QMMF President says new strategy paying off handsomely
02 Dec 2017 - 9:18
Rizwan Rehmat | The Peninsula
The carefully drafted plans of Qatar Motor and Motorcycling Federation (QMMF) to expose the country’s young driving talent to top rivals at world-class events is working, a top official said yesterday.
Abdulrehman Al Mannai, President of QMMF, on Thursday rallied around at Losail International Circuit to celebrate Nasser Al Kuwari’s winning the FIA Middle East Championship T2 Co-Driver’s title.
“I think the strategy of getting in new young drivers is working,” Al Mannai said after watching home drivers take part in the first round of the Qatar Touring Car Championship (QTCC).
“The decision to involve the drivers in making rules and regulations with QMMF last year ... it’s working right now,” he added.
“We see more people involved now. Nasser is the navigator and he has never raced before, but he is now racing in QTCC. We see new drivers like Abdulghani give a good competition to other drivers.
“So we are going to continue the same format and hopefully we will be able to attract Qatari nationals to the circuit and get away from street racing. We hope to do something more professional and they can enjoy
themselves as it is a fantastic circuit, they can have fun while staying safe,” Al Mannai pointed out.
The QMMF President lauded the development of Al Kuwari, saying Qatar keeps producing quality motor sport talent.
“We are very proud of him. Nasser has proved Qatar does not only have good drivers but also good navigators,” Al Mannai said.
“He won this award for his skills, his professionalism and we are very proud of him. It takes years of practice for you to reach here but there has to be desire and commitment. These are the traits of any professional. And Nasser is an example of that.
“We hope he continues in this line and we are happy to support him any way we can. Additionally he is now part of the QTCC and he is giving the other driver a hard time. He is fast and we are expecting to see a very competitive season,” he added.
“Nasser comes from a racing family. That’s in his DNA. He comes from a family that loves this sport, his father, uncles and brothers. He is a product of that family legacy,” he added.
Al Mannai, who returned from the FIM annual gathering in Spain a few days ago, said he got to meet a number of motor sport officials during his overseas trip earlier in the week.
“We met the President of FIA and also the Presidents of other federations from Turkey, Germany and Portugal. We had very productive meetings with all of the. We also got an award for 30th anniversary since the establishment of QMMF. It was a really nice way to end the trip,” Al Mannai said.
“Qatar has been ahead of anybody in the region when it comes to promoting the motorcycle races. Losail is the first motorcycle circuit in the region and we also held the first MotoGP race in Middle East. Then we have Superbikes too. I think from the beginning, when the circuit was built, it was suited for motorcycle races. Because of that there is right environment for the sport and that has helped a lot in creating the culture,” he said.
When asked about the possibility of re-launching the FIM motorcross leg in the future, Al Mannai said: “I am not sure if we could bring it back at this point. At this point motocross is not a preferred discipline in Qatar and even in the Middle East. If you see most of the people ride motorcycles, they are involved more in track or street riding.”
He added: “It was a fantastic event, we enjoyed it and was a nice show. We are all passionate about the sport. If you ask me, I want to have all the disciplines here in Qatar. But at the end of the day, we have to make our decisions mathematically, whether it was good for the country or not. I think we need to try to control our passion, when it comes to hosting international events. Because when we bring an event to the country, it should be good for the country.”