Abu Dhabi: Shaikh Khalid Al Qasimi arrived at Karlstad Airport in Sweden amidst rough weather and heavy snowfall in preparation for his first participation in the World Rally Championship 2014.
The UAE driver is no stranger to Rally Sweden and has previously competed in a number of rallies, the best of which was in 2008 where he achieved the longest jump and claimed the ‘Colin Crest’ Trophy.
“The runs we made today on board the Citroen Total Abu Dhabi were pretty successful, considering it is the first time I’ve driven the DS3 WRC since Rally Spain last year,” Shaikh Khalid said. “The tryouts were successful in terms of coordination between me and my new co-driver, the renowned Chris Patterson. I am pretty content with our mutual coordination, which we hope will translate into notable results throughout the stages of the rally.”
Patterson said: “The testing sessions were excellent and I am very proud to sit alongside Shaikh Khalid this season; things are going as planned in terms of the car and settings. For me, the rally is my passion and I feel glad and privileged to have this opportunity with Citroen Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team as it is without doubt the best team in the world with its highly experienced crew.”
Shaikh Khalid believes that Rally Sweden provides a unique set of challenges in the championship.
“Firstly, all the special stages of the rally are covered with snow, and this requires equipping the cars with spiked tyres (384 Spiked Nails) in order to attain maximum grip during all the rally stages, coupled with extreme thoughtfulness to curving, braking, and maneuvering tricky flat-outs, where even the slightest error from either driver or co-driver could result in dire consequences and the loss of precious seconds, or even minutes,” he said.
“Adding to the pinnacle of the iceberg we’re out to conquer with each stage of the rally and it’s unique driving method, we — drivers, co-drivers and crew — face an enormous sum of gruelling hardships due to the extremely low temperatures, where a driver’s focus can dwindle due to the cold, and so could the co-driver’s. But we have Citroen engineers to thank for providing heat in the cabin without sacrificing the power and performance of the engine.”