x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

Mohammed ben Sulayem heads new-look Arab council

The nation's motorsport chief and FIA vice-president's vision is for all Arab motorsport clubs to work together.

Mohammed ben Sulayem, second from right, wants all Arab motorsport clubs to work together.
Mohammed ben Sulayem, second from right, wants all Arab motorsport clubs to work together.

Mohammed ben Sulayem, the Emirati former rally champion, was elected as the new chairman of the Arab Council of Touring and Automobile Clubs (ACTAC) at the FIA's annual general assembly in New Delhi.

As part of a comprehensive restructure, the former rally driver will head up a new-look board that will see Chihab Baloul, from Algeria, and Ahmad Abd Al Malek, from the Yemen Club for Touring and Automobile, serve as vice-chairmen.

Walid Shaiban, of the Syrian Automobile Club, will take up the post of regional coordinator, while Essa Hamzah Al Failakawi of the Kuwait International Automobile Club (KIAC), becomes the organisation's secretary general.

The council believes the positional changes and the creation of several new roles will strengthen the organisation.

"The world is undergoing dynamic changes, so I am glad to see all the Arab clubs agreeing on the decision that we must work together to improve our status with the FIA, and to further strengthen the bond between us to achieve our common goals," ben Sulayem said.

Ben Sulayem, who won the Middle East Rally Championship a record 14 times, is also president of the Automobile and Touring Club of the UAE (ATCUAE) and the FIA vice-president for sport.

Elsewhere, the National Race Day meeting takes place in Abu Dhabi for the first time this season when the UAE GT Championship and UAE Touring Cars Championship resume at Yas Island on Friday.

There could be plenty of support for Saeed Al Mehairi and Sheikh Hasher Al Maktoum in the Yas Marina Circuit-backed Aston Martin who will take on fellow Aston Martin competitors in the GTC Class.

Valuable points are up for grabs in rounds seven and eight of the UAE Touring Car Championship.

Nader Zuhour heads the Class 1 table but is being pushed all the way by Mohammed Al Owais (Emirates Racing Team), Ramzi Moutran (Duel Racing), Costas Papantonis (Gulf Petrochem Mouhrista Racing) and Martin Johnson (Phoenix Motorsport).

In Class 2, Aslam Moola (Emirates Racing Team Honda) heads to Abu Dhabi leading the points table from the reigning champion Umair Khan (Lap 57 Honda), the pair notching up three wins each so far this season. Also in the hunt will be Jonathan Mullan (GNSS Racing Honda) and Rupesh Chanaka (Lap 57 Honda).