Safety First, a road safety campaigning organisation in Oman, and Wahaibi Motor Sports (WMS), on Monday announced the launch of the Oman Youth Rally Cup (OYRC).
Announcing the details of the championship for age-group racers at the Grand Hyatt Hotel, international rally driver Hamad al Wahaibi said that it is aimed at using motor sports as a platform to create road safety awareness and also produce future rally champions. Wahaibi, who founded Safety First and runs WMS, is the key man behind Oman's first youth rally.
Wahaibi said, “The OYRC is a result of long planning. In my career as a rally driver, I have received a lot of support from my country. Through the Youth Rally Cup, I want to give something back to the country.” According to Wahaibi, the OYRC project costs nearly RO420,000 and a total of three teams will participate in the 2013 edition.
He said, “We have already spent RO260,000 on the OYRC. I hope the private sector will come forward to support us. If we don't get sponsors, we will still be committed towards the goal. “There is a three-fold objective of the youth event - to allow young Omanis to build their motor sport careers, to support engineering talent by providing them world-class training, and to enable the youth to contribute positively to the community.”
WMS and Safety First's initiative received support from Ahmad al Harthy, the Porsche Carrera Cup GB champion. Ahmad said, “It is an honour to be associated with this project. I believe Omani youth are highly talented. With our support, they can achieve success in and out of Oman.
I am always available for such a cause.” In the first season, the rally will comprise five stages, from March-December. Next month, the organisers will announce the three teams comprising six members each. Each team will consist of a driver (17-27 years of age), co-driver (17-32 yrs) and four technicians (16-27 yrs).
All three teams will drive Yaris cars, which are being modified for the tournament by WMS. Chris Hodgson, WMS official from the UK, said, “We are designing the cars according to the needs of the rally. The design makes them cost-effective, fast and strong.” H H Sayyid Tarik bin Shabib al Said, along with Wahaibi and Ahmad, unveiled the rally car.