When the Oman International Rally (OIR) begins on October 30 in Muscat, all eyes will be on Abu Dhabi Racing, the strongest rally side in the region, which will field five teams – all in Citroen DS3s – at the Oman Automobile Association.
Leading the charge will be Sheikh Khalid al Qassimi and codriver Chris Patterson, who won the Abu Dhabi Rally recently. However, the strength of the team lies in its four youngsters – Mohammed al Mutawaa, Mansoor Bel Helei, Saeed bin Towq and Juma al Falasi – who have already carved a niche for themselves in the regional rally circuits.
The four racers had an impressive outing in the Abu Dhabi Rally where Mutawaa finished fourth, Bel Helei came fifth and Saeed notched a decent seventh-place finish. The OIR is a candidate event for the Middle East Rally Championship (MERC). Mutawaa, 22, who came to Muscat with plenty of confidence, said his goal is to reach the peak.
“I want to make use of all the opportunities and work on myself in all the areas that form a successful driver.” Mutawaa’s teammate Saeed hails from Dubai and it was a chance visit to a karting track that ignited his passion for motor sports.
“I took part in a karting race just for fun four years ago. I performed well and it gave me the confidence to take to motor sports seriously,” the 25 year old said. Saeed feels proud to be part of Abu Dhabi Racing and works hard to perform well in competitions. “It is a great honour to be part of the Abu Dhabi Racing family and I will try my best to achieve good results in Oman and elsewhere,” he said.
For 22 year old Bel Helei, rally driving runs in his blood. “My father was a rallyist in UAE. I grew up watching him winning the rallies and celebrating on the podium. I got the taste of rally when I worked as a co-driver for my father in 2010. But frankly, I didn’t enjoy it because I felt I would be a better rally driver than a co-driver.”
He added, “I couldn’t describe my feeling when Abu Dhabi Racing picked me for their young driver programme. As a young team, our aim is to gain experience and improve our skills.” The youngster will be driving a Citroen DS3 with Khalid al Kindi in the OIR.
SOURCE: MUSCAT DAILY