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GP Week : Issue 171
A bu Dhabi’s impending return to the world rally championship scene, this time as the new commercial partner with the 2013 Citroen team, was a surprise for many, given Citroen’s recent successful association with Red Bull and their work with authorities in Qatar. The surprise was greater because Abu Dhabi had faded away from the WRC scene at the end of 2011, at the end of their high profile activities alongside the old WRC Promoter North One Sport and the official Ford championship team and also when their plans to host a world championship rally failed. Now a lot of things have changed in Abu Dhabi so far as rally sport is concerned. And Abu Dhabi’s return has brought back an old friend into the sport, Sheikh Khalid bin Faisal bin Sultan Al Qassimi. Khalid had been active in top level rallying for 10 years, his greatest success being the FIA Middle East Rally Championship title in 2004. He is now holding a far wider position beyond that as a driver, most relevantly as the Chairman of Abu Dhabi Racing, the king pin in Abu Dhabi’s rallying resurgence. KAQ: Abu Dhabi Racing is a new company, responsible for all the Abu Dhabi international deals in rallying, circuit racing or any other projects linked to motorsport and youth programmes. One of the best and most important deals to happen is that between Citroen and Abu Dhabi Racing. It is a completely different situation to what we have had in recent years and has been formed in a better way. Beforehand, the work in rallying was very good for Abu Dhabi as general promotion as a destination brand but we are now sponsors in a more specific way. Abu Dhabi Racing will be responsible for all things related to promotion through motorsport. RALLY >>> INSIGHT ABU DHABI IS BACK! Abu Dhabi is back in world rallying. MARTIN HOLMES talks to Khalid Al Qassimi about the Middle Eastern nation’s return to the world stage