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Al Qubaisi has high hopes for Abu Dhabi team.

Abu Dhabi: The UAE's Khalid Al Qubaisi hopes his success with Team Abu Dhabi by Black Falcon can inspire a new generation of young Emirati drivers to achieve great things in the international motorsport arena.

Al Qubaisi returns to action in Friday's Gulf 12 Hours at Yas Marina Circuit aiming for the first of two endurance racing successes in the UAE within a month of each other.

But, beyond this weekend's victory bid and his pursuit of a third successive win in next month's Dunlop 24 Hours of Dubai, Al Qubaisi, as Managing Director of Abu Dhabi Racing, has much broader targets.

"The overall aim is to create more opportunities for young Emirati drivers to enter the international motor racing arena, and achieve success for themselves, and the UAE," he said.

"The government has made a huge investment in motor sport in recent years, and it's essential that we discover, and develop, the best young local talent to create our own future champions.

"This is what we need to inspire more young Emiratis to come into the sport and give it a bright future here, and of course I'll be very happy if my own achievements can help."

Two months ago, Al Qubaisi announced the launch by Abu Dhabi Racing of a partnership with the National Health Insurance Company - Daman to establish a driving academy which will groom young Emiratis to become professional racing drivers.

The first batch of seven UAE Nationals selected for the Daman Speed Academy, including his 13 year old daughter, Amna, immediately began an eight-month training programme based at Yas Marina Circuit. The ultimate aim is to produce the first Emirati Formula One driver.

Meanwhile, Abu Dhabi Racing will boost its presence in the FIA Middle East Rally Championship next year, with three more young Emirati drivers, Saeed Bintouq, Mansoor Bel Helei and Juma Al Falasi, taking their place in a six-car line-up.

The other cars will be driven by Sheikh Khalid Al Qassimi, the Abu Dhabi Racing chairman, and

Mohamed Al Mutaw and Mohamed Al Sahlawi, who enjoyed Middle East and World Rally Championship action with the team this year.

In tomorrow's (Friday) Gulf 12 Hours, which consists of two six-hour races separated by a two-hour break, Al Qubaisi shares the driving with Germany's Bernd Schneider and Dutchman Jeroen Bleekemolen in the lead AMG SLS GT3 entered by Team Abu Dhabi by Black Falcon.

Dutchman Kls Hummel, Britain's Adam Christodoulou and Sweden's Andreas Simonsen drive the team's second car, and both vehicles, and the drivers' helmets, will carry the name of Sean Edwards, the team-mate who was killed in a track day accident in Australia two months ago.

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Publication:Gulf News (United Arab Emirates)
Geographic Code:7UNIT
Date:Dec 13, 2013
Words:459
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