Celeste Hill was hoping her six years as an air traffic controller at Dubai Airport and her skills as a sky diving instructor would make her application to be a volunteer marshal at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix stand out.
The South Wales expatriate was elated, however, when her credentials earned her a chance to train and compete for a job looking after affairs in the pit lane and on the starting grid during the November 14 race at Yas Marina Circuit.
"I'm very excited," Hill said as she attended the first of four weekly training sessions for aspiring marshals last weekend. "I think my profession has helped me get into a preferential position.
"When we applied we had to declare what we are good at and I was able to say that I was used to working in a high-stress situation. "There is a lot of knowledge to be taken in but I regard it as similar to learning about aviation. If you have a strong interest in what you need to learn then it becomes much easier."
More than 750 people are competing for about 400 available marshals positions during race weekend.
Hill is in a group of close to 100 who attended the "Pit Lane and Starting Line" class, where everyone was well aware there is much to do before taking a place on the grid for the final race of the Formula One season.
Dave Baker, the chief of the pit lane marshals, and Ivan Ingrilli, his starting line counterpart, left little doubt about the level of competition for the jobs of waving the various coloured flags.
"Forty-five people are needed to do this part of the job," Baker said in an extended briefing to the applicants. "We will choose those 45 after the next four weeks of classes have been completed."
Marshalling the pit lane and starting line was one of the many jobs up for grabs at Yas Marina last weekend, and at two future sessions at Dubai Autodrome.
The final culling will take place at the Radical Race Weekend - effectively a grand prix dress rehearsal - on October 15 and 16.
A total of 700 marshals will then be appointed by Ronan Morgan, clerk of the course for the grand prix and Sports Project Director at the Automobile and Touring Club of the UAE, and his grand prix organising team.
Nearly half of those positions will be occupied by experienced marshals from Bahrain, the United Kingdom and Hungary and specialist medical staff, leaving 400 spots available for the 763 who were in attendance on Friday.
"A lot of people will be disappointed," Morgan said. "But if they are not required for the grand prix there is so much more they can do here during the year.
"Motorsport in this country is growing fast and there were 140 events, covering a wide range of disciplines, on the calendar this year. We would urge the people who have registered today to offer their services at those other meetings."
Overseas expertise is still needed in abundance to help the big race run smoothly, but Morgan believes plans are on course for the event to be staffed totally by UAE-based officials in the not-too-distant future. He is hopeful that a substantial proportion of the volunteers will be Emiratis, many of whom sat alongside expatriate colleagues at the training classes.
"We don't want to put a time on that, but we are certainly moving in the right direction," he said. "Last year we were about half-and-half in terms of home and foreign marshals; this year it will be more like three-quarters to a quarter in favour of the locals.
"We have taken a massive leap this year towards being self-sufficient and it is hoped that we will do the same again next year." Morgan expects his selection options to reduce over the next three weeks, though, because not all the applicants will be able to keep pace with the demanding training schedule. Others will be frightened off by the tutors' frequent references to "danger" and the prospect of getting killed.
Baker made no attempt to hide the fact his pit lane recruits would be putting their lives at risk as he outlined the perils of working so close to the fastest vehicles in motorsport.
"The drivers are not concerned about who is in the pit lane and will drive into you if you are in the way," he said. "So keep your eyes open at all times and be aware of where you might be standing.
"Also don't try to watch the action through the gaps in the pit wall because if something flies off a car when it's hurtling past and hits you it will kill you- make no mistake about that."
Tamas Zettner, the head of sporting for Abu Dhabi Motor Sport Management, endorsed those warnings in his briefing session. "Be prepared for danger at any time," he said. "Losing concentration can be disastrous. A split-second delay in the waving of a flag could be fatal for a driver. With one false action you lose the confidence of the drivers and it can take years to get it back.
"Body language is important. Convey the message to the drivers and the teams that you are confident in what you are doing and they will respect you more.
"Never think, 'My post is boring, nothing ever happens here,' because as soon as you stop concentrating you can be sure an accident will happen there.
"And when an accident does happen at a certain point on the track, there is an increased likelihood that another will follow, so be wary of that."
Last year's inaugural Abu Dhabi Grand Prix went off smoothly with no serious safety issues but the organisers remain aware that a potential accident is just around the corner - and there are 21 testing turns on the 5.554km Yas Marina Circuit.
There will be 184 intervention marshals - two at each of the 92 access points on the track - to deal with such a situation. Anything beyond basic clearing up will be passed on to the specialist recovery team led by Alan Rooke.
Rooke is in charge of a highly trained team of 25 who have 16 JCB tractors and four trucks at their disposal. My ideal day is one when my guys don't do anything," he said. "Every time the JCBs or the recovery trucks go on track you know there has been a major incident and nobody wants that. But if we have to go into action then I have every confidence in my team being able to cope with whatever lies in front of them."
Rooke and his team will train separately in the evenings leading up to the race. "It is a relatively specialised discipline," he said. "We are not as specialised as the excavation guys, though. They have medical people with them and are trained to be able to cut people out of vehicles."
That expertise was required at Yas during GT1 sports cars race in April when Natacha Gachnang, one of only two women competing at the meeting, suffered a sickening high-speed crash at the end of the 1.2km main straight and sustained a broken leg and other injuries.
Morgan looked back sombrely at that distressing incident in expressing a desire for a clean bill of health at the big race in November.
"The crash in April was good experience for the crews here," he said. "We would rather the accident didn't happen because you don't like to be training on the spot. But everybody was well aware of what to do. It was a well-oiled process that we went through.
"Our medical team is one of the best in the business and the medical recovery team acted in a very professional manner that day. It was a delicate operation to get the lady out because she had a broken leg, but we managed the task extremely efficiently.
"You don't like things like that happening too often but they will happen because motor racing is dangerous and accidents will happen. It's the way you cope with those accidents and keeping casualties to a minimum that are the most important things."