As well as backing Citroen’s all-conquering works squad in 2013, which will include Al-Qassimi in its revamped driver line-up, Abu Dhabi is teaming up with the French make to unearth future talents from the region by restarting its successful young driver development programme, which last ran in 2011.
Last weekend, Mohammed Al-Mutawaa (left) and Mohammed Al-Ali (right) were selected for a Middle East championship campaign in 2013 using Citroen DS3 R3s following a three-day assessment. Al-Qassimi will also contest the Middle East series alongside his WRC programme with Citroen in a DS3 Regional Rally Car.
“It’s much more than a sponsorship agreement,” Matton said. “We are doing the World Rally Championship, we are doing the Middle East Rally Championship and we will set up a junior programme also in the Middle East [with] a junior selection. We will also see which way we can be active in motorsport in the future, not only in the WRC but maybe the World Touring Car Championship.”