Teenage Emirati motorsport sensation Amna Al Qubaisi was left “feeling like a Formula One driver” after her first unofficial testing ahead of her Formula 4 debut in 2018.
The 17-year-old, who will become the first Arab female to race in the competition after signing a deal with Prema team, sponsored by Kaspersky Lab, got her first feel of being behind the wheel of the car that will see her go head-to-head against some of the world’s most promising racers.
Amna completed various 10-lap sessions at Yas Marina Circuit late last night and was left in awe.
“I had this mini moment of, ‘oh my gosh this is how a Formula One driver feels on this track’, and it was simply great,” she said. “I really enjoy driving the car as it’s with a good setup and I love the speed.”
It’s a much different challenge to what she was used to last season, having enjoyed numerous success in karting including becoming the first Emirati to win the UAE senior Rotax Max Challenge.
Formula One remains her main target and by joining the fourth-tier of the competition, she has every chance of achieving that goal. F4 is the first step for many rising stars of motorsport and racers can receive FIA Super Licence points, which are required to drive in F1.
— Denzil M Pinto (@denz_360) June 14, 2017
And after just a few hours on the track, the Daman Speed Academy junior is already feeling the difference between the two disciplines.
“It’s totally different to karting,” she said. “In this type of racing, it happens so quickly and the shifting and braking is a bit of a challenge as I have to brake much harder than you would do in karting, but there’s other issues like making sure you are racing in the correct line and judging the corners correctly. It’s a whole new experience.
“It requires a lot of fitness especially in the arms. Shifting is not really new to me and have driven vehicles that involves shifting but it’s a really good experience.”
More testing sessions are planned later this year, which could include her travelling to Europe to drive the car – something that she’s looking forward to.
She added: “I will have more five or six sessions at Yas Marina Circuit but in a few months time I will be testing in Europe. Testing that on a different track to what I’m not used to will be will be a challenge. At this stage, it’s all about getting used to the feel of the car and once that passes by, I’ll worry about the timings.”
Since her deal, she has been busy spending more time in the gym as well as giving interviews to UAE and international media. “It’s been really good as I’ve spoken to some media organisations, including BBC, and it really has helped me a lot to build my confidence and hopefully it will inspire other Arab women to take up sport.”
Nour El Sherbini insists she will learn from the pain of defeat and come back stronger next season after losing to Laura Massaro at the season-ending PSA Dubai World Series Finals.
The reigning world champion and world number one, 21, was whitewashed 3-0 by veteran Massaro, 33, at Dubai Opera on Saturday, having battled back from 1-0 down and an injured wrist in Friday’s semi-final against Camille Serme to reach the showpiece.
The Egyptian lost two tight opening sets 11-8 and 12-10 before losing her composure in the third in which she was beaten easily 11-5 as Massaro retained her title in Dubai.
But, as in most sports, you tend to learn more from your defeats rather than your victories, and El Sherbini certainly intends to grow from this loss.
“It’s important to take the positives from defeat. At the end of the season I lost in the final so I’m definitely going to take the positives and learn from the bad things,” said the Alexandria native, who claimed she’d not enjoyed the best of campaigns despite retaining her world championship crown in her homeland against compatriot Raneen El Welily in April.
“Take a negative and try to improve it. Every loss is a lesson, not a bad thing. Throughout the whole season I did not enjoy the best results that I wanted so I will try to improve a bit and change a lot of things in my training and see how next season goes.”
Massaro’s victory saw her edge to 7-4 ahead in the head to head against El Sherbini, and the youngster admitted experience is something that will also improve the more she plays her fellow elite players.
“Definitely it (experience) plays a part,” she added. “She’s been playing for so long and has more experience. I don’t remember how many times we played but she beats me a lot. It’s a thing I have to think about in the future.”
Dubai Sports World has welcomed top sport academies once again, with the venue offering a variety of thrilling sports all under one roof throughout the summer.
The region’s largest indoor summer sports arena provides arrange of sports, including football, cricket, tennis and much more.
The seventh edition of Dubai Sports World started on the first of this month and is ideal for keeping residents fit and active every summer by bringing over 10 leading sports academies that will thrill and engage youth of all ages and skill levels.
A new addition is Juventus Academy Dubai, which offers the best in professional European football coaching for boys and girls between the ages of four to 17. It’s aimed to help young footballers take their first steps into the world of football by educating them about the game.
The Zayed Abbas Tennis Academy also joins DSW’s roster of leading academies, offering padel enthusiasts the opportunity to play in a custom-built glass court.
For aspiring footballers, DSW features International Football Academy, offering five-day camps and open for youth aged four to 16 years, and KAFO Academy, providing youth a wide variety of programmes where sessions are jam-packed with drills, themed directional practices and small-sided games.
G-Force Cricket Academy returns with coaching clinics, tournaments and lessons to improve form and develop mental and physical attributes.
The popular, purpose-built Skate & BMX Park by Rage is also back with an array of rails, grind boxes, fun boxes and ramps designed to bring the best out of both beginners and seasoned skaters.
Big baseliner hitters can be a part of nail-biting matches too as Tennis 360 returns to DSW this year. Committed to providing a fun-packed schedule of indoor tennis coaching, they will offer a broad range of coaching programmes for ages three and above.
DSW will be welcoming academies like Shuttle Time Dubai, Dubai Pro Wrestling Academy and Ping Pong Dubai, along with a state-of-the-art fitness gymnasium by Technogym and Fitness 360 and a running track.
For more information about the academies and to reserve a pitch, contact 04 306 4000 or visit www.dubaisportsworld.ae.