In collaboration with Abu Dhabi Racing, Yas Motor Racing Club Abu Dhabi Rally will start on Thursday, 16th of October, at Yas Marina Circuit with a spectator stage. The Rally will be a highly competitive event featuring some of the top drivers from UAE, Qatar and Lebanon. So, who are the drivers to watch out for?
Sheikh Khalid bin Faisal Al Qassimi and his co-driver Chris Patterson in their DS3 RRC were one of the first to register for the event and are one of the hot favorites to clinch the Abu Dhabi Rally title.
Sheikh Khalid, the Chairman of Abu Dhabi Racing, has also ensured that the Abu Dhabi Racing youth drivers Mohamed Al Motawaa, Mohammed Al Sahlawi, Mansoor Belhelei, Saeed Bintouq, and Juma Al Falasi will be participating in the 2WD Citroën DS3 R3. Al Qassimi said that the Abu Dhabi Rally would enhance the Middle East Rally Championship calendar.
Al Qassimi came into the spotlight in 2002 when he won the Group N title in the Middle East Rally Championship. Ever since then Sheikh Khalid has gone from strength to strength, currently 2nd in the MERC table he is also participating in a selected World Rally Championship rounds with Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team.
Sheikh Abdullah bin Faisal Al Qassimi, Sheikh Khalid’s elder brother, along with his co-driver Steve Lancaster has also confirmed his participation in the Ford Fiesta RRC. Sheikh Abdullah will be a serious contender for the AD Rally title having won the UAE title in 1993, 1998, 1999, 2001, 2008, and 2010. He also won the MERC Group N title in 1998, 2000, and 2003.
Abu Dhabi rally is expected to see hot competition from the Qatari champ AbdulAziz Al Kuwari who had a 2 year winning streak in the Qatar National Rally between 2010 and 2012. Al Kuwari had a successful year last year in the World Rally Competition (WRC2), winning in Argentina, Mexico, and Australia and reaching the podium in 2nd place in Rally Italia Sardegna and 3rd place in Rally Greece in WRC2 class.
Abu Dhabi Rally 2014 consists of nine stages kicking off with an asphalt stage (3.51Km) at Yas Marina Circuit on Thursday, October 16th to be held after the ceremonial opening of the rally at 0:800pm sharp. The spectator stage to be held on the North Handling Circuit at Yas, the most advanced and sophisticated Formula One circuit in the world, where each driver will have two attempts at recording his fastest time. Access to the stands will be free of charge and it is anticipated that large numbers of the public will show up for the exhibition phase of the competition on the first day.
The second day, (Friday 17th October) will consist of eight special stages that will be held on gravel roads. The first stage is Ghantoot (18.7 km), the second is Al Jarf 20.55 km, the third stage is Al Maha 12.7 kilometers, and then Al Taweelah stage 21.1 km. The competitors will go back to the Service Park at the Rally headquarters at Yas Marina Circuit, after the first loop and then resume with the 2nd loop at the same stages.