21 Apr 08
Khalid Al Qassimi returns to the BP-Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally team for the Jordan Rally with the advantage of being the only leading WRC driver with previous competitive experience of the event.
Much of Al Qassimi’s background is in the FIA Middle East Rally Championship and he won the Jordan Rally in 2007 when it was a candidate round for the WRC.
This year he and co-driver Michael Orr will tackle the rally in a Ford Focus RS WRC alongside team-mates Mikko Hirvonen and Jari-Matti Latvala at the BP-Ford team.
Jordan marks the pair’s first outing since February's Swedish Rally and Al Qassimi's first gravel event since Rally Finland in August.
"I've competed here six or seven times but the desert stages on which we used to drive have been replaced by new roads," said 36-year-old Al Qassimi. "This year about 40 per cent of the stages are different from 2007. The roads are so smooth it's like driving on asphalt - only the brown colour tells you they are not. I won last year by only pushing at 50 per cent and that's the pace at which I will start this year. If I feel good after the first couple of stages, then I will try to push harder. This is my first rally on Pirelli's new gravel tyre so I will need some time to learn about it.