Qassimi is happy by driving 'faster than last year'

Sheikh Khalid al Qassimi says he is content with his day's work at the Rally Finland.

Sheikh Khalid al Qassimi is 11mins 29secs behind his leading teammate Mikko Hirvonen.
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JYVASKYLA, FINLAND // Sheikh Khalid al Qassimi said he was content with his day's work at the Rally Finland yesterday as he finished the day in 10th place. The BP Ford Abu Dhabi driver has found life tough on the gravel roads having not driven for more than a month prior to the event, but he said he was matching his pre-rally objectives of improving his confidence and speed while bettering his previous performances in Finland. "I am pleased with how I performed yesterday and have gained the extra confidence to push harder during today's stages," said the Emirati driver.

"Our results during day one mean I can push myself to lift my pace. So far we have been faster in the stages than we were last year, and I definitely have more to give." A fifth points finish of the year looks unlikely for Qassimi as it will need major dramas from his rivals ahead of him if he is to get in to the top eight placings, with the UAE driver 11mins 29secs behind the rally leader, Mikko Hirvonen.

Meanwhile, the Abu Dhabi Junior drivers competing in the Fiesta Sporting Trophy International had a tough day as all three men competing found problems. Ahmed al Manssori, who had started the day in fifth, remained in that spot after stage 16 yesterday, but had a lucky escape when he rolled his Ford Fiesta on stage 13. The incident caused damage to his brakes, but he was able to continue in the points placings.

Bader al Jabri was not so fortunate as he was forced to retire from sixth place on stage 12 after hitting a rock, while Majed al Shamshi was also forced out after he suffered damage following a mistake on stage 16. Both will compete today with time penalties under the Super Rally rules for the final four stages of the event.