The UAE has won the bid to host the Middle East, North Africa and Central Asia regional qualifying event for the 2015 FIA Institute Young Driver Excellence Academy, which develops young talent and promotes safety in motor sport.
The Automobile and Touring Club of the UAE was among 23 national motor sport authorities in the region invited to bid, and will stage the qualifier at Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi for the second year in a row from 28 September to 1 October.
This year’s qualifying events cover six regions of the world, with the others being staged in Holland (North Eastern Europe), Croatia (South Western Europe), South Africa (Sub-Saharan Africa), Mexico (Americas) and China and Australia jointly (Asia-Pacific).
“We’re very happy to be one of the six world hosts for what has proved to be a very successful initiative to develop young driving talent, as well as safety in motor sport,” said ATCUAE President Mohammed Ben Sulayem.
“This underlines the expertise and world-class facilities that we have available in the UAE, and we look forward to extending our partnership with the FIA Institute.”
The qualifying events have been increased from five last year to give more young drivers the chance to gain a place at the Academy. The winner of each gains automatic selection to the 2015 Academy. Four more drivers will be selected using a wildcard system to form the final class of ten Academy participants.
The Academy offers a fully-funded training programme to help drivers develop motor sport careers, while increasing safety skills and promoting fairness and responsibility on and off the track.
Previous graduates include Formula One reserve drivers Alexander Rossi, Stoffel Vandoorne, and Robin Frijns, and World Rally Championship drivers Andreas Mikkelsen, Pontus Tidemand and Craig Breen.
The ATCUAE hopes each of the other 22 countries in the Middle East, North Africa and Central Asia zone, including Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman and Saudi Arabia, will nominate one driver to take part in the selection event in Abu Dhabi.
Saudi Arabia’s Abdullah Bamogaddam earned a place in the Academy from last year’s regional qualifying event at Yas Marina Circuit which featured drivers from 15 countries.
“This is a fantastic opportunity for the best young drivers to develop their skills, and go on to a career in international motor sport,” said Sulayem. “They receive four days of world-class training and education while competing for a place on the main Academy. In addition to learning advanced driving techniques, they will be tutored on modern media techniques, teamwork and psychology, by a team of experts.”
The Academy is open to drivers aged 17-23 who have demonstrated ability and competitiveness in their motor sport careers so far.
Added to the six GCC countries, the nations brought together by the Middle East, North Africa and Central Asia qualifying event are Algeria, Cyprus, Egypt, Iran, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Palestine, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, Turkmenistan and Yemen.
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