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Mohammed ben Sulayem.
Mohammed ben Sulayem.

Horizons are ever expanding for Mohammed ben Sulayem

Whatever the politics, the FIA vice president Ben Sulayem deserves his new role, writes Gary Meenaghan.

It is 20 years this month since Mohammed ben Sulayem was last in Argentina on professional duty. In July 1993, the Emirati won the World Rally Championship Group N title in Cordoba, but on Wednesday he will touch down in Buenos Aires with a new mission.

As the newly appointed chair of the FIA's Motor Sports Development Task Force, Sulayem is being charged with the responsibility of outlining the future of motor racing for the next decade.

Why he was chosen is obvious. Ben Sulayem, a popular FIA vice president, has during the past seven years overseen exponential growth not only in the Emirates but across the Middle East. What was once an area limited to regional rallies now boasts Formula One, the World Rally Championship, MotoGP, V8 Supercars, GP2, sports cars, touring cars, trucks, bikes and quads.

Motorsport has become more affordable and accessible.

Likewise, his levels of trust and availability to former FIA president Max Mosley and successor Jean Todt have seen him called upon in times of need.

And this may yet be another time of need.

Todt was expected to secure a second term in office uncontested. However, David Ward, a former political adviser and now director general of the FIA Foundation for Automobile and Society, is considering standing against him.

If that is the case, then Todt, a notoriously reclusive man, needs to be seen to be looking to the future. How better to do that than to launch an initiative that will involve more than 230 member clubs and explore the potential development of global motorsport?

sports@thenational.ae

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