Ferrari record from the Schumacher years. It's a great honour to represent Mercedes on the track and I can't thank everyone enough for their great work, both here at the track and in Brackley and Brixworth, and also for the continued support from Daimler in Stuttgart and PETRONAS in Kuala Lumpur and Turin. None of this would have been possible without their contributions and without the hard work and the passion of everyone on the team. I had a conversation with Lewis on Sunday night in Mexico; he had just won his fifth world championship, but both of us were not fully satisfied - because our objective was to win both titles. That's why he was fighting so hard today because he wanted to finish this on a high, win the race and win the constructors' championship for the team. Valtteri had a trickier season than Lewis, but he has improved his performance this year and played a vital role for this championship success. Five consecutive titles - I'm immensely proud of this amazing achievement.

James Allison
This is an amazing, amazing group of people built up over many years. The skill and the dedication in a sport that is famously complicated - to get all those ducks lined up in a row, not just once or twice but season after season - is just incredible. What was difficult about this season is that the opposition were that quick. We came to the races not knowing if we were going to win, not having any idea whether they were going to smash us. It ebbed and flowed all through the year. We thought we had them punched down so many times - only for them to bounce back up and give us a really tough time, and it's still happening now. The fact that this year has been so desperately close shows that the difference between the teams is utterly tiny - and it was Lewis who made the difference for us this year. He keeps putting it on pole, in the races we can make mistakes and he'll recover it by doing something unlikely on the track that no-one sees coming and he's spent the whole year not making mistakes. He's just the consummate racing driver. We're very lucky with the driver partnership that we have. Valtteri had a lot of bad luck at the start of the year when he might have had some race wins and has not had the same success that Lewis has had. Valtteri has been stronger this year than he was last year, he's been a brilliant team-mate to us all and a huge asset.
... See Less

Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport win fifth consecutive FIA Formula One Constructors World Championship!
Lewis Hamilton took his 72nd career victory today, his tenth of the 2018 season and second in Interlagos
Valtteri set the fastest lap of the race - his tenth fastest lap in Formula One - and finished the race in P5
Todays result marks the 50th win of the hybrid era for Lewis, which means that he won more than 50 percent of the 99 races since 2014
The result also marks the tenth win for the Mercedes-AMG F1 W09 EQ Power+, a championship-winning car that has now earned its designation as a true Silver Arrow
Lewis (383 points) leads the Drivers Championship by 81 points from Sebastian Vettel (302 points), with Valtteri (237 points) in P4
Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport (620 points) lead Ferrari (553 points) by 67 points in the Constructors Championship - an unassailable lead with 43 points still to be scored in the 2018 season

Andrew Shovlin, Trackside Engineering Director, accepted the Constructors trophy on behalf of the team

-----------------------

Lewis Hamilton 
Thats real history in the making for the team. If I were to stop today with Mercedes, I would always remember this day and that I was a part of it and thats so cool. This has been a seriously tough year and everyone on this team has fought so hard, harder than weve ever fought and were the most united that weve ever been - which is not expected when youve had success in previous years and could easily drop the ball. The guys have been continuing to raise the bar. Today was such a tough race for me, but I really wanted to deliver and win this for the team. It has such a big knock-on effect; everyone on the team can now go into the last race and into the winter, knowing that they won the world title and that theyre legends. I am so grateful for all the hard work - here at the track, back home at the factories, at PETRONAS and all of our partners - Im so proud to be part of this team. Im actually kind of nervous to go back to the factories and hear the roar - I think the atmosphere is going to be incredible. I didnt expect the Red Bulls to be in the race like that today, I thought theyd be in a similar pace to us, but they were quite a bit quicker. We struggled with the tyres in the first stint and they were able to manage the tyres better than us. In the second stint, I was on the Medium tyre and had an issue with the engine, so I was really just trying to bring the car across the line. Max passed me which was painful, but then they had an issue and all of a sudden I was back in the lead. I was on the radio, telling my engineers I dont want to give it up, tell me what I need to do - I was pushing so hard at the end, taking every risk to bring it home with a win. This is a high, but I want to stay on that wave and win the next race as well. 
 
Valtteri Bottas 
Im really happy and proud to be part of this team. This is down to hard work by every single team member, both back at the factories in Brackley and Brixworth as well as here at the race track - they really deserve this title! Its usually only a few people who are in the spotlight all the time, but there are many, many hidden heroes in our team - thank you all! We kept everything together even under immense pressure, minimised our mistakes and did a great job developing the car - huge congratulations to everyone. The race today was a bit tricky; everything went as planned at the start and we could gain the lead at the beginning, but after that it got more difficult. In the first stint, I was struggling with overheating the tyres, in the second stint, I was struggling with blistering on the Mediums, so we had to stop a second time. I think we didnt quite have the pace today. It was a slightly tougher race than I expected, I was a bit more optimistic before the race, but overall it is a great day for Mercedes. 
 
Toto Wolff 
We just wrote Championship history - but winning the fifth double World Championship feels so surreal. Who would have thought this would be possible when we embarked on this mission eight years ago? If anyone had mentioned this record back then, we would have told them they are crazy. And yet, here we are today, having just equalled the Ferrari record from the Schumacher years. Its a great honour to represent Mercedes on the track and I cant thank everyone enough for their great work, both here at the track and in Brackley and Brixworth, and also for the continued support from Daimler in Stuttgart and PETRONAS in Kuala Lumpur and Turin. None of this would have been possible without their contributions and without the hard work and the passion of everyone on the team. I had a conversation with Lewis on Sunday night in Mexico; he had just won his fifth world championship, but both of us were not fully satisfied - because our objective was to win both titles. Thats why he was fighting so hard today because he wanted to finish this on a high, win the race and win the constructors championship for the team. Valtteri had a trickier season than Lewis, but he has improved his performance this year and played a vital role for this championship success. Five consecutive titles - Im immensely proud of this amazing achievement. 
 
James Allison 
This is an amazing, amazing group of people built up over many years. The skill and the dedication in a sport that is famously complicated - to get all those ducks lined up in a row, not just once or twice but season after season - is just incredible. What was difficult about this season is that the opposition were that quick. We came to the races not knowing if we were going to win, not having any idea whether they were going to smash us. It ebbed and flowed all through the year. We thought we had them punched down so many times - only for them to bounce back up and give us a really tough time, and its still happening now. The fact that this year has been so desperately close shows that the difference between the teams is utterly tiny - and it was Lewis who made the difference for us this year. He keeps putting it on pole, in the races we can make mistakes and hell recover it by doing something unlikely on the track that no-one sees coming and hes spent the whole year not making mistakes. Hes just the consummate racing driver. Were very lucky with the driver partnership that we have. Valtteri had a lot of bad luck at the start of the year when he might have had some race wins and has not had the same success that Lewis has had. Valtteri has been stronger this year than he was last year, hes been a brilliant team-mate to us all and a huge asset.
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