Abu Dhabi-Citroen launch teams for world rally
Amman, December 6, 2012
A new three-year partnership between Abu Dhabi and nine-time World Rally Championship (WRC) winning manufacturer Citroën Racing will launch two teams for the next WRC’s opening round in Monte Carlo, running January 18 to 20.
The newly-created Abu Dhabi Racing (ADR), an Abu Dhabi-based company working on a number of expansive professional and grassroots motorsport initiatives, will see the two full-works manufacturer teams, Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team and the Abu Dhabi Total Citroën World Rally Team participate in the WRC.
Both teams and all registered drivers in the new Citroën -Abu Dhabi stable will be eligible to score manufacturers’ points.
“In Abu Dhabi, we have a long-term partner that will preserve Citroën’s position at the summit of global rallying,” said Yves Matton, director of Citroën Racing and team principal of Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team.
“Over the last decade, the team has enjoyed monumental success. Vitally, we now have a formidable partner that shares our ambition to continue setting the pace in the WRC and international off-road motorsport.”
As part of the agreement, the UAE’s most successful international rally driver in terms of WRC points, Sheikh Khalid All Qassimi is back in the WRC next year. Al Qassimi will contest eight WRC rounds for Abu Dhabi Total Citroën World Rally Teamin the all-new Abu Dhabi-branded DS3 WRC, which was unveiled today (December 6) at the team’s international launch at Monte Carlo Beach Club Saadiyat, Abu Dhabi.
On WRC rounds where nine-time world champion, Sebastien Loeb, is participating, the legendary Frenchman will drive for Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team alongside Finland’s Mikko Hirvonen, with Spain’s Dani Sordojoining Al Qassimi in the Abu Dhabi Total Citroën World Rally Team.
Additionally, the all-new Abu Dhabi Total Citroën World Rally Team will contest the 2013 Middle East Rally Championship (MERC) – the first-time in history a full WRC works team has participated in the region’s premier off-road motorsport series – with Al Qassimi scheduled to complete the series’ entire calendar.
“It also begins a long-term relationship that we hope will foster increased Emirati participation in various global motorsport series - including off-road and circuit-based disciplines. We could not have partnered a more professional and ambitious manufacturer than Citroën,” said Al Qassimi, who counts 45 WRC starts to his name and is also ADR Chairman.
As part of the ADR-Citroën Racing agreement, TCA Abu Dhabi will undertake as many as five on-the-ground destination promotions in key source markets where WRC rounds take place.
“Abu Dhabi has a well-documented history in the WRC – a global motorsport series which has helped position the emirate in front of millions of international spectators and television viewers,” said Faisal Al Sheikh, events manager, TCA Abu Dhabi.
“The benefits to the destination are tremendous and the emirate’s WRC adventure with the great champions of Citroën will significantly enhance Abu Dhabi’s footprint in the international motorsport arena.”
In addition to the high-profile WRC alliance, Citroën has committed to provide a dedicated works car for Al Qassimi’s MERC campaign and two additional R3MERC cars for ADR’s grassroots initiatives in domestic and regional rally series. The quartet of lower-spec R3s will feature Yas Marina Circuit and ADR branding. – TradeArabia News Service
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