Aspiring drivers including Saudi lady Lamya al Husail want to make most out of the GCC Young Drivers Academy training programme that has come to Oman for the first time.
Oman Automobile Association (OAA) chairman Brigadier (Rtd) Salim bin Ali al Maskari inaugurated the three-day event at the OAA headquarters in Muscat on Thursday.
The training programme is part of International Automobile Federation (FIA) efforts to support the upcoming drivers in the region. Opening the event, Al Maskari said it is an honour for the Sultanate to be selected as the venue for the GCC training programme for young drivers.
“This is an honour for us and recognition for the Oman Automobile Association from the FIA. It shows Oman is on the calendar of the global body for motorsports,” the OAA chairman said.
He called on the participants of the training programme to make use of the rare opportunity to update their skills and knowledge about the different motor sports.
“This programme will also spread awareness about motor sports in the Sultanate with safety in focus too,” Al Maskari added.
The first day of the event included an introductory session by instructor Andy Beaven and a session by Osama al Buflasa about sports terminology along with a group activity for the participants.
Later, the young drivers interacted with the print and visual media during a media session.
The highlight of the day was the drift experience conducted by Pro Drift Academy at the OAA Drift Arena later in the evening. Drift terminology was also explained to the enthusiastic young drivers who included a young lady from Saudi Arabia.
The afternoon sessions on first day also included a special session on first aid conducted by Dr Nihal Afifi, Chief Medical Officer at the OAA.
KEEN TO LEARN
UAE Rotax Max senior champion Kyle Kumaran from Dubai wants to make most out the training programme.
“I take event by event when my racing schedule is considered and I hope to learn many things from this training programme,” he said. The 16-year-old Dubai resident has won three races in Oman too at the Rotax Max Challenge hosted by the OAA earlier. Lone female participant at the YDA training event, Saudi Arabia’s Lamya al Husail wants to try many things at the sessions.
“I started off with go-karting. Last year, there was the first go-karting championship for women in Saudi Arabia in July. It was a good opportunity for me to showcase my ability,” the enthusiastic young lady said. Lamya wants to try her hand in various motor sports events especially as she was thrilled to join a drifting session later in the evening.
She has already moved on to autocross rally and time attack competitions.
“As a starter, I want to acquire maximum knowledge about different motor race events. I hope to improve my knowledge in the sport through this training programme. This is a great opportunity for me to enhance my skills, the 26-year-old who had made her mark in the competitions organised in Saudi Arabia said.
Trainer Osama al Buflasa from Bahrain said it is normal for the young drivers to test in different events related to motor sports before picking their area.
“Even Formula One drivers experiment in different motor sports. To name a few are F1 legend Michael Shumacher and Fernando Alonso.”
Osama said the young drivers will get to learn about the sport from technical experts in the field.
“The trainees will get the right information about the sport through the sessions.”
Project manager Loay al Bijaly said the programme is a great opportunity for the OAA to showcase its facilities to the budding drivers.
He said the safety aspects will be well taken care of with the trainees will be only passengers during the drifting experience.
“Our marshals, medical officers and officials will ensure a safe environment for the drivers,” he said.
Oman’s drifting champion Refaat al Yahyai, rally champion Zakariya al Aufi, Mohammed al Mazroui and go-karting instructor Sanad al Rawahi will conduct various racing sessions at the OAA during the three-day programme. OAA managing director Suleiman al Rawahi coordinated the smooth conduct of the sessions.
Participants at the programme include Talal Beshara, Khalid Bubeshaid and Yousif Khamiri (Bahrain); Ali Saleem, Marshad al Marshad and Antoni Kazelian (Kuwait); Ammar al Harthi, Mohammed al Shanfari and Ghazi Helou (Oman); Hamdan Rashid al Jabri, Sultan Boausaibah and Kyle Kumaran (UAE); Rayan Aljodaie, Abdulkareem Rayes and Lamya Alhusail (Saudi Arabia).