ABU DHABI: Five Emirati drivers are hoping to kick-start their FIA Middle East Rally Championship campaigns at this weekend’s Qatar International Rally by mirroring the all-conquering regional exploits by the UAE national football team in the Gulf Cup of Nations.
With Sheikh Khalid Al Qassimi, the 2004 regional champion, spearheading the Abu Dhabi Racing effort in the main regional series, Majed Al Shamsi and Bader Al Jabri hope to make their mark in the re-introduced Group N category, while Mohammed Al Mutawaa and Mohammed Al-Sahlawi are in action in the brand-new two-wheel drive category.
Jabri summed up the young drivers’ mood in the wake of the UAE’s Gulf Cup victory. “It was a fantastic achievement by our footballers, and we want to build on that with strong performances in Qatar to keep the spotlight on our country’s achievements.”
Products of Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority’s Junior Driver Training Programme, which was established five years ago to create opportunities for Emirati drivers to experience rallying at all levels, Jabri and Shamsi have extensive experience.