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Fortnight of celebrations to form Abu Dhabi's F1 welcome 09 Oct 2009

Sakon Yamamoto (JPN) Super Aguri. Abu Dhabi to host Formula One Grand Prix in 2009, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, 3 February 2007. World © www.abudhabigp.com The Yas Hotel. Yas Marina Circuit Construction, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, 25-26 August 2009. Skyline of Abu Dhabi 24 January 2007. © Abu Dhabi On track at the Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, October 2009. © Abu Dhabi Motorsports Management

As Abu Dhabi prepares to host its inaugural Grand Prix next month, race organisers have unveiled an unrivalled programme of events to whet the appetite of fans ahead of the race. Commencing over two weeks before November’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, the celebrations will be held under the banner of ‘Yasalam’, Arabic for ‘fantastic, amazing and astonishing’.

“We are incredibly excited to be launching this groundbreaking programme of events and entertainment,” explained John Lickrish, managing director of organisers Flash Entertainment. “Yasalam has been designed to appeal to all ages, backgrounds and nationalities, so whether you’re a motorsport fan or not, from the UAE or overseas, there will be lots of exciting things for you to do in Abu Dhabi this October.

“The climax to the Formula One season deserves something very special to accompany it and we most certainly will be providing this with Yasalam.”

Early festivities will get underway on Abu Dhabi’s beachfront Corniche area from October 16, which will boast an official fan zone featuring simulators, pit stop challenges and special appearances by drivers, and also a giant outdoor cinema that will show motoring films including classics like Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and the iconic Italian Job.

A series of live art events called ‘The Art of Racing’ will see Emirati and Arabic artists customise replica Formula One cars across Abu Dhabi. Jalal Luqman, one of Abu Dhabi’s most prominent artists, award-winning painter Wasel Safwan and pop art exponent Khalid Mezaina are all expected to try out their skills.

An educational initiative has also been scheduled aimed at helping young students in Abu Dhabi learn about careers in motorsport. David Coulthard and Yas Marina Circuit and Abu Dhabi Motorsports Management’s (ADMM) CEO Richard Cregan have both been lined up to speak at the event, which will be held at the Zayed University.

Music will also take centre stage with ‘Beats on the Beach’ hosting five nights of free shows featuring a star-studded line up of local, regional and international artists. With the UAE’s Hussein Al Jasmi and international hip-hop superstar Timbaland performing, alongside regional artists Fares Karam and Myriam Fares and a host of DJs, there’s something for everyone.

The Yasalam programme will culminate over the race weekend with four after-race concerts, exclusively for Grand Prix ticket holders. Held close to the Yas Marina Circuit at the soon-to-be-opened Ferrari theme park, the shows will feature a host of famous acts including Beyonce and Aerosmith.

The Yas Marina Circuit received its FIA seal of approval this week following an inspection by Formula One race director Charlie Whiting. The track will host a GP2 test in just over a fortnights’ time from October 23-24, before the Grand Prix gets underway a week later on October 30 - November 1.