The Qatar Motor and Motorcycle Federation (QMMF) and its President Nasser Al-Attiyah are leading the way in helping to encourage more women into motor sport. The Federation, in association with the FIA Women in Motorsport Commission (WIMC), announced it will host a worldwide women’s cross country rally selection and training programme which will result in a driver and co-driver being offered a fully-funded drive in the 2016 Sealine Cross Country Rally.

President of QMMF, Nasser Al Attiyah, said:

We’re absolutely delighted to create a training camp to support and promote the participation of women in motor sport, especially in the discipline of cross country rallying. It is with great pride that we welcome all participants to share our country, traditions and to provide challenging terrain for them to learn and experience.’

The call for candidates for the ‘WIMC-QMMF Women’s Cross Country Selection’, launched through the FIA’s global network of National Sporting Authorities (ASNs), appeals to individual women drivers and co-drivers aged between 18 and 35 to apply through their ASN for an initial selection process based on information provided in their curriculum vitae. Up to eight drivers and eight co-drivers from around the world will then be selected to attend a five-day training session in Qatar in November. Adding weight to the programme, Jutta Kleinschmidt, the first and only woman to win the legendary Dakar Rally, and FIA World Rally Championship and FIA World Cup for Cross Country Rallies event winning co-driver Fabrizia Pons will head the training in the desert.

President of the FIA Women in Motorsport Commission, Michèle Mouton, said:

This is an incredible opportunity and a great initiative by QMMF and its President. Cross country is a spectacular endurance discipline and one that really pushes competitors to their mental and physical limits. It’s a sport I also firmly believe more women can succeed at, as Jutta proved when she won Dakar in 2001. QMMF’s decision to set-up a training camp run by world-class competitors, and then provide a fully-funded drive in their round of the FIA World Cup for Cross Country Rallies is amazing and an exceptional opportunity that doesn’t come along often.’

Candidates for the WIMC-QMMF Women’s Cross Country Selection must hold a valid national and/or international license and apply to their ASN before the closing date of 1 September. The individually selected drivers and co-drivers must be prepared to fund their own travel to the five-day Qatar training camp and provide their own FIA approved race wear, but after this the Qatar Motor and Motorcycle Federation will fully host the participants during the training and selection process. Training will cover all the driving, equipment and navigational techniques required for cross country rallying, as well as mechanics and rally strategy.

The selected driver and co-driver will then embark on their five-day date with the desert on April 2016’s Sealine Cross Country Rally.