UAE: Saudi driver Abdullah Bamogaddam wins regional FIA Academy qualifier in Abu Dhabi

Saudi Arabia’s Abdullah Bamogaddam with Dr. Mohammed Ben Sulayem after earning selection in Abu Dhabi to the FIA Institute’s 2013/14 Young Driver Excellence Academy.

Abu Dhabi, UAE, 25 September, 2013: After an intensive three days of tests and evaluations at Abu Dhabi’s Yas Marina Circuit, Saudi Arabia’s Abdullah Bamogaddam has earned selection to the FIA Institute’s 2013/14 Young Driver Excellence Academy.

Bamogaddam won his place on the fully-funded Academy programme based on his overall display on the track, in the classroom and in the gymnasium during the Middle East and Mediterranean selection event at the home of November’s F1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

He now has the opportunity to follow in the footsteps of previous participants in the Academy who have gone on to great things, including Formula One drivers Robin Frijns and Alex Rossi, and Volkswagen factory World Rally Championship drivers Andreas Mikkelsen and Kevin Abbring.

But there were no losers in Abu Dhabi, as each of the other 14 other young drivers who had been nominated by the national motor sport authorities in their own countries gained invaluable knowledge and experience to help them in their careers.

“I’m very excited, it’s a wonderful feeling,” said 19-year-old Bamogaddam, who was acclaimed as the winner by Dr. Mohammed Ben Sulayem, President of the Automobile and Touring Club of the UAE, who organised the selection event, one of five being staged worldwide, on behalf of the FIA Institute.

“I’m joining the best motor sport academy in the world, with the best trainers, the best facilities, the best of everything, so it will help me a lot in my career.”

Sulayem, the FIA Vice President for Sport, commented: “We’re proud and delighted to have been chosen by the FIA Institute to host this event, and I have been so impressed by the quality of everything that has been done here over the last three days.

“Abdullah now has a great opportunity to take his career to another level through the Academy programme, and each of the other drivers will go away from Abu Dhabi with more valuable knowledge and experience, and more friends in the motor sport community.”

The final day of the selection event featured a classroom session on sports science, before the 15 drivers were quizzed by the judging panel, consisting of ATCUAE Motorsport Director Ronan Morgan, senior driving instructor Norbert Filipits and the FIA Institute’s Kate Robson.

Six drivers were then chosen for a shoot-out, with Kuwait’s Zaid Ashkanani (19), Georgia’s Irakli Chkheidze (22), Syria’s Yazan Hamadeh (20), Cypriot Panikos Polykarpou (22), Turkey’s Gun Tasdelen (19) and Bamogaddam each setting off on timed laps of the Grand Prix circuit in the brand new high performance Nissan 370Zs used throughout three days of driving tests.

Ultimately, the choice of Bamogaddam as the regional winner was based not only on the shoot-out and all-round driving skills displayed over the three days, but also on physical fitness, mental sharpness, and ability to deal with the pressures and responsibilities faced in top level motor sport.

Meanwhile, Chkheidze, Ashkanani, Hamadeh, Polykarpou and Tasdelen could yet earn one of the three wild card places in the Academy which will be awarded after the last of the five regional qualifying events has been held.

Beginning in November, the next Academy provides a fully-funded training programme which aims to help drivers develop their motor sport careers, whilst increasing safety skills and actively promoting the principles of safety, fairness and responsibility on and off the track.

Caption: Saudi Arabia’s Abdullah Bamogaddam with Dr. Mohammed Ben Sulayem after earning selection in Abu Dhabi to the FIA Institute’s 2013/14 Young Driver Excellence Academy.

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