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FIA President impressed by Mena motorsport

Todt commends Sulayem’s regional initiatives after attending assembly in Doha

Gulf News

Doha: Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) President Jean Todt said on Tuesday that he is highly impressed by the work being done to drive motorsport to a new level in the Middle East and North Africa.

The head of motorsport’s world governing body attended Monday’s assembly in Doha of Mena’s 22 national motorsport authorities at the invitation of FIA Vice-President, Dr. Mohammad Bin Sulayem.

Todt will now study two reports commissioned by Sulayem, President of the Automobile and Touring Club of the UAE, and presented during the meeting.

One of the reports delivered a six-point plan aimed at increasing the region’s total number of competitors, officials and volunteers, and the number of motorsports events, by 20 per cent by 2015.

The other, based on an intensive study of volunteers working at the UAE’s top motorsport events in 2012, made recommendations to help organisers worldwide provide better protection for marshals and officials from the risk of dehydration.

Todt, who also attended Tuesday’s meeting in Doha of the Arab Council of Touring and Automobile Clubs, said: “It is clear that a lot of development has happened in this region, and it offers very strong potential for the future, growing from the base of rallying, with road safety a very important part of that mix.”

“These were two intense and very fruitful meetings, and I was very impressed with the enthusiasm of the members. The solidarity and friendship that was displayed made me proud, as the FIA President, that our main assets are human and teamwork.”

The Doha assembly of the 22 national motorsport authorities now united within the FIA’s Middle East and North Africa region in particular highlighted significant progress made in recent years in regional motor sport governance.

Until recently, the sport’s only regional forum was a meeting of the six or seven organisers of FIA Middle East Rally Championship events to discuss rally regulations.

The establishment of the FIA’s MENA region in 2011, a development driven by Sulayem, effectively brought 22 national sporting authorities together to work towards common goals.

The Doha assembly was attended by senior officials from each of these countries, namely Algeria, Bahrain, Cyprus, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, UAE and Yemen.