The focus of the first FIA Rally Star Training Season switches this weekend to Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi where the Middle East and North African Final winner will be crowned.
From Friday to Sunday, the Emirates Motorsports Organisation (EMSO) will host the FIA Rally Star Middle East and North African Final using purpose-built stage layouts located at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix venue.
Candidates from nine countries, dreaming of one day competing in the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC), will go for a life-changing opportunity by undertaking a series of timed tests and assessments.
The results will be used to determine who will join the FIA Rally Star European Final winner, Estonia’s Romet Jurgenson, in the inaugural FIA Rally Star Training Season in 2023.
EMSO President Khalid Bin Sulayem, said: “We are delighted to host the Middle East and North African FIA Rally Star final. Our mission is to develop motorsport at both national and international level, and rally has always occupied an important place in our country’s motorsport heritage.
“Last week some of the world’s best cross-country competitors were celebrated here during the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge, round two of the FIA World Rally-Raid Championship, and now the focus turns to grassroots rallying and the next generation of champions in the discipline.”
In total, 24 candidates will contest the FIA Rally Star Middle East and North African Final, having qualified within their country or as a wildcard.
Cyprus, Egypt, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar and the UAE are all represented in the Mena regional final at Yas. Tests include timed training runs in the TN5 Cross Car from FIA World Rally Championship driver Thierry Neuville’s LifeLive organisation.
It is the second of six FIA Rally Star Continental Finals in 2022, and follows January’s European Final held at the Estering in Germany. The results of the Continental Finals decide six of the seven FIA Rally Star Team members for 2023, with the seventh member coming from an all-female final contested later this year by the best-performing woman in each of the six Continental Finals.
The 2023 FIA Rally Star Training Season includes six rallies in an M-Sport Ford Fiesta Rally 3, as well as physical and intellectual assessment, driver coaching and testing. The aim is to equip the successful contestants with the attributes they need as they attempt to secure a drive in the FIA World Rally Championship in the future.
At the end of 2023, the best four FIA Rally Star Team members are rewarded with a season in the FIA Junior WRC Championship in 2024. For 2025, three drivers go forward into a second Junior WRC season. If one of the FIA Rally Star Team members wins the title, they secure a WRC2 campaign in a Rally 2 car for 2026, with a Rally 1 drive their next target.