15 Jan 08
After a busy rallying programme in 2007, when he tackled the Middle East Rally Championship and four WRC events, Sheikh Khalid Al Qassimi will contest ten rounds of the WRC in 2008 with the BP Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team.
Al Qassimi was a front runner in the 2007 FIA Middle East Rally Championship (MERC), but lost the overall title on a tie-break with Nasser Al Attiyah. For 2008, however, his focus is on an expanded WRC programme.
“I can’t wait to start my first full WRC season in the new Abu Dhabi-branded car,” said Al Qassimi. “It looks fantastic and is faster and lighter than the model I drove last year.
“There are a lot of tarmac events on the calendar this year, and starting the season with Monte Carlo and then Sweden - both with plenty of snow and ice expected - is obviously a little different to what I’m used to in Abu Dhabi and the MERC.
“I’m especially looking forward to Jordan - which I won in the MERC last year - as I’ll be able to test myself against the world’s best drivers on familiar terrain. Then we move to Sardinia and Greece, where better weather will hopefully help me maintain high speeds."
Aiding Al Qassimi in tackling more WRC events this year will be the experienced co-driver, Michael Orr, who partnered Stobart Ford driver Matthew Wilson in 2006 and 2007.
“With Michael - a hugely experienced navigator - in the cockpit with me, I’m really optimistic about the season ahead. His knowledge will be vital in helping me approach new rallies and surfaces with the confidence to go all out,” said Al Qassimi.