Grand Prix coup for Dubai Expo 2020 bid as Red Bull shows its support

Rapping on the beach, rocking on Yas Island and 261kph Ferraris at the airport as weekend of speed and thrills heads for climax of Abu Dhabi Grand Prix 2013.

Mark Webber of Red Bull drives to pole position in qualifying yesterday for today’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Webber and his teammate Sebastian Vettel have messages on their cars supporting Dubai’s Expo 2020 bid.  Christopher Pike / The National
Powered by automated translation

ABU DHABI // Red Bull cars racing in today's Abu Dhabi Formula One Grand Prix will carry a message of support for Dubai's bid to host Expo 2020.

The publicity coup is a massive boost for organisers’ efforts to bring the world fair to Dubai, with decision day on the venue coming at the end of the month.

The message will be seen by 55,000 race fans inside Yas Marina Circuit and more than 130 million worldwide – and with Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel as championship winner and race favourite, it could take the chequered flag too.

As the countdown to today’s big event continued, the Grammy Award-winning English rock band Muse took to the stage last night in front of a packed crowd at the du Arena on Yas Island in the third of the Yasalam concert series.

And music fans thronged the Corniche for shows by artists including the English singer-songwriter Labrinth and the Jamaican-American rapper Sean Kingston, last of this year's Beats on the Beach.

Ultimately, however, this weekend is about speed, thrills and cars – such as the 13 thoroughbreds that rolled into town yesterday at the end of the Run To Yas, latest in the adventure series that arranges memorable journeys to Grand Prix events for supercar enthusiasts.

“What a cool thing to do in a week of speed in Abu Dhabi,” said Australian expatriate Jack Arthur, 50, after hitting 261kph in his red Ferrari 612 Scaglietti on the runway at Al Bateen Airport.

“It’s one of these opportunities that only Abu Dhabi really brings.”