Muscat: The 32 successful candidates who earned places in the inaugural Oman Youth Rally Cup (OYRC) can look forward to a new challenge on two fronts as part of the Safety First initiative in the Sultanate. They are being presented with a unique opportunity to compete and develop careers in the world of rallying, while simultaneously adopting key roles as Oman's next generation of road-safety ambassadors.
"This is an exciting day for everyone involved in this project, especially for the 32 young Omanis who will now join our ever-growing team," said Hamed Al Wahaibi, founder of Safety First, at an official press conference on Saturday night at the Oman Automobile Association headquarters in Seeb.
"They have made a tremendous effort to get here today, and we look forward to working with them to achieve our main objectives, which are to raise road-safety awareness in Oman and to create future rally champions. "Through the OYRC, we aim to persuade other youngsters and people of all ages, that there is no place for racing on our roads. Racing should take place only in the kind of properly controlled motorsport environment we are developing."
Conceived by Safety First, the Sultanate's leading, independent, not-for-profit, road-safety campaigning organisation, the OYRC is officially supported by Oman Air Cargo and Oman Sail.
"We are indebted to Oman Air Cargo and Oman Sail for the support and encouragement they are providing to Safety First," remarked Al Wahaibi. "We share a common goal: to contribute to the future prosperity of Oman."
Rashid Al Kindi, National Sailing Team Manager of Oman Sail, whose star sailors are real Omani role models on the international stage, stated, "The people of the Sultanate can be grateful to Safety First for its commitment to make our roads safer. "We applaud this latest initiative by Hamed and his hard-working team because it creates opportunities for young Omanis to express themselves in the sporting arena and to make positive and effective contributions to the community in which they live."
Of the 32 young Omanis selected to take part in the 2013 OYRC, 28 were separated into four teams of seven members to compete in all five rounds of this year's Oman Rally Championship. Each team consists of a driver, co-driver, and five technicians.
Of the other four candidates selected, two will alternate as the driver and co-driver in one of the teams, while the remaining two will work as the team's captain and co-ordinator throughout the programme.
Starting this week, the teams will undergo professional training in first aid, fire fighting, CPR, defensive driving, road safety, rally driving, and navigation.
They will also receive training in communication, sports psychology, media relations, presentation, sponsor relations, and the commercial aspects of rally driving and will undergo continuous fitness assessments and interviews.
Using specially designed Toyota Yaris that were built and tested in the Sultanate for rallying, the teams will compete in a special category within the Oman Rally Championship, which stages the first of five rounds next month and will reach its conclusion in December.
In addition, the 32 young Omanis will take part in a year-long series of community activities designed to encourage the general public in the Sultanate to become safer drivers. The winning team will automatically qualify for the 2014 OYRC.
2013 OYRC teams:
Team Red: Driver Said Rashid Al Ghaithi; co-driver Mannan Al Rawahi; technicians Sami Saif Al Salmi, Ammar Saif Al Mamari, Ahmed Al Abri, Nawaf Hussain Al Bulushi and Haitham Tariq Khalfan Al Gihannami.
Team Blue: Driver Zakariya Ahmed Al Aufi; co-driver Issa Mohammed Ahmed Al Wardi; technicians Ayoub Sulaiman Al Mahrami, Moath Salim Said Al Riyami, Salem Sultan Al Mamari, Bader Saud Mohammed Al Sibani, and Mawan Ahmed Al Subhi.
Team White: Driver Ehab Ahmed Al Zadjali; co-driver Mazin Muhanna Al-Nadabi; technicians Jarah Hamood