Five minutes with Abdulaziz Al-Kuwari
Written by Chris Anderson
Qatari rally driver Abdulaziz Al-Kuwari recently wrapped up an intensive year of competition, taking part in both the World Rally Championship and Middle East Rally Championship calendars. With his father and grandfather rally drivers before him, the need for speed was always in his blood.
How has 2015 been for you?
It’s been busy. The Middle East Rally Championship has eight races, and I did seven as I missed Lebanon, and in the World Rally Championship I did seven in total there too. What helped me in that one was winning the rally in Argentina, and that really gave me confidence for the rest of the season.
It’s amazing that rallying runs in your family…
Yes, my father used to be a rally champion, and before that my grandfather was the first ever rally driver in Qatar. I have four uncles, and they used to drive too – one of them, Abdullah, is still a driver. Then my younger brother, Nasser, used to be my co-driver. He’s my manager now, and maybe he’s going to be a driver soon. But this is normal for me.
Tell us about the car you drive.
In both championships I have the same model, a Ford Fiesta RRC, but there are different specifications for each.
What advice would you give someone wanting to be a rally driver?
It’s not just about driving. You need to practise a lot, sure, but you also need to educate yourself in terms of the rules and techniques, and know all of that before you start. You need to concentrate and listen to your co-driver, and know it’s a very expensive sport, needing spare parts, special tyres, and even fuel.
You must get a lot of support.
I’m very lucky. My sponsor is the Ministry of Youth & Sports Qatar, and they are really good to me, supporting me in both championships.
What else would you like to achieve in your career?
At the moment in the World Rally Championship I race in WRC2, which is the second class, and of course I would like to be in the first category and win the title. But I am happy so far. I started rallying in 2003, but it was 2013 when it got serious for me, as that year in my first full WRC2 season I won three races and came second in the championship overall. So my career is going well.
What do you do when you aren’t rallying?
If I’m at home in Qatar, I don’t drive. I just work on my fitness with my personal trainer. I’m also the father of four children, so I will spend time with them and maybe play some tennis – I used to be a Qatar tennis champion, in my youth, and I won gold medals. I played a lot of football too. But when rally driving runs in your family... that’s what I really love doing.
Follow Abdulaziz on Twitter: @Azizsaadon