Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 7 December 2019

Amna Al Qubaisi sets sights on Formula 3 after making more history at Yas Marina Circuit

Emirati driver won the first Formula 4 UAE race during Abu Dhabi Grand Prix weekend

Amna Al Qubaisi is no stranger to breaking new ground in motorsport and the Emirati driver was at it again during Abu Dhabi Grand Prix weekend.

Al Qubaisi, 19, claimed victory in the first Formula 4 UAE race on Saturday to become the first Arab female winner in a single seater race. Her delight was clear to see as Al Qubaisi celebrated in the paddock before shedding tears of joy while sharing the victory with her parents, including father Khaled – himself an accomplished former professional driver who has competed in the Dubai 24 Hour and the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

“It was amazing, a new experience for me. I cried the first time I crossed the chequered flag... all the hard work and the experience finally paid off,” Al Qubaisi said in an interview with CNN's Connect The World show.

Al Qubaisi's success at Yas Marina Circuit is just the latest milestone in her burgeoning motor racing career. She began karting at the age of 14 and was the first Arab female to compete in the Rotax Max Challenge (RMC) World Finals.

In 2017, a 16-year-old Al Qubaisi became the first Emirati girl to win an RMC series when she finished top of the Senior Max category by a massive 173 points. The same year, she was the first female to be selected to take part in the GCC Young Drivers Academy Programme – which she won.

Last year, Al Qubaisi was one of nine female drivers to be chosen to take part in a Formula E test session at the Ad Diriyah ePrix, while she was also in contention to participate in the inaugural all-female W Series earlier this year.

With her focus on the future, Al Qubaisi outlined what she hopes the next few years will have in store, before revealing her ultimate ambition.

“Definitely the next step is Formula 3. That’s the main goal and hopefully next year we’ll get into that," she said. “The W series is really good mileage and a lot of track time so if I did have the opportunity to back I would … Formula 1 is always the main goal.”

Al Qubaisi's achievements have inspired many aspiring female drivers across the Middle East, including younger sister Hamda. The 15-year-old Hamda is already following in her sister's footsteps and competed in the same Formula 4 UAE race which Amna won on Saturday, placing fifth.

“After I saw Amna in her first season racing she inspired me, and I wanted to get into it straight away," Hamda said in the same CNN interview. "In my first season I already surprised myself getting five podiums and from there I just wanted to keep going.”

Father Khaled insisted there are no limits to what his daughters can achieve in the motorsport world and believes that Amna and Hamda are among a new generation of Arab females breaking down barriers.

“I’m extremely, extremely proud, not only as their father, their countryman, for the whole UAE this is really means a lot," Al Qubaisi said of his daughters' achievements.

"There are no boundaries even though they are females, I said they can do whatever they want and they surprised us. Amna and Hamda, they did really well in karting, in single seaters, and now you see them here, winning a race and making history.

“We see it in all kinds of fields. Females are out in force, they are dedicated, they are committed, they are competing in the workplace, in sports, and it’s all because of our leadership giving us right from the get-go the opportunity for education and sport.”

Updated: December 2, 2019 05:55 PM

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