(MENAFN - Muscat Daily) Zakariya al Aufi, the lead driver of the victorious White team in the inaugural Oman Youth Rally Cup (OYRC), believes that the year-long programme has earned him valuable experience and will help him focus on winning the 2014 Oman Rally Championship.
The winning team of the 2013 OYRC along with other participants of edition were awarded at Sunday's closing ceremony held under the auspices of H H Sayyid Faisal bin Turki al Said, vice-chairman of the Oman Special Olympics Committee, at the Grand Hyatt Hotel.
Aufi told Muscat Daily, ''It has been a wonderful experience in the OYRC. We think that rallying is only about driving. But there is much more to it than just about getting from one point to another. I will take the knowledge that I gathered during the year and pass it on to my peers.''
White team, which completed over 1,000km of rallying to finish on top in the overall leaderboard, comprised drivers Aufi and Hamed al Subhi, co-drivers Issa al Wardi and Mohammed al Mazroui, and technicians Ayoub al Mahrami, Moath al Riyami, Marwan al Subhi, Hassan al Barashdi and Maazin al Nabhani.
Members of White team received trophies for securing the highest cumulative score of 2,475 points. Red team won the first runner-up prize and Green team took the second runner-up's place.
Blue team was the fourth entry, but suffered damages in the first stage and pulled out of the OYRC.
Aufi started the OYRC with the Blue team but then switched to White after the pullout. He also finished third overall in last year's Oman Rally Championship.
Aufi said, ''We learned a lot of new things after joining the OYRC programme. We had proper training, a fitness regimen, diet plan and so on, which we didn't have earlier. We also learned technical knowhow, like fire-extinguishing, assisting mechanics, facing the media.''
His aim now is to find a sponsor before taking part in this year's Oman Rally Championship. He is also planning to take part in rally events across the GCC, but a lot will depend on his display in Oman Rally.
The OYRC began in January 2013 and was aimed at using motor sport as a platform to create road-safety ambassadors along with future rally champions.
It featured over 150 hours of skills-training, controlled driving, navigation, fire and safety, first aid, sports psychology, media management, communication and presentation skills.
All 32 participants were given trophies, medals and certificates based on their overall results, performance at fitness training, development of soft skills and contribution to road-safety.
Hamed al Wahaibi, Oman's rally stalwart who kick-started the OYRC project, said, ''This programme has been a massive success. It was youth-driven, and it has been encouraging to see its popularity grow since the start.''
The OYRC was also a good experience for the technicians. White team's technician, Nabhani, is a final-year student of mechanical engineering at the Sultan Qaboos University. He said the OYRC has served as an eye-opener for him.
''In college, most of what we learn is theory-based. But in the rally scene, there were a lot of practical lessons to learn. I am glad I was a part of the programme,'' he sa