F4UAE-Amna Al Qubaisi
Team Abu Dhabi's Amna Al Qubaisi has tears of joy as she celebrates her moment of triumph with father Khaled Al Qubaisi on Saturday. Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: The UAE and Abu Dhabi Racing driver Amna Al Qubaisi wants to keep the country’s flag flying after winning the first race of the Trophy Round in the F4UAE Championship powered by Abarth at the Yas Marina Circuit on Saturday.

One of four girls on the F4UAE grid this weekend, Amna started from pole to win the 25-minute first race 3.644 seconds clear of the Xcel Motorsport duo of Nicola Marinangeli and 7.351 seconds away from Alex Connor. Dragon Racing’s Manaf Hijjawi came in fourth while Amna’s younger sister Hamda took fifth in an incident-free race.

Amna was overwhelmed with the success. “I feel amazing. I can’t describe the emotion at this moment,” an emotional Amna told Gulf News as she went on to hug her father Khalid — who has his own bit of history when he became the first Emirati to compete at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in France while claiming two podiums.

“This is just so overwhelming at this point and I will need time for this to sink in. The plan now will be to carry forward this momentum into tomorrow’s [Sunday] second race,” the 19-year-old added.

A former karting champion, Amna and her younger sister Hamda have been making an impression on the local racing scene. Amna competed in her second season of the Italian F4 Championship, where she claimed 10 top-20 finishes with her best being a 12th place at Adria in 2018. Her list of accolades so far includes becoming the first woman to win both the UAE RMC Champion karting title in 2016 and the GCC Drivers Academy Competition in 2017.

She was also the first woman from the Middle East to take part in a motorsport test programme for Formula E after the Al Diriyah ePrix event in Saudi Arabia.

Open to all drivers aged 15 and above, the F4UAE Championship is run in accordance with the FIA guidelines and is intended as a first step for drivers aiming to make the transition from karting into competitive circuit racing. After a debuting in the 2016-17 season under the banner of the AUH Motorsports, the fourth running of the FIA-certified open-wheeler championship will be in January 2020.