DUBAI // Born in Dublin, Ronan Morgan won 54 FIA international rallies during a 30-year racing career and sat alongside Mohammed ben Sulayem for 10 of the Emirati’s record 14 Middle East Rally Championship title wins. Morgan later moved to Dubai as motorsports director for the Automobile and Touring Club of the UAE and was this week handed the role of general manager. He discussed his new role with The National:
Q: After six years as motorsport director at the ATCUAE, you were promoted to general manager this week. What does the new role entail and how does your daily routine change?
A: It’s really about making the two sides of the organisation – sport and mobility – work better together and more coherently. Sports will remain the same, so in that sense my role won’t change too much. Both sides of the business are working well, so there is no need. It’s more about just looking after them and keeping them on the right road. No seismic change for me is expected.
Q: What are your targets for your first year as general manager of ATCUAE?
A: It’s a big question. In the past, we have had two different departments in our organisation and sometimes there has been a little crossover, but we need to improve that, streamline it and achieve more efficiency. Rather than having two teams running in the same direction on parallel tracks, I want us to be one big team, and that will come with improved interaction.
Q: With a little less than two months until the annual Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge, presumably plans are gathering pace. How is it looking?
A: Things are progressing very well. A revised route has been pitched and now we want to push on and get the relevant permissions, which should happen in the next couple of weeks. We want to have a big push this year and expect more entries than ever before. We should have a very good field and are introducing new elements to it as well.
Q: Are there any special plans to celebrate the event’s 25th anniversary?
A: There are, but if I told you I’d have to kill you … No, seriously, this is one of the oldest motorsports events in the UAE and we do want to do something pretty spectacular to mark the occasion. For now, though, it’s a case of “watch this space”.
Q: After the Desert Challenge, the next high-profile event on the UAE motorsports calendar is November’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. What is going on in between that you will be pushing?
A: There are 140 motorsport events that happen in the UAE and we license and sanction them all. Some of them are growing in stature. For example, the Emirates Desert Championship has exploded recently, has now become almost a feeder series for the Desert Challenge and we are getting overseas interest in it. We want these events to get the recognition they deserve.
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