SHEIKH KHALID AL QASSIMI(are)
2017: Ab. Stage 11
2019: Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge (2nd), Dubai International Baja (2nd), Baja Jordan (4th), Abu Dhabi Baja (1st)
2018: Rally Argentina (14th), Rally Finland (37th), Rally Turkey (15th), Rally Catalunya (21st)
2017: Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge (1st), Qatar Cross-Country Rally (4th), FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies 2WD Trophy (1st)
2016: Morocco Rally (6th), Baja Aragon, Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge (7th)
2014: Middle East Rally Championship (2nd)
2004: Middle East Rally Championship (1st)
2002: FIA Middle East Cup for Drivers of Production Cars (1st)
“I'm still a baby in cross-country and Dakar!”
Sheikh Khalid Al Qassimi has been racing for a long time, yet despite some brilliant achievements since turning his hand to rally raid around five years ago, the Emirati still considers himself a beginner in the field. Having grown up in the desert, the 47-year-old used to ride buggies and quads around his father's farm as a boy, before following in his brother's footsteps and taking up rallying. After winning the FIA Middle East Cup in 2002 and being crowned Middle East Rally Champion in 2004, Sheikh Khalid realised he was hungry for more, and began competing in the World Rally Championship (WRC) in 2004. He went on to join the Ford and Citroën factory teams before pulling out in 2018, preferring to switch his focus to rally raid. He got his first taste of cross-country on home soil at the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge, which he would later win in 2017 en route to lifting the 2WD Trophy at the FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies. After a somewhat disappointing Dakar debut with Pascal Maimon in 2017, he stormed to a brilliant sixth place with Xavier Panseri in 2018, in the same Peugeot 3008 DKR Maxi with which Carlos Sainz and Lucas Cruz claimed victory. Having skipped last year's edition in Peru, Sheikh Khalid and Xavier return in the same car for this first edition in the Middle East, where the ambitious Abu Dhabi native will be hoping to make the most of his local knowledge as he sets his sights on the podium. It will be a sixth participation for the experienced French co-driver, who guided Polish driver Krzysztof Holowczyc to third place in 2015. Having helped to establish Abu Dhabi Racing with government support in 2012 -since fulfilling a dual role as both chairman and driver- Sheikh Khalid is also keen to promote his home city in the hope that it may one day welcome the Dakar.
SKAQ: “Yeah it's exciting because the Dakar is coming to the terrain I know, I was born in the desert. I think there will be lots of new changes and lots of surprises, but we're ready. Saudi Arabia has a great history. I've done the Saudi championship, we were in the north part of the country and it's unbelievable. In some sections you feel like you're in Africa, in others you could be in Bolivia or Argentina. I'm really excited and looking forward to the challenge. I decided to try cross-country in 2015. It was quite a new challenge for me, but I thought 'it's not too late, some of the most experienced drivers are much older!' My first car was a Toyota, then a Mini in 2016, and after that I was like 'OK, maybe I want more!' We decided to get Peugeot involved, because we'd been part of the PSA setup in the WRC. I did two or three rallies in different cars, then tried the Peugeot for the first time in Morocco and went to Dakar 2017. Dakar 2018 was fantastic, I really enjoyed it. I don't actually have much experience in cross-country. I've had around 75 WRC starts and over 100 in local and Middle East championships, so that's a lot of rallying, but it's a different discipline. I'm still a baby in cross-country and Dakar! But I've achieved a lot in a short space of time. I've really worked hard, especially last year and this year, since stopping the WRC. I think I'm ready for it. You keep reading the desert more and more and learn other skills. You keep discovering things by driving more in unknown terrains. The first goal is to finish Dakar, because when the team puts in so much hard work and you don't finish, it's really frustrating. But at the back of my mind I would like to be at the top level. We know that navigation is a big thing in Dakar. If there are no mistakes, I'd really like to be on the podium. Everyone has a goal, and I think I can achieve this goal. But it's a long, long event, and you can easily lose minutes and drop positions while someone else is having a great day. Look at Sebastien Loeb last year. He was going for overall victory but had a driveshaft problem which made him lose time and could have forced him to retire altogether.”
ABU DHABI RACING
- Mark : PEUGEOT
- Model : 3008 DKR
- Performance tuner : Abu Dhabi Racing
- Assistance : Abu Dhabi Racing
- Class : T1.4 diesel 2-wheel drive
All news of S. Al qassimi
Al Qassimi rolls his car
Sheikh Khalid Al Qassimi has made a spectacular exit from the rally. As he was entering the neutralised zone with the 8th best time, the Emirati totalled his car by crashing and rolling several times, meaning his Dakar is finished.
Al Qassimi takes the reins
Sheikh Khalid Al Qassimi is stealing the show right now. The Emirati, sixth in the 2018 Dakar, is unleashing the full potential of his 3008 DKR on familiar terrain and has taken advantage of Nasser Al-Attiyah's puncture to wrest the lead from the Qatari after 254 km. 1′11″ behind him lies Vaidotas Žala, another driver who is punching above his weight!
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