Sheikh Khalid Al Qassimi is at ease for Rally Jordan

The Emirati driver will be making his 40th World Rally Championship (WRC) start in this weekend's Rally Jordan.

Sheikh Khalid Al Qassimi knows how challenging the course is in Jordan.
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Sheikh Khalid Al Qassimi will be making his 40th World Rally Championship (WRC) start in this weekend's Rally Jordan.

The Emirati driver has a strong chance of scoring points in his BP Abu Dhabi Ford, as he has tasted victory in Jordan before, in the Middle East Rally Championship (MERC), in 2007.

Armed with almost a decade of experience negotiating Jordan's rocky, man-made gravel tracks, Sheikh Khalid has targeted matching the top 10 finish he secured in the 2008 Dead Sea round's maiden WRC foray.

"I have deep knowledge of these stages, always get a good reception from the local fans and have shown speed and form here in the past," Sheikh Khalid said. "In 2008, I was sitting comfortably in seventh when l suffered two punctured tyres in the final stage that took me out of point-scoring contention. I've been awaiting the next WRC opportunity to tackle this familiar terrain ever since."

The constructed Jordan passes are run 420 metres below sea level and pass numerous historical sites, such as the Jordan River, Mount Nebo and the ancient Roman-built city of Jerash.

Sheikh Khalid said that the man-made nature of the course makes it a tough rally to compete in. "These purpose-built tracks lack the natural contours and usual landmarks, so our pace notes have to be extremely accurate to identify the direction of the paths," he said. "We're ready and are eyeing a strong result."

Rally Jordan is the fourth round of the 13-race WRC championship. After three events, Sheikh Khalid has one point in the drivers' championship after his 10th-place finish in the Swedish season-opener.

Ford Abu Dhabi holds a 10-point lead at the top of the manufacturers' standings, while Mikko Hirvonen, the team's lead driver, also heads the drivers' championship on 58 points - level with Citroen's Sebastien Loeb, the seven-time world champion.