Emirati sisters to take centre stage at Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

The teenage siblings will compete in the new F4 event

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, September 25, 2019.    
Yas Marina Circuit official launch of its 2019/20 season calendar. --  Yas Marina drift cars.
Victor Besa / The National
Section:  NA
Reporter:Haneen Dajani
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Two young Emirati sisters will be among drivers taking on the Yas Marina Circuit during this year’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Teenagers Hamda and Amna Al Qubaisi, aged 16 and 14 respectively, are currently training hard in Italy ahead of the junior F4 contest.

The competition will be the first time the F4 category has been staged alongside the main F1 event in the capital.

Organisers hope introducing the class will give the siblings a chance to showcase their skills in front of an international audience.

“As a circuit we’re trying to support young local talents as much as we can,” said Al Tareq Al Ameri, chief executive of Yas Marina Circuit.

“So we decided to host F4, which is considered the first [stage] platform for professional racing for drivers after karting.”

Attended by tens of thousands of racing fans, the annual Abu Dhabi Grand Prix is a major highlight of the UAE sporting calendar.

It usually runs over four days, but this year organisers have extended it to five to incorporate more high-speed thrills.

Qualifying will start on November 28 with the main F1 contest taking place as usual on Sunday, December 1.

The following day, which is the UAE’s National Day, spectators will also be treated to a series of racetrack debuts.

“It is a five-day festival and a huge celebration,” said Mr Al Ameri. “It’s a chance for us to engage with our local audience and we’ve created a programme that coincides with National Day celebrations.

“People can now attend the race on December 1 and stay until the next day to enjoy National Day.”

This year’s festival will also include the inaugural R.M. Sotheby’s classic car auction as well as street performers and four major concert performances.

Confirmed A-listers include Travis Scott and The Killers, with more due to be announced soon.

“I can see [Amna and Hamda] reaching Formula 1 in a few years,” said Mr Al Ameri.

“They’ve succeeded with their own efforts and talent. I don’t think anyone can claim credit for their success.”