Abu Dhabi F1: Emirati teenager Amna does UAE proud
The Emirati teenager clinched Race 1 of the F4UAE Trophy Round in Abu Dhabi - a first-of-its-kind achievement in the Middle East region. The UAE national anthem was played to honour an Emirati winner during the Formula One Abu Dhabi Grand Prix at Yas Marina Circuit.
Starting on pole positon, the 19-year-old led from start to finish in her Abu Dhabi Racing car no. 88, sporting the UAE flag. Following her victory lap, Amna emerged from er car, pointed to the sky and then leapt to hug her parents. She was in tears as supporters congratulated her.
Emotions ran high on the podium, when Amna was awarded the trophy with the UAE national anthem played in the background. An Emirati had just announced her arrival on the biggest stage of all - Formula One Grand Prix.
"I am very proud to be the first Emirati and Arab driver on podium of Formula 4. I thank my family and all the supporters. I dedicate this win to my country and the leadership," Amna told reporters after her victory.
Amna made a strong start to the race for Abu Dhabi Racing. In the early laps she was engaged in wheel-to-wheel battle with Xcel Motorsport's Nicola Marinangeli. Third-placed Alex Connor breathing down the neck of Marinangeli helped Amna pull forward. And there was no let up as Amna dominated the 25-minute race throughout the end.
Meanwhile, her sister Hamda, who started on fourth spot, slipped a place by the end. She was in midst of an intriguing fight for the third spot with Connor and Tijmen van der Helm. The 17-year-old kept hunting for an opportunity to pass Connor and Helm, both of whom always closed the gap. But Hamda lost her focus and was later passed by Jordan's debutant Manan Hajjawi, who finished fourth. Helm suffered a suspension failure and Connor finished third behind Marinangeli.
Khaled, father of Al Qubaisi sisters and the UAE's first motorsport star, was jubilant.
"I'm extremely proud of my daughters. They made the whole UAE proud. 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 of 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."
Now both the sisters will be in action one more time on Sunday for the second race of F4 UAE.