x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

Meeting will help ASNs to 'excel', says Mohammed ben Sulayem

The Emirati vice-president of the FIA will chair a historical meeting in Lebanon that he described as a "massive opportunity for the development of motorsport in this region".

DUBAI // Mohammed ben Sulayem, the Emirati vice-president of the Federation Internationale de l'Automobile, will today chair a historical meeting in Lebanon that he yesterday described as a "massive opportunity for the development of motorsport in this region".

National Sporting Authorities (ASN) from 19 countries in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) will meet in Beirut over the next two days to discuss how to benefit from the involvement of the FIA Institute, an organisation focused on improving safety and sustainability in motorsport. An ASN, as delegated by the FIA, is the recognised governing body for sport in each country.

The FIA Institute annually spends €6.4 million (Dh32.4m) supporting and helping develop grassroots motorsport across the globe, said ben Sulayem, who is also president of the UAE Automobile and Touring Club. Last year, however, only 50 of the 128 ASNs who are eligible to apply for grants put forward an application, while only "two or three" of the 50 were from the Mena region, he added.

The UAE applied for support last year and were provided help from Australia in training race marshals ahead of this year's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

"As vice-president of the FIA, it is my duty to support my region and this meeting is the first time in history where 19 ASNs from the Middle East and North Africa will come together to discuss what they each need to excel in the future," ben Sulayem said.

As well as ensuring the continued success of the Middle East Rally Championship and strengthening the connections between Mena countries, Ben Sulayem added that special attention will be focused on developing karting and drag racing in the region.

Applications for FIA Institute grants must be registered by the end of the month.

gmeenaghan@thenational.ae


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