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Qatari Sheikh tries Williams F1 car

Sheikh Khalid bin Hamad Al-Thani, Williams test, Losail 2009His Highness Sheikh Khalid bin Hamad Al-Thani became the first Qatari to drive a Formula 1 car when he sampled the Williams team's 2009 car at Qatar's Losail circuit today.

Skeikh Khalid is a member of Qatar's ruling family and owner of the Al-Anabi drag racing teams which compete in America and the Middle East. He is also the head of the Qatar Motor City project, which aims to create a major circuit, drag and oval racing destination in the state.

Williams was running at Losail to complete some filming work, and gave Al-Thani a five-lap run after he had impressed the team in a simulator test at its UK base.

"The Williams FW31 is a remarkable vehicle, unlike any other race car I've ever driven," said Sheikh Khalid.

"Being the first Qatarian to drive a Formula 1 car was an amazing experience I will not forget. I am proud that I was able to experience this honour at home in the State of Qatar."

Team boss Sir Frank Williams added: "It was a privilege to be able to facilitate this historic first for His Highness and the State of Qatar today. The team of engineers that worked with Sheikh Khalid reported that he demonstrated considerable skill and aptitude in the DIL simulator at our headquarters near Oxford this week.

"Based on his established competition experience and competence in the DIL, we extended an additional invitation to enable His Highness Sheikh Khalid to drive the FW31, and he acquitted himself with honours."

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