Sheikh Khalid Al Qassimi and Abu Dhabi Racing talk of the future
Sheikh Khalid Al Qassemi welcomed invited guests to Abu Dhabi Racing’s special event day at Yas Marina Circuit on Thursday. The World Rally Championship driver and Chairman of Abu Dhabi Racing spoke of his team’s vision for the future of motorsport in the UAE. One of the primary targets, through initiatives such as the Daman Speed Academy, is to not only encourage young Emirati’s to get involved with motorsport, but to nurture their talents both on and off the track as well.
Among those invited was 5-year old Rashid Al Dhaheri, who is currently racing in Al Ain Raceway’s national karting series. It is his generation of talented young drivers that Sheikh Khalid plans to develop into “the next batch of Emirati racing drivers”. Abu Dhabi Racing is on the hunt for partners to join themselves, Abu Dhabi Motorsport Management, Yas Marina Circuit, and the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority in the quest for providing the UAE with its own future national star. Such partners will be instrumental in helping to inspire young drivers to follow in the footsteps of Sheikh Khalid and Dubai 24-Hour winner Khaled Al Qubaisi.
After his welcome address, Sheikh Khalid suited up and demonstrated to everyone how he came to be on the world stage, by offering selected passengers an exclusive ride around Yas Marina’s handling circuit. With his 300bhp, 1.6 litre turbocharged Citroen DS3 rally car roaring coarsely, the two-time Middle Eastern Rally Champion set off in a symphony of drifting, tyre smoke, screeching rubber, and bouncing valves. Those close enough to the track edge were peppered with rubber marbles as the Citroen set about shredding its purpose made Michelin’s in a cloud of smoke.
Other guests were treated to the opportunity of experiencing passenger laps in a road-going Citroen DS3. The popular hot-hatch is certainly a great looking little car, and the professionals at the wheel were quick to praise its performance.
Abu Dhabi Racing are a global presence in the rallying world, and their five year partnership with Citroen can only help raise the profile of motorsport in the UAE. The three-car Citroen Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team finished second in the 2013 World Rally Championship, but Sheikh Khalid and his team are going into 2014 with aspirations of winning both the Drivers and Manufacturers titles.