MERC: Sheikh Khalid Al Qassimi wins Dubai International Rally
Dubai, 21 November 2015 – After achieving a comfortable lead on day one, Sheikh Khalid bin Faisal Al Qassimi and Co-driver Chris Patterson decided to keep a steady pace and maintain the lead until the chequered flag at the end of the Dubai International Rally.
Al Qassimi’s strategy on the final day payed off and he won the home event with a lead of 57 sec. over 2nd place finisher AbdulAziz Al Kuwari while 3rd place went to Khalid Al Suwaidi.
Day one consisted of 3 special stages repeated twice (Ekhaidir 15.6Km, Kadra 22.3Km and Mileiha 16.5Km) Al Qassimi took no chances throughout the day, driving on hard tires with 2 spares in the back of the car, “My initial strategy was to push hard till the end but after achieving a comfortable lead on day one we changed our strategy from full attack to balanced pace to defend our lead.” Al Qassimi said.
“Today we used hard tires that have low grip but longer durability which paid off because the some of the stages were very rough particularly SS8 and we were surprised by a motorbike coming onto the stage from the farms. Everything went well and I’m really happy to win my home Rally.
“I would like to dedicate this win to His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan President of the UAE, and to His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces. Also I would like say a huge thank you to the team and technical crew.”
Al Mutawaa won 2WD class, while Belhelei and Bintouq fought till the end for 2nd place.
In the 2WD class, the ADR junior drivers finished inside the top 10. Mohamed Al Mutawaa/Stephen McAuley won the event posting some impressive times, some even faster than the group N cars! The 2nd place was constantly changing between Saeed Bintowq/Allan Harryman and Mansour Belhelei/Khalid Al Kendi. Eventually, it was Belhelei who had the final word taking P2 and his teammate Bintouq taking P3. Al Kendi said: “It was a good battle between us and Seed Bintowq, we had an issue with the engine lacking power so we had to push extra hard in corners in order to gain some seconds.”
Provisional Overall Classification
1SHK AL QASSIMI K. 1:58:41.5
2AL KUWARI A. 1:59:38.5 +57.0
3AL SUWAIDI K. 2:03:19.1 +4:37.6
4SHK AL QASSIMI A. 2:04:43.1 +6:01.6
5AL KETBI R. 2:04:57.2 +6:15.7
6AL MUTAWAA M 2:17:58.0 +19:44.3
7NASSAR N. 2:18:05.8
8BEL HELEI M. 2:21:52.4 +23:10.9
9BIN TOWQ S. 2:22:09.5 +23:28.0
10SHK AL QASSIMI M. 2:27:33.9 +28:52.4