(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) Khalid al qasimi started saturday?s stages from 16th overall
Skydive dubai rally team’s rashid al ketbi in action during the portugal rally. — supplied photo
Skydive dubai rally team driver rashid al ketbi and german co-driver karina hepperle settled into a solid rhythm and were well-placed to mount a late challenge for wrc 2 honours after eight demanding special stages of the 2014 vodafone rally of portugal on saturday.
“the plan has worked so far and that was to start carefully feel our way back into the car and make no mistakes” said al ketbi who maintained a position just outside the top 10 in wrc 2 after ss8 and beat close rivals martin kangur and subhan aksa.
“i didn’t take any risks on those early stages. we had a wet set-up after all the heavy rain in the build up the rally and when the surfaces began to dry we lost a lot of time. we managed to change the set-up again and then we lost the brakes and i had to drive the last three stages on friday night with brake and gear issues.”
Finland’s mikko hirvonen had begun saturday’s two loops of three stages with an overall lead of 3.7 seconds over estonian ott tanak with wrc champion sebastien ogier in third overall. khalid al qasimi started saturday’s stages from 16th overall.
Polish star robert kubica had hit a tree and ripped a wheel off his car elfyn evans rolled his ford fiesta heavily kris meeke retired after an accident and jari-matti latvala also crashed and continued.
Ogier was a mere 0.2 seconds quicker than hirvonen through the eighth stage on saturday and the finn retained a lead of 4.4 seconds from tanak with ogier in third. abu dhabi’s khalid al qasimi maintained 16th.
By the start of saturday’s six special stages jari ketomaa had snatched a 4.7 second lead off nasser saleh al attiyah in wrc 2. fellow qatari abdulaziz al kuwari was seventh al ketbi had settled into 14th position and kuwait’s salah bin eidan was 19th.
Ketomaa extended his advantage to 6.1 seconds through stage eight as al attiyah maintained a comfortable second overall from sweden’s pontus tidemand. the event reaches a conclusion at the algarve stadium on sunday afternoon after a total of 16 timed tests.