Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large

Fuller fast and furious as Yas laps up the fun

Rod Fuller, the Top Fuel Dragster driver pips his teammate Johnson Jr to set best time outside of US.

ABU DHABI // Spectators at the first staging of the Yas Marina Drag Racing Festival saw the fastest time set outside of America as the Top Fuel Dragster cars proved to be a hit with the UAE crowds. The new drag racing facility at Yas, which was opened earlier this month, was buzzing with young and old, men and women, and they thoroughly enjoyed the six Top Fuel Dragster duels that pitted Rod Fuller against Tommy Johnson Jr as the festival came to a close last night.

Fuller, after being overshadowed on Friday's first day, sizzled last night with the fastest drive on four wheels outside the United States. He clocked 3.898secs in the first race to set a fresh mark for the 402metre track and reached a new high speed of 499.97kph (310mph). "I was the first one to break four seconds," he said. "That's pretty huge. "To be the first one to do that, the first one to break four seconds outside the United States, that's awesome."

After disappointing attendances for the GP2 and the V8 Supercars, the first events at the track since the Formula One in November, fans packed the stand at the new facility for the two-day Drag Racing Festival, which saw more than 120 participants race in eight different categories. The Top Fuel Dragsters, capable of reaching speeds of 500kmph in less than four seconds, were the biggest draw and Fuller - one of the two drivers at the wheels of those monsters - is not surprised by enthusiastic reception the sport has received.

"I knew they would love it," said the American, who has enjoyed success stateside on the drag racing circuit. "I have been here for three weeks and everybody I've talked to loves drag racing, they know drag racing," he said. "What's great is that it's not just young individuals, it's everybody, it is families. "This sport really caters to the family atmosphere. You can bring your fellows out here."

Fuller adds that he thinks the openness of the sport, unlike the closed paddocks of Formula One, will attract even more interest in the future. "The fans have not caught on yet that they can come out, hang out and talk to the drivers, get autographs because it is such a normal thing," he said. "In Formula One, you would never get close to the drivers, but in this sport you can just walk with them."

Johnson Jr added: "I am thrilled that the fans are so excited about it. It's my passion, it's what I have done my entire life, drive drag cars in drag racing. To see another part of the world get so excited about it thrills me." In the support races, the UAE's Ali al Kaabi hogged the limelight in the Pro Modified category with the best ET (6.10901) and speed (375kph). "It was a fantastic experience," said the Sharjah resident.

"With this facility here now, I believe this sport will get really big. "As you can see, there is a lot of enthusiasm for drag racing in the country and now we have a place to hone our skills." arizvi@thenational.ae

Back to the top

More articles


Editor's Picks

 UAE’s Charlie Sargent tries to avoid a tackle by Singapore team members during the one-off Division 1 Test at The Sevens. The Singapore-born winger was making his debut. Sarah Dea / The National

Asian Five Nations: UAE go into rebuilding mode in Division 2

With a new look squad, including five emerging Emirati players, the UAE will hope to restructure and get into the winning habit in more forgiving climes when they drop a level in the revamped competition next season.

 Chelsea players argue with Atletico Madrid during their scoreless draw in the Champions League semi-final first leg match at the Vicente Calderon Stadium in Madrid, Spain on Tuesday. Gerard Julien / AFP / April 22, 2014

In pictures: Chelsea lock horns with Atletico in scoreless Champions League draw

Chelsea held Atletico Madrid scoreless at home on Tuesday as the two will head to Stamford Bridge for a winner-take-all second leg.

 Chris Gayle has been the most feared batsman in the Royal Challengers Bangalore line-up since he joined the team in 2011. Indranil Mukherjee / AFP

Parthiv continues to fill Gayle’s big shoes for Bangalore

Indian wicketkeeper-batsman will continue to open the innings for Royal Challengers with the West Indian still nursing his bad back, writes Paul Radley.

 Ian Poulter is fifth on the points list to make the cut in a 12-man European side for the Ryder Cup. Paul Lakatos / AFP

Ian Poulter sees momentum in Europe’s squad-building, with Ryder

Lot of players are striking well to stay in contention for the 12 spots in the team, but there is still lot of time before September, he warns.

 Erykan Bityutsky pulls a 4x4 car during the final day of the UAE Strongman Competition in Dubai. Delores Johnson / The National

UAE Strongman Competition takes weight training to a whole new scale

Two-day competition in Dubai attracts men and women from across the Emirates and proves it takes more than just bulky muscles to win, writes Ali Khaled.

 Benfica's Oscar Cardozo, from Paraguay, lifts the trophy celebrating after beating Olhanense on Sunday at Estadio da Luz. Benfica's 2-0 clinched them the Portuguese Primeira Liga championship. They will play Juventus in the the first leg of their Europa League semi-final tie on Thursday April 24. Francisco Seco / AP / April 20, 2014

Ambitious Benfica ready for Juventus while Sevilla and Valencia set to battle in Europa last-four

Benfica, fresh off clinching their 33rd Portuguese title, are looking to keep Juventus from reaching the Europa League final - which will be played in Turin - while the other semi-final sees La Liga rivals Sevilla and Valencia clash.

Events

To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National