posted on 25/06/2012: 562 views
The Skydive Dubai Rally Team duo of Rashid Al Ketbi and Khalid Al Kendi let slip a potential top-10 finish in what was otherwise a remarkable final day of the Geko Ypres Rally, round six of the Intercontinental Rally Championship (IRC), in Belgium.
The pair eventually finished 15th overall as Juho Hänninen emerged the victor with Freddy Loix and Pieter Tsjoen placing second and third respectively.
A stunning fightback first saw the Dubai-based team climb nine positions from 32 to 23 at the end of leg one on Friday and then fly through nine of the remaining 11 special stages yesterday for 13th overall going into the final 42km over two special stages.
They stuttered at the end but the result, however, is commendable given that Rashid and Khalid had never tackled the Ypres course before, this being their debut IRC campaign.
Rashid's sense of urgency to join the pack in front was evident on the last stage of day one on Friday when he stepped on the gas to record an average speed of 104.30kmp against 95kmp the previous five stages.
Resuming in 23rd overnight, Rashid mixed caution with aggression to close out the first stage yesterday morning in 20th and for 19th overall.
Apparently encouraged by the progress he had made, despite continuing wet and slippery conditions, the Skydive Dubai driver once again touched the pedal to the floor on special stage eight, flying at an average speed of 102.82kmp and climbing to 17th overall.
Rashid then briefly climbed to 16th on the following stage going into the first of three service breaks for the day. The four stages between the first and second service break saw Rashid once again adopt a cautious approach which saw him maintain a steady 17th overall going into special stage 14 and the penultimate section of the day.
Ahead of Ypres, Rashid had told Sport360° he would aim to break into the top-10 and go for the points and, perhaps, this was playing on his mind when he began tackling the penultimate 53.95km stretch.
Maintaining an average speed of 104kmp, Rashid's Skoda S2000 ate up the kilometres to first climb to 16th, then to 15th and 13th overall going into the final service break.
With just two stages to go, Rashid slowed down, averaging 95kmp, finishing stage 17 two places down. Finally, the Dubai driver did not want to risk his position further and ended the campaign in 15th. – Sport 360°
|20 May 2013||Jumeirah partners with Aston Martin|
|16 May 2013||Dubai Falcons aim to dethrone CG Racing|
|14 May 2013||F1 champions of a different kind|
|09 May 2013||Abu Dhabi prepares for Monster Jam|
|07 May 2013||Emirati duo set for stern test in Jordan|