Thursday 25 April 2019

Formula E drivers 'discovering' new Saudi Arabia

RIYADH, December 15, 2018

Formula E drivers have been discovering Saudi Arabia and electrifying the local community as the 2018 ‘Saudia’ Ad Diriyah E-Prix festivities get underway.
Having already been mesmerised by the stunning Unesco World Site of Ad Diriyah which is home to the new race track, drivers also took in the timeless beauty of Masmak Fort. 
Built in 1865, the archaeological treasure has a special place in the heart of Saudis being a key location in the consolidation of the Kingdom under King Abdulaziz, the founder of modern Saudi Arabia.
Oliver Turvey, from the United Kingdom was part of a trio of drivers from team NIO who yesterday (December 13) took the opportunity to learn more about the fort’s heritage and history. He also took the time to look ahead to the big race, which makes Formula E’s debut in the Middle East. 
He said: “I am really enjoying being here in a different culture. We want to show that electric cars are fast and strong.”
Teammate Tom Dilmann was already anticipating Saturday’s action. He said: “The track looks exciting, I’m really looking forward to it and am very excited for the race. Showing that we can race electric cars in the city, the future is here.”
Jammy Chadwick, also from the UK, will be part of racing history in Saudi Arabia when she joins several other women on the starting grid of a ‘Rookie Test’ to discover new Formula E talent.
She said: “This will be my first proper official test this Sunday, it’s a huge opportunity for me to learn and try the experience. It’s a positive message to have female drivers competing for the first time in Saudi, it sends a clear message of welcoming to everyone.”
It was back to the future for drivers from the Mahindra Racing as they warmed up for the big race of Saturday taking on local competition, in the form of excited school children, at the Doos Karting Track in Riyadh.
They were cheered on by His Royal Highness Prince Khalid bin Sultan Al Faisal Al Saud, President of the Saudi Arabian Motor Federation, who joined the fun.
Jérôme d'Ambrosio, Felix Rosenqvist and Nick Heidfeld were put through their paces by children from King Faisal elementary and Trbiyah Namouthajiyah Schools.
Noura Al Shebani, 12, and Fahad Al Shenefi, 8, had the ‘time of their lives’ racing against the Formula E drivers. Noura, after the race, told the race drivers: “If I had a little bit more time I could have won.”
Belgian racer Jerome d’Ambrosio said: “We always have a wonderful and fun time karting. It reminds us of when we were young. Karting is almost how all racing drivers start, and we enjoy every opportunity like this one to just have fun.”
Meanwhile, Swedish driver Rosenqvist loved that the go-karts were electric, in keeping with the rather much bigger race about to unfold on Saturday.
He said: “Even at this level you can feel the instant power when coming out of a turn unlike Go Karts with combustion engines. It’s also better because when you can have indoor tracks which are very convenient in Saudi.”


Tags: Saudi Arabia |

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