Dakar: Sheikh Khalid Al Qassimi and co-driver Xavier Panseri end Dakar campaign in 6th overall
CORDOBA (ARGENTINA): Abu Dhabi Racing and Peugeot Middle East official driver Sheikh Khalid bin Faisal Al Qassimi, behind the wheel of a Peugeot 3008 DKR Maxi with Xavier Panseri as co-driver, completed the final Cordoba-Cordoba loop in 10th to ultimately classify in 6th overall following a gruelling 14-day campaign of the 2018 edition of the Dakar Rally.
The Cordoba-Cordoba loop ran over a total distance of 286km with 166km comprising of the liaison section and the remainder 120km making up the special stage.
The final day saw the curtains come down on one of the biggest off-road adventures in the world where the best of the best vie for top honours over 14 days of racing in some of the most demanding and often unpredictable conditions.
It was a satisfying and successful end to a campaign that saw fluctuating fortunes for the Abu Dhabi Racing driver, including a broken suspension on the penultimate stage and negotiating through terrain ranging from sand dunes, loose soil and vegetation – not to mention being stranded in swelling river waters following an incessant downpour on Day 7.
When he began his campaign on January 6, Sheikh Khalid’s primary goal was to just complete the endurance and gain as much of experience as possible. But finishing inside the top 10 with a sixth overall classification is a huge achievement for the Abu Dhabi Racing driver.
Having achieved such an excellent result in just his second Dakar campaign, after retiring on Stage 13 last year due to technical issues, Sheikh Khalid today is understandably elated and said: “I was not pushing on the final stage because we wanted to bring the car home safely.
“I am happy to have finished the Dakar this year. All along I was dreaming of finishing inside the top 15, and here I am in 6th place overall!
“Even though I enjoyed myself a lot, it was not an easy adventure, the route was very challenging. Importantly, our times were in the top five at most of the waypoints on stages.
“Everyone in the team did a great job; I would like to thank each and everyone on the team for the hard work that they have put in which has gone a long way in producing this result.
“I also would like to congratulate Peugeot Sport on winning the Dakar with Carlos Sainz, amazing performance indeed. and now the matador has 2 Dakar titles under his belt (2010 and 2018).”
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 fulfil 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.