After an intense three-day selection procedure, Citroën and Abu Dhabi have chosen the talented young drivers who will take part in next season’s Middle East Rally Championship in two Citroën DS3 R3s.
Mohammed Al Mutawaa and Mohammed Al Ali topped a pool of thirteen candidates from across the United Arab Emirates, after a series of specific tests held at the Yas Marina Circuit.
The stakes were high for the thirteen candidates chosen to take part in the young driver selection event organised by Citroën Racing, Abu Dhabi Racing and the Yas Marina Circuit. Starting at 9am on Friday, the instructors, drivers and judges met up at the circuit for preparations and a briefing session. The drivers then headed out onto the tarmac for their first opportunity to get a feel for the Citroën DS3 Racing on a mixed surface, combining dry and wet sections. On Saturday, the day began with a physical training session before the start of the first few warm-up laps. The selection procedure started for real in the afternoon with a timed lap on a difficulty one circuit with a rolling start. The judges were thus able to select the six drivers who would continue to the next stage of the tests. After a final session made up of a series of general knowledge tests on motorsport, physical tests and two timed laps of the circuit with difficulty ratings of two and three from a standing start, Mohammed Al Mutawaa and Mohammed Al Ali were chosen as the two winners. Each of the two winners will drive a Citroën DS3 R3 to compete in the six rounds of the 2013 Middle East Rally Championship (MERC).
“The young driver selection event has proven to be a very rewarding and interesting experience” commented a delighted Marek Nawarecki, Customer Racing Manager for Citroën Racing. “We were pleasantly surprised by the friendly atmosphere and strong team spirit that developed between the competitors during the event. They all wanted to help each other out and share experiences. Although they all have different backgrounds, varying from karting and track racing to cross country rallying, whilst some were just beginners, everyone listened attentively to the advice given throughout the three days and were very willing to share their experiences with the others. There is no doubt that next season will be a very useful learning experience for the two winners taking part in the championship.”
Mohammed Al Mutawaa
20 years old (DOB:2 December 1992)
Currently studying finance at the Zayed University in Dubai, Mohammed already has quite a bit of experience in track racing. In 2007, he was selected from among 700 young drivers to represent the United Arab Emirates in Europe by joining the Autosport Academy, with which he competed for one season in Formula Renault 1.6 L. Initially entered in the Touring Car Championship in 2009/2010, he finished as runner-up in the United Arab Emirates GT Championship (2010/2011) and also claimed second place in the Formula Gulf 1000 series. He has also achieved some strong results in karting and is part of the prestigious “FIA Institute Young Driver Excellence Academy”.
“I feel both honoured and very happy to have been selected. It is a great opportunity to start rally driving for such a professional team. Over the three days, I have learned a lot and have developed some new skills which will be very useful for me, going forward. I have also had the opportunity to work with the Citroën team, who have given some excellent advice. Although I have five years’ experience of competing in motorsport, particularly in track racing series, I am now heading for a new challenge and I’m going to be doing my utmost to produce some good performances next season!”, revealed the young winner. “And I really can’t wait to drive the Citroën DS3 R3!”
Mohammed Al Ali
23 years old (DOB:23 January 1989)
Holder of a degree in accounting, Mohammed is a beginner in motorsport but he stood out during the selection procedure thanks to his fighting spirit and determination. He also demonstrated an impressive ability to improve rapidly. In the background during the preparations on Friday, he proved to be one of fastest when the drivers completed their first timed laps.
“I never thought I would be one of the winners at this event. Of course, I was very determined to do well and I gave it my all to try and win. Above all, I have learned a lot during the selection procedure. The advice given to us by the instructors was invaluable, and it helped me to improve quickly when driving the DS3 Racing. I can’t wait to start the season!”
FIA MIDDLE EAST RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP (MERC)
25-26 January : Qatar International Rally
21-23 March : Kuwait International Rally
23-25 May : Jordan Rally
6-8 September : Rally of Lebanon
1-3 November : Cyprus Rally
2-4 December : Dubai International Rally