x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

Pole Position: UAE motorsport events are action-packed

With the Al Forsan International Sports Resort, there is now no excuse for anyone interested in taking up motor racing to say they don't have somewhere to practice.

Most of the country's top karters were racing at the Al Forsan International Sports Resort last weekend in the Rotax Max Challenge. This is a great facility that has been in the making for some time and I highly recommend that if you haven't done so already, you should take a look.

Catering for a variety of extreme sports and leisure pursuits including equestrian, shooting and water sports, Al Forsan includes a 1.2km floodlit kart circuit. Along with other kart circuits in the UAE, including the Al Ain Raceway and the Dubai Autodrome, there is now no excuse for anyone interested in taking up motor racing to say they don't have somewhere to practice.

In addition to the Rotax event, rounds seven and eight of Formula Gulf 1000, the national single-seater championship, was taking place at Yas Marina Circuit last weekend. Here, the Al Rawahi boys, Sanad and Abdullah, visited us as they prepared for their Al Forsan races. Their father, Suleiman, has been tirelessly helping these young lads for years and all that hard work and expense paid off with a first and second place.

Sanad had spent three days with us at Yas earlier this year training in one of our single-seaters and, once he got the hang of using gears and a clutch, showed enormous pace. We look forward to seeing him in action in his first Formula race.

We were joined by another talented youngster, Spanish 17-year-old Nicolas Canal. He has been training and racing in a Formula BMW team in his homeland and, given his limited experience, took us by surprise when he drove a car he had never seen before on a circuit he had not raced on before, lapping just seconds slower than our usual drivers.

But it was Lebanese driver Joe Ghanem who stamped his authority on the Formula Gulf 1000 championship when he won both races in convincing style. Mohammed Al Mutawaa, who had just flown in from a very cold Edinburgh, Scotland, where he had been attending his first FIA Academy training session, was unable to get past Ghanem, finishing both races in second place less than three seconds behind, albeit setting the fastest lap in both races.

Natasha Seatter made her trip from Malaysia worthwhile, with two podium finishes adding to her already impressive racing CV. With only 30 minutes practice on this very challenging 4.7km circuit, the drivers were finding more speed every time they drove the track. Seatter qualified in 1:58.627 in third place, put in a faster lap of 1:58.596 in race one, then found a massive 1.736 seconds in race two to be on the same pace as Ghanem and Mutawaa.

Canal, who replaced multiple race winner Zaamin Jaffer, who is seeking sponsorship so he can continue racing in Formula Gulf 1000, made an impressive start with a fourth-place finish in race two after a DNF in the first.

Rounds nine and 10 of this very exciting championship take place on March 2 at Dubai Autodrome's National Circuit.

Pole Position is written by Barry Hope, a director with GulfSport Racing, which is hoping to find an Arab F1 driver through the FG1000 race series. Join the UAE racing community online at www.gulf-sport.com or on Facebook at GulfSportRacing.