New FIA Vice-President Nasser bin Khalifa Al Attiyah of Qatar (left) is seen with re-elected FIA President Jean Todt at the FIA General Assembly in Paris, yesterday.
DOHA: Qatar’s Nasser bin Khalifa Al Attiyah yesterday pledged to raise the profile of motor sport in the region just minutes after being announced as FIA Vice-President for Middle East region.
The official announcement was made in Paris where FIA President Jean Todt was unanimously re-elected for a second four-year term by the members of the General Assembly.
The President of the Senate, Deputy and Vice Presidents were also adopted as part of the Presidential List announced yesterday.
Al Attiyah, a highly popular motor sport personality, is also Vice-President at FIM, the global body in bike racing.
The Qatari becomes the first Arab national to hold two key posts in FIA and FIM at the same time.
“I am honoured to be elected as FIA Vice-President. It was my dream to reach here and I am glad that I managed to achieve my goal,” Al Attiyah told The Peninsula over phone from Paris.
“But I won’t just celebrate this development in my personal career. I pledge to raise the profile of motor sport in the Middle East. That’s my new job. I will bring about change. We will host seminars and get the best people in the sport together in our region and talk about motor sport.
“We will work together with our motor sport family in the region. The issues relating to new events and matters like safety would be given priority,” the Qatar Motor and Motorcyle Federation (QMMF) President said.
“Other topics will include discussions on volunteering and the medical side. It’s a big test but we will do it,” he said.
“But first we have to put the house in order,” Al Attiyah said.
Other Vice-Presidents announced at yesterday’s FIA presidential election, include Surinder Thatthi (Africa) Jose Abed (North America), Hugo Mersan (South America) Morrie Chandler (Asia Pacific), Michel Boeri (Europe) and Carlos Gracia Fuertes (Europe).
Middle East is already home to two F1 Grands Prix - in Abu Dhabi and Manama.
Qatar’s Losail International Circuit - which was built when Al Attiyah became QMMF chief in 2003 - hosts the annual Grand Prix of Qatar in MotoGP.
“I want to build bridges so that the motor sport officials in the region get to work together. This way we can raise the profile of the sport in a better way. The first thing would be to get everyone on board for a meeting,” he said.
Al Attiyah, a former Qatar national team football player and a rally driver of a considerable merit, said he was ready for the new challenge. “I am ready to carry out this new responsibility,” Al Attiyah said in a defiant
“The FIA has links with the United Nations and is associated with FIFA and the International Olympic Committee in more ways than one. Together we will start a new chapter of cooperation to boost sports everywhere,” he added. THE PENINSULA