1st FIA World Council meeting in region welcomed by V-P ME

Published March 9th, 2010 - 09:23 GMT
FIA Vice President Mohammed Ben Sulayem travels to Manama on Tuesday (March 9) to attend a meeting of the World Motor Sport Council (WMSC) which is being held for the very first time in the Middle East, underlying the region’s growing importance in the world of motor sport.
Also, a separate meeting of all FIA Vice Presidents will be held on the sidelines of the WMSC on Wednesday, March 10, the second such meeting following FIA President Jean Todt’s election last October, signalling a move towards decentralisation of power and distribution of work.
The agenda also includes two other meetings, the FIA Institute meeting in particular expected to touch upon safety in motor sport.
Ahead of his departure for Manama, Sulayem welcomed hosting of the WMSC in Bahrain, noting: “That a meeting of the WMSC is being held in the Middle East for the very first time underlines the region’s increasing influence in the world of motor sport.
“Obviously, everybody is happy with the pace of development of the sport here and having this meeting in the Middle East sends the right signals, that the administrators of the sport at the highest levels are acknowledging the growing importance of motor sport in the region,” Sulayem added.
When in Bahrain, Sulayem will also seek to secure candidate event status for the proposed Rally Abu Dhabi and for its eventual inclusion as a round on the World Rally Championship (WRC) calendar for 2011.
“Motor sport has come a long way here (in the UAE), and I am convinced that now is the right time to bring the WRC to Abu Dhabi.
“Bringing a round of the WRC to the UAE will also be beneficial to the region as a whole because it will serve as a platform to further promote and develop the sport in the Middle East,” Sulayem said.
Noting that the WRC is the second championship of the FIA and very important as it has the largest number of live spectators in comparison to any other sport with over 11 million annual and almost a billion TV viewers, Sulayem said the Championship has many unique qualities that should be promoted.
“There is a need to further improve promotion of the WRC by reorganising the championship to cater to the needs of all stakeholders,” Sulayem said, pointing out that while the current rotation system was an experiment a fixed calendar is the way to go forward.
As President of the Automobile & Touring Club of the UAE, Sulayem created the region's first top-flight motorsport event, the UAE Desert Challenge in 1991, renamed as the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge in 2009, and which is now round one of both the FIA Cross Country Rally World Cup and the FIM Cross Country Rallies World Championship.
The 2010 edition of the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge takes place from March 27 to April 1.

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