Feather in cap for Yas Marina Circuit

The Yas Drag Racing Centre, the capital's latest high-speed facility formally opens.

ABU DHABI // The Yas Drag Racing Centre, the capital's latest high-speed facility, formally opened yesterday, with Richard Cregan, the Yas Marina Circuit chief executive, insisting the quarter-mile track was a "milestone" for the region. Yas's dedicated drag lane, the first track outside of the USA to be recognised as part of the National Hot Rod Association [NHRA] worldwide racing facility, will play host to the inaugural Yas Drag Racing Festival on March 19-20. Rodney Fuller, one of the sport's most well-known personalities, promised a baptism of thrills, spills and unadulterated speed.

"The UAE public will see something they could never imagine," said Fuller. "The Top Fuel dragsters produce 8,000 brake horsepower, that's basically five or six rows of an F1 race all put together in one car. They accelerate to more than 100 kilometres per hour in less than a second and at the end of a quarter mile reach speeds in excess of 500km per hour. They're faster than an F16 fighter jet at take off and pull more Gs than a space shuttle at launch.

"It's amazing; you have to see, hear and experience it to believe it." With the president and vice president of the NHRA due at the Yas track today, George Alan Case, the centre's senior drag manager, said North America's leading teams could soon be burning rubber in the Emirates. "We're in preliminary discussions," said Case, who has worked at leading American raceways Maple Grove and Palm Beach International. "In the coming years we'd like to do something with the NHRA."