The Emirati driver, who is also the chairman of Abu Dhabi Racing, has set his sights on a podium finish in the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge, which will run from April 2-7, in one of the most challenging terrains for motorsports.
First competition in a diesel car for Sheikh Khalid
Sheikh Khalid will be driving a Mini All4 Racing alongside co-driver Khalid Al Kendi, a car prepared by the famed Germany-based X-raid team. The Mini All4 Racing has won the ADDC four times – 2011, 2013, 2014 and 2015 – but this is Sheikh Khalid’s first event in a diesel car and he talks about the challenges he has faced in the lead-up to his home rally.
Testing the Mini All4 Racing
“The testing went well. All is good. I am just trying to adapt and learn more about the car because testing is one thing and competition is a completely different thing. This is the first time ever that I am driving a diesel car and getting used to the car was a little difficult at the beginning, but the more mileage I put the more comfortable I felt.”
Difference between petrol and diesel engines
“It’s completely different. For example, on a petrol engine, you are seeking the torque or power at 7,000-8,000rpm. In diesel engines, if you try to take the car above 4,000rpm, the car is dead. There is no power. So these are the things that I need to adapt to and that’s what I was trying to do.”
Fine-tuning the set-up
“After the first few runs I changed the set-up a little bit, and the feeling started to become better and better. The good thing during the test was when we got stuck in the sand, it was a very good opportunity to examine and get used to the hydraulic jacks and how to get the car out as fast as possible. I think it was a very good exercise; I hope we don’t face this issue during the rally, but you have to have this kind of experience.”
Fighting for the podium
“We would like to win. This is a reality and we will try to do our best. We are looking forward now to starting the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge and fight for the top position. We will do our best and if we can reach safely, we can air for one of the top places.”
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