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Plans for Motor Sport’s first talent development model to be unveiled at FIA MENA Congress in Muscat
Sulayem says sport faces survival issue and must do more to draw steady flow of young drivers

Plans to launch motor sport’s first talent development model will be unveiled at the FIA Sport Regional Congress for the Middle East and North Africa which started in Muscat on February 10, 2020.

The initiative is designed to give a boost to efforts to attract a steady go with the flow of young people into motor sport, which FIA regional Vice President for Sport, Mohammed Ben Sulayem, says is going through a survival issue.

Sulayem, President of the Emirates Motorsports Organization (EMSO), has commissioned a study into the challenge confronted by motor sport globally to bring in young talent in order to hold its future.

It will be at the congress, to be attended by FIA President Jean Todt and officials from 20 MENA region national motor sport authorities, by Professor David Hassan, one of the world’s leading professionals in sport management.

“Drivers are our customers, and if we don’t have a consistent stream of younger people into our sport not only are we failing in our duty as ASNs (motor sport authorities), but we will go out of business in the future,” stated Sulayem “It is a survival issue.”

Professor Hassan, Associate Dean at Ulster University in Norther Ireland, has published 15 books and 175 other scientific outputs, having labored collaboratively with academic researchers from across the globe.

Sulayem says Saudi Arabia’s highly successful staging of the Dakar Rally for the first time last month, coupled with the launch of the inaugural MENA Karting Championship Nations Cup in Muscat this week, already show regional motor sport taking wonderful strides.

“After many years of discussion on the need to create a regional karting event, it is now a fact and this is a positive step forward,” he said. “The other massive improvement has been the Dakar move to Saudi Arabia which provided a huge lift not only to Saudi motor sport, but to the growth of cross country rallies in MENA.

“We are now the international hub for this famous form of motor sport, and I welcome the investment by the Saudi government into the sport. Hopefully this will encourage other governments to see the value and advantages that motor sport can bring, as we have in the UAE.”

Sulayem paid tribute to FIA President Todt, and to the Oman Automobile Association, hosts of the three-day congress, and the MENA Karting Championship Nations Cup taking place at Muscat Speedway.

“The OAA has been the heart of the entire project and put in months of hard work,” he said. “I thank them on behalf of all the young drivers in the region. And we all thank President Todt in particular for supporting this essential new project.”

With more than 80 drivers from 15 MENA countries starting official practice on Tuesday, the karting championship reaches its climax with Friday’s finals, The new event is designed as a multi-year improvement project for young drivers who are the region’s future F1 and rally stars.

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