x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Life Lessons: Sheikh Khalid Al Qassimi

Sheikh Khalid Al Qassimi, 34, is the UAE's most successful World Rally Championship driver in terms of points scored. He also mentors four young Emirati rally drivers who are part of the Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority's motorsport development programme.

Nicole Hill / The National
Nicole Hill / The National

Sheikh Khalid Al Qassimi, 34, is the UAE’s most successful World Rally Championship driver in terms of points scored. He also mentors four young Emirati rally drivers who are part of the Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority’s motorsport development programme.

 

Be proud of your heritage. My family is from Abu Dhabi and I was born here. We are lucky to have the natural resources available to us to pursue our passions. Abu Dhabi has the perfect landscape for off-road driving and I grew up rallying across sand dunes and remote gravel tracks.

The honour of representing your country should never be taken lightly. Travelling the world as an ambassador for Abu Dhabi and competing under the emirate's name is a privilege I always take seriously. With so many fans following my actions both home and abroad it is important to behave in a way that upholds Abu Dhabi's core values, such as integrity and respect.

Get passionate about sport. Abu Dhabi provides a good opportunity for all its residents to participate in sport and stay active. If you are interested in golf, horse racing, motorsport, tennis, football, triathlon, rugby, running, water sports or sailing, there's often a club or association that you can join and get involved with.

Pass on your knowledge. The Junior Driver Development Programme identifies drivers with the potential to become rally stars and gives them the opportunity to nurture their talent. To contribute to their development is an honour. All four of the programme's Emirati drivers are dedicated to winning the World Rally Championship, so if I can play just a small part in helping them achieve this I will be pleased.

Drive safely. As a professional rally driver I have experienced how dangerous fast driving can be. We have to be responsible, not only for our lives but also for other lives we risk if we speed recklessly. Abiding by speed limits and wearing seat belts is core to one's safety. When I get in a car, the first thing I do is say a prayer and buckle up.

 

As told to Jemma Nicholls