MONTE CARLO: Skydive Dubai Rally Team (UAE) driver Rashid Al Ketbi and his German co-driver Karina Hepperle continued their impressive climb back through the field after leaving the road for six minutes on the second stage of the Monte Carlo Rally.
Despite treacherous stage conditions in the Ardeche region of southern France, the Skydive Dubai Rally Team duo had moved up to fourth overall in the WRC2 category of the opening round of the FIA World Rally Championship after 11 special stages on Friday.
They had fallen to the rear of the field after that indiscretion on Wednesday morning, but a resilient Ketbi dug deep and began to press home his challenge, despite the presence of ice and snow on the twisty mountain tarmac stages that make the Monte one of the greatest challenges in world rallying.
German driver Sepp Wiegand led the WRC2 category in his Skoda Fabia S2000 after 11 special stages, the German moving into a 4min 12sec lead over fellow countryman Armin Kremer. Yuriy Protosov was third in his Subaru Impreza.
Defending World Champion Sebastien Loeb led the main event by 1min 34sec from former team-mate Sebastien Ogier after the tricky special stage between Lamastre, Gilhoc and Alboussier and extended his advantage by a further two seconds through SS11.