GP2

Asia: Qi-Meritus.Mahara Team meets the media

Qi-Meritus.Mahara GP2 Team introduces itself to the press and the Motorsport world GP2 Asia is a new exciting series where the Qi-MERITUS.MAHARA team represents a strong link between two worlds: an Asian world with a team based in Malaysia which...

Qi-Meritus.Mahara GP2 Team introduces itself to the press and the Motorsport world

GP2 Asia is a new exciting series where the Qi-MERITUS.MAHARA team represents a strong link between two worlds: an Asian world with a team based in Malaysia which is virtually the Ambassador of Malaysian Motorsport Abroad and the Middle Easter through it Saudi partner Raad S.ABDULJAWAD.

Last night the prestigious Dubai Press Club was the venue of a very special and unique event for passionate Motorsport fans. They were offered the opportunity to see the official introduction of the GP2 Asia Series for Team Qi-Meritus. This is a new team, and at the same time, an attractive business opportunity that allows its partners to become directly involved in the business of Motorsport thus combining business and pleasure in a rewarding sport. Additionally it is a sporting environment that gives worldwide visibility, a global communication platform, and at the same time, creates opportunities for young drivers to aspire to higher levels of racing.

Last Saturday when the cars rolled out for the first time ever in their history onto the pit lane at the Dubai Autodrome the entire team was very proud even though they knew that the competition would not be easy despite the team's technical director and engineers striving as hard as they could with all available technology to provide the drivers with a winning car.

After four days of tests at the Dubai track, the team accepted the invitation of the Dubai Press Club and officially launched their 2008 line up with drivers Luca FILIPPI and Hiroki YOSHIMOTO. The Malaysian based team will compete in the Championship under Saudi licence.

Three directors have founded the new Asian-Middle East team: Malaysian national Firhat Mokzhani, Malaysian based Peter THOMPSON, and Saudi Raad ABDULJAWAD. Between Raad ABDULJAWAD and Peter THOMPSON, it has always been about racing. They have met racing, when Raad ABDULJAWAD was a young driver and raced for Meritus twenty years ago in Formula Open Lotus. Then they renewed their relationship around the time of the first Bahrain Grand Prix on April 4, 2004 and decided to fund and start a new team. Meanwhile the proven GP2 format encouraged them to combine forces and move the Meritus brand forward.

For the two team owners, this part of the world is ready for other forms of motorsports including high level competition. "The Bahrain GP, the Dubai Autodrome, and now the new Abu Dhabi GP have created increasingly greater awareness of Motorsport in the Middle East. The international events that these circuits have hosted are fostering development of local interest in the sport. Arab drivers are already competing in international events. The number of the races being held is developing within the framework of a five year plan. The quality of the races is clearly getting better" according to Saudi partner Raad S. ABDULJAWAD.

As part of this developing awareness of the sport, Qi-Meritus.Mahara have created a local team for drivers and fans to support. The team's title sponsor QI, is inviting, through their local company, one thousand guests on race week-end. One thousand guests are a lot of people in a grandstand! They will all get a chance to place their grandstand ticket in a box and win a car.

During the press conference, attended by a large number of Dubai and international media and TV, Peter THOMPSON summed up the activities of the team since they arrived in the UAE: "It has been a good four days at Dubai Autodrome. The cars have been finishing in the top ten of the classification every day. The new team engineers, the new mechanics and the engineers and drivers are blending in very well. The results show clearly on the track after 200 laps for each car over these four days."

Observing the times of the testing sessions, Peter THOMPSON added: "If you base it on testing position Qi-Meritus.Mahara are the second highest placed team over the four days." Obviously it is easy to say. Let's see how it goes in the race as past results, experience and energy will no doubt contribute to a great and durable success of the Qi-Meritus.Mahara GP2 team. Luca FILIPPI tamped up the emotions of assembled guests as he state that the new 2008 season will be "a tough season for the team", but that also that the red Qi-MERITUS.MAHARA will be a tough team for the other competitors. As for Hiroki YOSHIMOTO he smiled and said: "I feel ready. We were late getting the package together, but I know the car. I am very comfortable with the team. I have known Peter Thompson since last November 2007, when he called me to give me the offer to race in Zhuhai for his Asian Formula Renault V6. It was a very constructive and useful experience and we got to know each other better. The reputation of his team is solid throughout Asia. So since November after our win together, we maintained close contact".

Qi-Meritus.Mahara , a team with a rich heritage. The Malaysian Meritus team name is based on a word with Latin roots. Because the company's competitive culture is expressed as "winning is business", the word "Meritus" is an appropriate term to reflect the passion and dedication as well as rewards and good results earned by the team throughout its history. Through its results the team contributes a lot to the sport, supplying professional services. Mahara is the Arabic translation of the team brand MERITUS and it stands for "the skill and proficiency exhibited in one's profession". The meaning of the Chinese Qi is similar and evokes winning even if it "takes a 100 000 miles of efforts." Peter THOMPSON explained: "The team has won much recognition throughout the years. They have established a winning culture within Motorsport. Good results and the milestones attained have created Motorsport heroes. In our team, young drivers starting their career have established their name step by step. Through solid results, points, podiums and championships they have obtained world recognition because of their racing achievements.

In the logo of the name of the team there is also the representation of a fast animal, a stylized antelope, or rather the gazelle, a symbol of speed. They are swift animals able to reach speeds as high as 50 miles per hour and sustaining this pace for long periods of time. Although mostly found in the grasslands and savannas of Africa, they are also native of southwest Asia. The red color branding background of the logo and the livery of the car is as dynamic as this team that is stepping out for the first time in the new GP2 Asia Championship.

Talking about animals, an interesting photo session awaited the team in front of the Dubai press club: A camel and two falcons were presented to the drivers posing next to their car. The photo session went on until every possible picture had been shot and every possible question was asked to the team's management and its drivers. The sensationally dressed camel wearing an ancient Arab saddle colorfully embroidered was very patient and never manifested a desire to go home, perhaps enjoying being in the limelight. Serious things start again tomorrow at the track.

"I am proud of this moment and I am very thankful to you all for being with us now. I ask the press to support our enterprise and Motorsport in general as much as they can, in order that Arabian sponsors can visually feel the benefits of motorsports that can be generated." concluded Raad S. ABDULJAWAD.

-credit: meritusracing.com

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Series GP2