Emirati runner Amna Al-Qubaisi shows her bravery as she sets the pace for female drivers in the region
What Amna Al-Qubaisi lacks in physicality, she more than makes up for in bravery and courage.
The 21-year-old Emirati driver, who races for Abu Dhabi Racing, suffered a serious accident earlier this year which severely damaged her F3 car.
A week later, she was back behind the wheel.
It was an eventful start for his participation in the Formula Regional Asian Championship.
“I had stopped running for a year and coming back to it, getting back into rhythm took me a while,” Al-Qubaisi told Arab News on the sidelines of the #WhatSheSaid conference, a panel of inspiring female athletes from around the world. Region.
“In my first race weekend, I got my first points, so it started really well. And then I had this big crash, and I had to start gaining that confidence to get back into the groove. .
“But overall it was a really good race weekend and I managed to close the gap for my teammates.”
Those teammates happen to be his father, Emirati racing legend Khaled, and his 19-year-old sister Hamda. Amna enjoyed establishing athletic relationships with her family.
“It was really, really nice. I was expecting a lot of arguing and fighting,” she said. “But overall it was like a bonding moment. We gave each other advice, we helped each other on the track, with the wake and everything. So that was really nice.
The fun doesn’t mean there weren’t challenges, but the sibling rivalry worked to the team’s advantage.
“There is also a lot of pressure (on each other) with my sister, as she competed in F4 and then F3,” Al-Qubaisi said.
“We’ve seen a lot of people on social media comparing us, in terms of experience, and we’re trying to shut that down and not let that affect our relationship. So we take things as they are, we help each other and we’re both good in our own way.
Abu Dhabi Racing clinched an impressive fourth place in the Asian Formula Regional Championship. Above all, Al-Qubaisi was running at the highest level of his career so far.
“It was very difficult, especially driving the car; it was very physical,” she said.
“The regional formula car is a really heavy car, much heavier than FIA F3, so physically it was really difficult to overcome. But pace-wise I was there. It’s just a matter of consistency, try to be more focused and put things together.
“It took me time to adapt to it while I was away for a year. So I was training in the gym, I just didn’t have the same feeling of being in the car.
Since debuting in karting at Yas Marina and Al-Ain Racecourse at the age of nine, Al-Qubaisi has set an example for other aspiring female drivers in the United Arab Emirates and the region. . Slowly, others are also starting to move up the ladder.
“I heard in our team that there are two girls who compete in karting, and they are doing quite well,” she said. “I also heard that a young Emirati woman was competing in Europe. So we are seeing a few girls getting into the sport and creating more awareness of the sport. So hopefully we can see them in single-seaters too, or maybe even GT cars.
With government support in terms of funding, programs and facilities, there has never been a better time for young drivers to get into racing.
“I think people should take full advantage of (what’s on offer),” she said.
“We have very good leads. We have an F1 track, Yas Marina has a school where they provide opportunities for people who want to make racing a career, a sport. They host many races at Yas Marina, as well as Dubai Autodrome. I think you really have to take advantage of it because it’s also at a low price. It is much cheaper than what Europe charges. So they help the racing community.
For now, the Al-Qubaisi family remains firmly in control, in every way, and Amna has high hopes for the future.
“Next season we are thinking of doing some races in Europe,” she said. “And I still hope for F3 Asia.”