NEWS DALL'ESTERO (Francia) - French connection: Abu Dhabi returns to WRC
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Abu Dhabi, one of seven emirates that make up the United Arab Emirates and home of the country’s capital city, has agreed an historic partnership with nine-time World Rally Championship (WRC) winning manufacturer, Citroën Racing, to bolster the emirate’s presence in global motorsport.
The three-year partnership between Citroën Racing and 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 as of next season’s opening round in Monte Carlo, running January 18-20.
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 theall-new Abu Dhabi-branded DS3 WRC, which was unveiled at the team’s international launch at Monte Carlo Beach Club Saadiyat, Abu Dhabi.
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.
With ADR responsible for mining and developing leading domestic talent, the company’s supporting partners will provide strategic assistance across a number of key areas, including infrastructure, equipment, event management, marketing, communications and international promotions. 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.
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.