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Dec 04, 2013 - 03:52 PM
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Abu Dhabi Young Drivers Selection
Posted by: newsla on Dec 04, 2013 - 03:49 PM
WRC Rally News 2010
Abu Dhabi Young Drivers Selection


Organised by Citroën Racing and Abu Dhabi Racing for the second year running, the 2014 Young Drivers Selection is over and the wi nners have been chosen. After a two-day assessment at the Yas Marina circuit, Saeed Bintouq, Mansoor Bel Helei and Juma Al Falasi were selected by the jury. These three promising young drivers will take part in the 2014 Middle East Rally Championship in Citroën DS3 R3s.

 

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Just a year ago, Citroën Racing and Abu Dhabi Racing officially sealed their partnership, covering all of the brand’s rallying activities. Last year’s talent finding process had resulted in Mohamed Al Mutawaa and Mohamed Al Sahlawi being selected, who both competed in this season’s Middle East Rally Championship. Supported by Khalid Al Qassimi, these young drivers have progressed and blazed a trail for other Emirati rally drivers.

Organised at the Yas Marina circuit, the purpose of the two days of assessment was to choose three new drivers. After reminding everyone about the basic principles of racing driving, the second part of the event was more intense. After an exam on their knowledge of rallying, the candidates were put through a series of physical tests. In Citroën DS3 Racing cars, they then had to tackle the various courses set up on the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix circuit.

The margins separating the drivers were narrow, but the members of the jury had no hesitation when it came to choosing the winners. Having also taken part in 2013, Saeed Bintouq and Mansoor Bel Helei secured their place for next season. Absolute beginner Juma Al Falasi impressed the jury with the progress he made and showed genuine potential.

“Like the Rallye Jeunes (Young Drivers) initiative organised with the FFSA, the French Motorsport Federation, this selection procedure seeks to help young drivers to get into the world of rallying,” emphasised Marek Nawarecki, Customer Racing Manager at Citroën Racing. “We were very pleasantly surprised by how motivated all of the candidates were, and by the overall level of performance. We are confident about the ability of Saeed, Mansoor and Juma to make rapid progress up the rankings.”

Five Citroën DS3 R3s will therefore be taking part in the 2014 Middle East Rally Championship, as Mohamed Al Mutawaa and Mohamed Al Sahlawi will be continuing to compete for a second season.

THE 2014 WINNERS

Saeed Bintouq – 24 years old – driving instructor: “I worked very hard during these two days of selections, constantly looking to improve. I was careful to implement the advice given to me by the instructors and it has been a great experience for me. I can’t wait to do my first tests in the Citroën DS3 R3, to keep improving. For the moment, I am totally new to rally driving. I have however spent a lot of time on racetracks circuits in the last two years and I hope I can make use of that experience. I’ll be competing in each race determined to improve and to achieve the best possible result…”

Mansoor Bel Helei – 21 years old – student: “The selections were very closely contested; the level was fairly even in most aspects. We had to fight to make it through! I am now very excited about everything that lies ahead of us in the next few months… I have already driven a 4WD car in off-road rallies in the Middle East: I was the highest-finishing Arab driver at the last Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge and I am currently leading the United Arab Emirates championship. I know that driving the DS3 R3 will be very different, however. It will be a new start for me and I’m going to focus on trying to improve quickly.”

Juma Al Falasi – 24 years old – student: “I have already learned a lot in the last two days. I wasn’t expecting it to be so hard! I now have a better idea of what is involved in being a rally driver. This is especially true regarding the importance of being physically fit, which means you can maintain your level throughout a stage. This sport is totally new to me. I had only done a bit of karting before now, but obviously that doesn’t really compare…”


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