Seven weeks after securing a podium finish in Mexico, the Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team returned to action.
The three DS 3 WRCs driven by Kris Meeke/Paul Nagle, Mads Ostberg/Jonas Anderson and Khalid Al Qassimi/Chris Patterson took part in the Rally Argentina shakedown.
During this final test session before the start, Kris Meeke set the joint fastest time along with Sébastien Ogier: “It’s good to be back in the car. The shakedown went very well.
"The roads were pretty slippery on the first pass, the road surface was very dry, but it was better after that.
"The DS 3 WRC is working perfectly. We worked on the set-up so that the car is as balanced as possible on the most difficult stages. Some of the tests are very rough.”
Fourth fastest, Mads Ostberg is expecting a very tough event: “Each year, the roads at Rally Argentina have a number of hidden pitfalls.
"But this time round, they look pretty daunting. It’ll be difficult for the cars and for the crews.
"The lines have been cut deep into the roads by the heavy rainfall. We’ll have to find the right pace and try to maintain it. It will be tricky to get the balance right.”
On his competitive return in the DS 3 WRC, Sheikh Khalid Al Qassimi completed a series of runs in order to regain his bearings.
In the Middle East Rally Championship, he drives a DS 3 RRC: “I have to learn about everything. The handling is different, the engine is different and the transmission is different with the steering wheel-mounted gearshift paddles."
"So I am adapting my driving style. I’ll need to do 300 or 400 kilometres in order to feel comfortable. I’m going to gradually build momentum on this difficult rally.”
Rally Argentina gets underway today afternoon with a super special stage held at 7pm (local time, 2am UAE time) in San Luis.
The season finale of Yas Super Street Challenge attracted large crowds at Yas Marina Circuit as more than 50 drivers battled it out on the circuit’s purpose-built drag strip.
In what has been a hugely successful first season for Yas Super Street Challenge both driver and spectator numbers have gradually grown as popularity for this amateur racing series has increased with each passing round.
In the fourth and final round, the coveted title ‘King of the Street’ was won by Hisham Ibrahim from Jordan after accruing the highest points tally over the course of the series. This title brought him an extra 10,000 AED prize, in addition to the prize money won in his individual category.
Throughout Thursday and Friday, more than 50 drivers from the UAE lined up in their own cars to compete across five distinct categories – ‘4×4 Super Street SUV’; ‘Index 11.5’; ‘Index 10.5’; ‘Super Street’ and ‘Super Street – Open Category’ – on the circuit’s purpose-built drag racing strip.
— Yas Marina Circuit (@ymcofficial) April 17, 2015
During each of the four rounds in the series, cash prizes for first (15,000 AED), second (10,000 AED) and third place (5,000 AED) were presented to the top three racers in each category.
The two-day programme of qualifying and races produced some superb edge-of-the-seat action, and spectators were treated to the smell of burning rubber and the roar of engines that only this raw and exciting form of motor racing can produce.
After a day of tightly fought competition, the ‘Super Street Open Category’ was won by Waleed Ahmed, who walked off with the top prize of 15,000 AED. He pipped Saeed Ali Saeed into second place and the 10,000 AED purse, with Ali Al Sulaimi claiming third place and 5,000 AED cash.
The category of ‘Super Street’ was also closely contested, but Mohamed Al Lawghani clinched first place, with second and third place awarded to Ala Mohammad Al Hammouri and Hisham Ibrahim, respectively.
The precision challenge demanded by the ‘Index 10.5’ category saw Mahmoud Al Attaredge beat Abdullah Bin Jarn to win, with Khalifa Salem following closely in third, and the ‘Index 11.5’ category top prize was awarded to Waleed Al Yafaie with Adel Ghanem and Marei Al Khatheeri claiming second and third.
The final category, proving very popular with the fans, was the ‘4×4 Super Street SUV’ category. Mohammed Al Mashgouni beat all comers to finish first, as Sultan Al Rumaithi and Saif Al Kaabi’s run timings placed them in second and third.
Following a successful debut season last year in the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC), the Abu Dhabi-Proton Racing team, led by Khaled Al Qubaisi, qualified in third place for the season-opener at Silverstone in Great Britain on Sunday afternoon.
The team, comprising of Al Qubaisi, Christian Reid and Klaus Bachler, are back behind the wheel of a Porsche 911 RSR in which they were classified third overall in the LMGTE Am class.
On Saturday, Abu Dhabi-Proton Racing first finished 5th in the third and final Free Practice session with Al Qubaisi clocking a best time of 2 minutes 18.701 seconds before qualifying in third place for Sunday’s 6 Hours of Silverstone, which will run from 15:00 to 21:00 UAE time.
The team set a best lap time of 2 minutes 01.125 seconds in qualifying.
On Friday, the team scorched the track at Silverstone in Free Practice 1, with rapid young Austrian Bachler setting a best time of two 2 minutes and 02.350 seconds in class but were marginally slower in Free Practice 2, setting a time of 2 minutes 03.525 seconds.
However, there were encouraging signs that their Porsche 911 RSR is responding well, doing 31, 32 and 20 laps during the three Free Practices respectively.
Al Qubaisi said: “We qualified in third in class today which is the best qualifying result that we have achieved compared with our debut season last year.
“It is a good place to be in for the start of the race on Sunday. The car responded well over the last couple of days, so the signs are good for the actual race.
“Like I said, we are in a good position and of course we will push over the course of the six hours on Sunday. The goal is to be on the podium and hopefully we will achieve that objective come the end of race Sunday evening.”
Last season the team was classified 3rd overall in the LM GTE Am class.