Khalid Al Qassimi (full name Sheikh Khalid bin Faisal bin Sultan Al Qassimi) is a rally driver from the United Arab Emirates and a member of the royal house of Al Qassimi who rule in the Emirates of Sharjah and Ras Al Khaimah.
Born in 1972, Khalid started his rally career in 2001, participating in the Middle East Rally Championship (MERC). He reached a peak in 2004, becoming the MERC champion. In the same year, he debuted in the World Rally Championship, recorded more than 70 WRC starts since then. He scored WRC points many times, his best result is the fifth place at 2011 Rally Australia.
Khalid Al Qassimi
MERC Production Cars champion in first full season of rallying
After his competitive debut at 2001 Dubai International Rally, driving a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VI, Khalid Al Qassimi entered his first full season in the Middle East Rally Championship in 2002, immediately becoming the Class N (Production Cars) champion. In the overall standings he was third in the points. Next year, with the same car, he was 8th overall and 3rd in the Class N.
Middle East rally champion in 2004
In 2004, Khalid switched to Subaru Impreza WRX STi, with Michael Orr as a new navigator. Al Qassimi won two times and added four more podiums to take Middle East Rally Championship title, beating Nasser Al Attiyah. It was the only time that Al Qassimi beat Al Attiyah. Since then, Al Attiyah captured eleven MERC titles, Al Qassimi was in the second place five times.
Al Qassimi started to run Subaru Impreza in2004, winning the MERC title that year
WRC debut at 2004 Acropolis Rally
In 2004, Khalid Al Qassimi debuted in the World Rally Championship, participating at Acropolis Rally in June. Driving Subaru Impreza WRX STi, he was fourth in Production class. Later in the season, he participated in two more WRC events with the same car, retiring both at Rally of Turkey and Rally Australia.
Khalid had a similar program in 2005 and 2006, participating in the Middle East championship and occasionaly going to WRC events. He was second in the MERC classification in 2005 and third in 2006. Of WRC events, he participated at 2005 Rally Turkey, 2006 Acropolis Rally and 2006 Cyprus Rally. At Cyprus, he was on a podium in Production class, finishing in the third place.
Al Qassimi was driving World Rally Car for the first time in 2007
Driving for BP Ford World Rally Team in 2007
In 2007, Al Qassimi started a season with Subaru Impreza STi N12 in the MERC, along with navigator Nicky Beech. They won two events, what was enough to finish second at the end of the season. In the mid-season, the Abu Dhabi Tourism Board announced sponsorship agreement with BP Ford World Rally Team. A part of the agreement was the third Ford Focus RS WRC 06 for Al Qassimi, alongside factory drivers Mikko Hirvonen and Jari-Matti Latvala.
Al Qassimi debuted in the World Rally Car at Rally Finland, finishing in the 16th place. Later in the season, he contested at Rally Deutschland, Rally Catalunya and Rally Ireland. His best result was 14th position in Spain.
Three seasons with BP Ford Abu Dhabi WRT
For the 2008 WRC season, the team changed its name to BP Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team. Qassimi became the regular third-car driver in the #19 Ford Focus RS WRC 07. His co-driver was Michael Orr again. Al-Qassimi's best result was 9th place at Jordan Rally but he scored no points.
In 2009, Al Qassimi and Orr contested in the #15 Ford Focus RS WRC 08. The WRC point-system had been changed and they managed to score points four times, with sixth place at Acropolis Rally as the best result. At the end of the season, Al Qassimi was 12th in the points. He repeated 12th place in 2010, finishing best at Rally Catalunya, when he was seventh.
Khalid Al Qassimi in 2011
A season with Ford Fiesta RS WRC
In 2011, Khalid Al Qassimi participated in the World Rally Championship under the banner of Team Abu Dhabi, driving the all-new #10 Ford Fiesta RS WRC. That year, he scored his career-best result, finishing in the fifth place at Rally Australia. He scored points two more times, in Jordan and Sweden, finishing in the 14th place at the end of the season.
In 2012, Al Qassimi slowed down his rally activities, participating in two MERC events only.
Driving Citroens since 2013
After one year out of WRC, Al Qassimi returned in 2013, opening a new chapter in his career. Abu Dhabi became a sponsor of the Citroen Total World Rally Team, so Al Qassimi was driving the #10 Citroen DS3 WRC for the factory team. His navigator was Scott Martin. They finished three times in the top 10 (Portugal, Italy-Sardinia, Australia).
In the Middle East Rally Championship, he was driving Citroen DS3 RRC for Abu Dhabi Racing Team, finishing in the second place after scoring four podiums.
Khalid Al Qassimi in 2015
MERC runner-up three times in a row
Al Qassimi had the same schedule in 2014, driving a DS3 WRC in the World championship and DS3 RRC in the Middle East championship, with Chris Patterson as a new co-driver. Al Qassimi was second in the MERC classification again. In the WRC, he scored a single point with 10th-place finish at Rally Italia Sardegna.
In 2015, he was MERC runner-up for the third year in a row, again being beaten by Nasser Al-Attiyah. In the WRC, Khalid finished sixth in Argentina and tenth at Sardinia. He collected nine points to placed himself 13th in the world championship points.
Four WRC events and rally raid debut in 2016
In 2016, Citroen was officialy out of the WRC, while preparing a come-back with 2017-spec C3 WRC. During a season, Al Qassimi and Citroen's factory drivers contested with DS3 WRCs in selected events, not fighting for manufacturers' points. Al Qassimi participated in four WRC events, finishing best in 12th place at Rally Catalunya.
Al Qassimi had a debut in cross-country rallying, participating at Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge as a part of preparations for Dakar Rally. He finished in the sixth place.
Khalid Al Qassimi at 2017 Dakar Rally
2017 - Dakar Rally debut with Peugeot
In January 2017, Al Qassimi debuted at Dakar Rally, driving the #319 Peugeot 2008 DKR for his own team Abu Dhabi Racing. His navigator was Pascal Maimon. They were among the front-runners for most of the even but retired near the end. Al Qassimi continued to run Peugeot in cross-country rallies, entering some events of the FIA World Cup for Cross Country Rallies.
In the 2017 WRC season, Citroen returned to the championship with C3 WRC. Al Qassimi joined the team in the sixth round of the championship, at Rally Portugal in May. Later in the season, he participated in three more WRC events, finishing best in 16th place at Rally Finland.
Al Qassimi's Citroen C3 WRC at 2017 Rally Portugal
2018 - sixth place in the second attempt at Dakar Rally
In January 2018, Al-Qassimi returned to Dakar Rally, driving the #319 Peugeot 3008 DKR prepared by PH-Sport. His navigator was Xavier Panseri. They finished in the sixth place after fourteen exhausting stages.
In the 2018 WRC season, Al-Qassimi participated in four rallies with Citroen factory team, finishing best in the 14th place at Rally Argentina. His deal with Citroen was over ahead of the 2019 WRC season.