The UAE champion Sheikh Khalid Al Qassimi slipped by a spot into fourth place, but remained within striking distance of a podium finish at the end of SS04 "ADNOC" of the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge on Wednesday. Co-driven by Frenchman Xavier Panseri, their Peugeot 3008 DKR came in fifth after 244.49 kilometers in the deep quarters of the Al Dhafra desert.
"Nothing is lost for us at this moment. We are focused and we will not spare any effort to restore the third place during the final stage on Thursday," Sheikh Khalid said. "I was behind Przygonski (X-raid Mini) and was driving at his speed, but we got stuck at the top of one of the sand dunes. The car stopped and it took us about eight minutes to free it from the sand. We continued the rally until we reached another dune that was difficult to deal with and we sank again for about a minute and a half," Sheikh Khalid recounted.
"The Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge requires a combination of elements in addition to some good luck. We have the speed and the means to defend our title, but we were exposed to problems this year. Some of them were mechanical, navigational and we got stuck in the sand yesterday (Tuesday) three times and today (Wednesday) on two occasions. We lost a big chunk of precious time but this is the nature of the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge," he noted.
"The driver with the least problems is the most successful, and Prokop (Ford F150 Proto) was the most successful. The lead during the stages was exchanged between me and the drivers competing for the first three positions but each of us was exposed to a different problem," Sheikh Khalid added.
Cars Stage Provisional positions SS04 ADNOC Stage
01) Prokop / Pabiska (CZE/CZE) I Ford F-150 Evo I 03:29:55 I 00:00:00
02) Despres / Ravussin (FRA/CHE) I SMG 2Wheels Buggy I 03:30:26 I 00:00:31
03) Vasilyev / Zhiltsov (RUS/RUS) I X-raid Mini I 03:32:24 I 00:02:29
04) Przygonski / Colsoul (POL/BEL) I X-raid Mini I 03:36:35 I 00:06:40
05) Al Qassimi / Panseri (ARE/FRA) I Peugeot 3008 DKR I 03:37:21 I 00:07:26
06) Alphand / Schulz (FRA/DEU) I X-raid Mini Buggy I 03:45:00 I 00:15:05
07) Alferaihi / Alsanad (SAU/SAU) I Nissan Patrol Pickup I 04:04:27 I 00:34:32
08) Schott / Fiuza (DEU/POR) I X-raid Mini I 04:22:25 I 00:45:51
09) Bell / McMurren (ARE/ARE) I Red-Lined Nissan I 04:27:25 I 00:57:30
10) Rosenberger / Bleicher (AUT/DEU) I X-raid Mini I 04:28:49 I 00:58:54
Cars Overall Provisional positions after SS04 ADNOC Stage
01) Prokop / Pabiska (CZE/CZE) I Ford F-150 Evo I 14:31:07 I 00:00:00
02) Przygonski / Colsoul (POL/BEL) I X-raid Mini I 14:46:28 I 00:15:20
03) Vasilyev / Zhiltsov (RUS/RUS) I X-raid Mini I 15:20:07 I 00:48:59
04) Al Qassimi / Panseri (ARE/FRA) I Peugeot 3008 DKR I 15:24:28 I 00:53:20
05) Despres / Ravussin (FRA/CHE) I SMG 2Wheels Buggy I 16:09:18 I 01:38:10
06) Schott / Fiuza (DEU/POR) I X-raid Mini I 17:28:14 I 02:57:06
07) Alferaihi / Alsanad (SAU/SAU) I Nissan Patrol Pickup I 17:51:39 I 03:20:31
08) Rosenberger / Bleicher (AUT/DEU) I X-raid Mini I 19:20:10 I 04:49:02
09) Al Shegawi / Lichtleuchter (SAU/FRA) I Nissan Patrol I 19:42:25 I 05:11:17
10) Abdulla / Al Kuwari (QAT/QAT) I Nissan Patrol T2 I 20:39:57 I 06:08:49
Photos: Abu Dhabi Racing
ABU DHABI DESERT CHALLENGE
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