DUBAI // Having finished seventh in his home event at the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge last week, Sheikh Khalid Al Qassimi will be back behind the wheel of his Abu Dhabi Total World Rally Team when the World Rally Championship returns to Europe next month.

Sheikh Khalid will be driving one of three Abu Dhabi Total WRT cars, alongside co-driver Chris Patterson, that will take part in Rally Portugal from May 19-22. Kris Meeke and Stephane Lefebvre in the other two cars.

Sheikh Khalid, the chairman of Abu Dhabi Racing, however, will not compete on the gravel stages of Rally Poland six weeks later, with Abu Dhabi Total WRT sending only two cars for the July 1-3 event.

The Abu Dhabi WRT team had taken part in the opening two rounds of the season, Rally Monte-Carlo and Rally Sweden, but decided to miss the next two rounds in the American leg of the championship in Mexico and Argentina.

Of his late dramas in the Desert Challenge, where Sheikh Khalid suffered gearbox problems, he said: “We lost gears 2, 3, 5 and 6. So we were driving on just two gears. But despite this we made it and finished the Challenge; happy to finish.”

Meanwhile, motorsports in the UAE packed the Yas Marina Circuit last weekend to watch the Drift AllStars in action.

Ten international drifters as well as some of the best drifters from across the Middle East battled for top honours in the Abu Dhabi Drift GP, the opening round of the 2016 Drift AllStars GP Series.

The UK’s Steve Biagoni tookfirst place, edging Jordan’s Ahmad Daham in the final. Daham, who defeated Drift AllStars stalwart Nigel Colfer in the semis, put up a strong fight in the final, though his Nissan was only running on five of six cylinders.

Among the Emiratis, reigning UAE champion Ahmed Alamri was forced out when his GT86 caught fire due to a mechanical fault during his battle with Abdulhadi Alqatani.

Sheikh Sultan Al Qassimi, the leading Emirati driver, looked strong as he marched through the top 16, reaching fifth place before his loss to Fredrik Oksnevad.

“The first round of the 2016 Drift AllStars GP Series here at Yas Marina Circuit has truly been a success,” said Faisal Al Sahlawi, the head of the Yas Marina Circuit Retail Development.

“We have witnessed an exhilarating evening of drifting with great talent on show from both the international and GCC competitors.”

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Source: Sports