Amna Al Qubaisi (centre) celebrates after winning the first race of the F4UAE’s Trophy Round at Yas Marina Circuit on Saturday.
Emirati driver Amna Al Qubaisi led from start to finish first in the race 1 of the F4UAE’s Trophy Round at Yas Marina Circuit on Saturday. The 19-year-old led from pole and held off an early challenge from Nicola Marinangeli before pulling away to take victory in the 25-minute race.
The top two would be in a class of their own at the front, but the battle for third would be fierce.
Dutchman Tijmen van der Helm held off a gaggle of cars throughout, but on the final lap, he suffered a suspension failure approaching Turn 8, promoting Alex Connor onto the podium for Xcel Motorsport.
Jordan’s Manaf Hijjawi would drop down to eighth from sixth on the grid at the start, but made some strong overtakes to eventually claim fourth.
He would lead the second Qubaisi sister Hamda in fifth for Abu Dhbai Racing and Nico Goehler in sixth.
Portugal’s Rodrigo Almeida followed in seventh, with Logan Hannah moving up from the back of the grid to eighth for Dream Racing.
Mehrbod Shameli held position in ninth as Austrian Constantin Reisch completed the top 10.
Van der Helm would be classified 11th despite his late crash, as Reema Juffali finished a lap down and Ivan Peklin retired.
Race 2 will take place on Sunday at Yas Marina, with Amna looking to conduct a clean sweep of the F4UAE Trophy Round.
Khaled Al Qubaisi, father of Amna and Hamda, said: “I am extremely proud of my daughters, they made the whole UAE proud today, and that’s all what we wanted — to raise the UAE flag up high in this extremely important event held in our beloved country.
“This is crowning all the efforts that went into getting them to this point. Thanks to His Highness Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, for supporting motorsports and young talent.”
Like their father, both girls made their way into karting with Amna breaking out into single-seaters in 2018, becoming the first Emirati female racing driver to reach that level in the process.
This year saw the 19-year-old attempt to join the newly created W-Series, an all-female championship aimed at increasing participation in motorsport.
She continued her development by enjoying a second season in Italian F4 as a result.
As for Hamda, her story is still in its early stages with the 17-year-old making two appearances alongside her sister in Italy this year.
Juffali, who made one of her first appearances in competitive racing at the F4 British Championship at Brands Hatch in April, has only about a year of professional racing experience under her belt.
But she has had a passion for fast cars since her teenage years and grew up watching Formula One. She passed her driving test after she moved to the US to study some years ago, and is now one of only a handful of Saudi woman to have obtained a “racing licence” in her home country, a mandatory requirement to race professionally.
Juffali said her dream is to one day race at Le Mans -- a 24 hour competition in France that is one of the world’s most prestigious and grueling competitions.
Considered one of the most important additions to the UAE’s local motorsport calendar back in 2016, F4UAE has been instrumental in developing young driver talent over the last three seasons, with 46 different drivers from 32 countries competing since inception.
“The F4UAE Championship has grown to be one of the best platforms for new talented drivers to expand their careers, ” said Mohammed Ben Sulayem, President of the Emirates Motorsports Organization (EMSO), and FIA Vice President for Sport.
“The UAE has a long history of motorsport success that is recognised around the world, and we are proud to lead the way in giving every driver the opportunity to be a successful racing driver no matter if they are male or female. It’s very exciting to have the women part of the championship and we wish them a lot of success.”
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