Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 9 December 2019

Abu Dhabi F1: Amna Al Qubaisi wins first Formula 4 UAE race at Yas Marina Circuit

Emirati driver led from from the start after securing pole position in Friday's qualifier

Emirati driver Amna Al Qubaisi won the first Formula 4 UAE race at Yas Marina Circuit on Saturday in the first competitive event of the weekend.

She held the lead from the start after securing pole position in Friday's qualifier, ultimately establishing a commanding lead from the pursuing pack after being initially tested for top spot. Amna's sister, Hamda, was fifth.

The sisters' parents, Khaled and Kawthar, celebrated as their eldest daughter crossed the line ahead of second-placed Nicola Marinangeli of Xcel Motorsport.

The victorious Abu Dhabi Racing driver jumped out of her car after coming to a halt in the pit lane, pointed to the sky, then leapt down from her car and hugged her parents across the safety barriers.

Before the race, both sisters had received a kiss from their mother for luck.

Khaled Al Qubaisi, a noted Emirati driver who has competed in grand touring races including the Dubai 24 Hour and the 24 Hours of Le Mans, said afterwards he was "extremely proud of my daughters".

"They made the whole UAE proud today, and that's all that we wanted - to raise the UAE flag up high in this extremely important event held in our beloved country.

"This is a crowning moment of all the efforts that went into getting them to this point. Thanks to Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed for supporting motorsports and young talent."

The placings of the elder Al Qubaisi and Marinangeli seemed secure in the early part of the 25-minute race, but the battle in midfield was a much tighter affair.

Dutch driver Tijmen van der Helm held off challenges for third until the final lap when his car suffered a suspension failure on Turn 8, allowing Xcel Motorsport teammate Alex Connor through to take the remaining podium slot.

Hamda Al Qubaisi lost out on fourth place to Jordanian driver Manaf Hijjawi of Dragon Racing, who fought back from eighth place.

Portugal's Rodrigo Almeida, another Xcel Motorsport team member, took seventh followed by Dream Racing's Logan Hannah.

Mehrbod Shameli and Constantin Reisch completed the top 10.

The weekend's racing is not over for the F4 competitors yet though, as they will line up for a second time on Sunday ahead of the season-ending Abu Dhabi Formula 1 Grand Prix.

Before Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel and the rest of the F1 grid take their places for the main race, all eyes will be on Amna to see if she can secure a clean sweep.

Updated: December 1, 2019 06:10 PM

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