Khalid Al Qassimi will be back behind the wheel of the 'third' BP Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team Focus RS WRC car this week in Finland and having finished a career best sixth on the Acropolis last month, he will be going all out to replicate that achievement.
Al Qassimi missed the most recent event in Poland - as it was not one of his nominated events - but he is eager now to put in another solid run. To date this season he has scored points in every single event he has contested - bar just Sardinia - and with four points finishes in the bag he lies twelfth in the 2009 drivers' championship.
Speaking prior to the 1000 Lakes and what will be his third start in Finland, having finished eleventh last year and 16th in 2007, the Abu Dhabi man warned though that it won't be easy.
"Finland will be another great test,” said Al Qassimi, who as normal will be co-driven by Michael Orr. “It's always an incredible experience with some extremely technical stages, and if we can do well it will really show the progress we are making.
“After missing Rally Poland, I can't wait to get back behind the wheel to try to build on the points we won in Greece.
“We will try to rise to the occasion but always remembering that it is a three-day event and consistency will be the key to success."
Meanwhile also competing in Finland will be the 'Abu Dhabi Junior Drivers' in the fourth round of the 2009 Fiesta SportTrophy International. The three drivers, Majed Al Shamsi, Ahmed Al Mansoori and Bader Al Jabri, have looked to Al Qassimi for direction since they joined the Abu Dhabi Junior Driver Development Programme three years ago.
The programme was set up to aid the development of future Emirati champions, and to eventually provide a successor to Al Qassimi. To date the three drivers have shown total dedication to this cause and the sport and currently hold second, third and fourth places in the FSTi.
Rally Poland proved to be a highly successful campaign for all three drivers and aspects of those stages are similar to the lakes and countryside that surrounds the Jyväskylä-based event.
“I was thrilled to finish in second position in Poland and only hope to be able to replicate or better that in Finland,” stated Al Shamsi. “The added benefit for us this week is that we have Khaled to draw inspiration from, and we all hope to prove we have got what it takes to win the FSTi.”