DUBAI kartDROME GRADUATES RACING ON F1 STAGE
While all eyes are on the F4UAE Championship at Yas Marina Circuit – the home of the Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abi Dhabi Grand Prix – the Dubai Kartdrome in the neighbouring emirate Dubai has played an instrumental role in the development of many drivers who are competing in the category’s season-opening Trophy Round this weekend.
Seven of the 13 drivers racing in front of the F1 crowd cut their teeth at the Kartdrome, through various junior initiatives and highly contested karting championships, which have enabled them to learn the necessary racing skillset to step up to open-wheelers, including F4UAE.
The seven drivers include Alex Connor, Logan Hannah and Constantine Resich who all started in the Emirates Schools and SWS leisure karting, plus Manaf Hijjawi, Mehrbod Shameli and Emirati sisters Amna and Hamda Al Qubaisi; Amna of which claimed pole position in Friday qualifying and the Rqace 1 win on Saturday to become the first Emirati to do so in open-wheelers.
“It’s really satisfying to see that seven drivers are all regulars here at the Kartdrome so the transition from grass-roots karting to cars here in the UAE is starting to be successful,” said Dubai Kartdrome manager, David Bright.
“Who would have thought that I actually passed five of them for their FIA/CIK kart license tests back when they were much younger, so we’re all thrilled to see their progression and really pleased for Amna getting pole position and the win. She was recently on the podium here at the Kartdrome last month in the IAME shifter category, she’s a real talent.
“Most of these drivers started their career here through our grassroots initiatives such as our monthly SODI World Series leisure kart racing or the Emirates Schools karting championship, before gathering experience to compete in the most prestigious karting event in the Middle East, the Dubai O Plate. Everyone at the Kartdrome will be cheering them on when they race for the first time in front of F1 this weekend, and we hope that it opens doors for the progression of their racing careers."