Beyond the Drive

Amna Al Qubaisi and the 911 Dakar’s Journey to Liwa Tal Moreeb Festival

The 911 Dakar, a Porsche sports car designed for all terrains, carries a familiar face for the UAE’s motorsports enthusiasts. Amna Al Qubaisi, known for her success in single-seater racing, including two wins in the F1 Academy championship last year, has become a rising star in the sport. Her achievements as a woman in a predominantly male domain make her ascent even more remarkable and timely.

Today, Al Qubaisi ventures far from the racing circuit into the unfamiliar territory of the desert. The 911 Dakar, equipped with a specially developed lift system providing 191 millimeters of ground clearance at speeds of up to 150 km/h, promises her unparalleled agility in an environment once dominated by heavy SUVs. Enhanced with stiffer engine mounts from the GT3, rear-axle steering, and PDCC active roll stabilization, the Dakar is ready to tackle any challenge.

Sporting its Roughroads livery, the 911 Dakar stands out on the streets of Abu Dhabi as Al Qubaisi begins her journey before dawn. The destination, Liwa, lies 220 kilometers to the south, reachable through fast paved roads and later, more challenging terrain, all of which the Dakar handles with ease.

“Driving the 911 Dakar on the road is very smooth, fast, and stable,” Al Qubaisi shares. “The steering is reactive, yet balanced. But on the sand dunes, it was so much fun. You can go all out and not worry about losing control. The car is so stable. This was my first drive of the 911 Dakar, and first time driving a Porsche to the Liwa Festival. The experience went way beyond my expectations!”

Al Qubaisi’s affinity for the 911 comes as no surprise. Her family has a deep-rooted connection with Porsche, with her first motor race experience being her father’s participation in the Porsche Carrera Cup. Today, it is she who grabs the headlines, reigniting interest in racing among a new generation in the region.

The Liwa Tal Moreeb Festival is at the heart of the Middle East’s rich desert driving tradition, offering a week-long celebration of high-performance driving against the backdrop of the towering Moreeb Dune. From drag races to motorcross, classic car competitions, and drifting, the festival showcases various driving skills, accompanied by the town’s delightful cuisine and Arabic coffee.

Making a brief stop en route to Liwa, Al Qubaisi visits an Emirati home where she receives a warm welcome. Such gestures recognize her significant achievements, making her a role model for women in motorsport worldwide.

As Al Qubaisi arrives and parks the 911 Dakar beneath the towering Moreeb Dune, a crowd gathers to admire the unique sight. Against the setting sun, casting shadows of rugged off-road vehicles, neither Al Qubaisi nor the 911 Dakar seem out of place in the desert. It’s a testament to the changing times.