|Stunt artists performing at the Red Bull Car Park Drift programme held on the closing day of the Qatar Motor Show at the outdoor area of the Doha Exhibition Centre. Right: Crowds at the exhibition. PICTURES: Jayaram|
Thanks to a full exhibition programme and, above all, a bevy of rousing outdoor shows, the Qatar Motor Show elevated itself not only as an international showcase for the most important brands of automobiles in the world, but also wonderfully entertaining, with competitions, drifting, motocross, and freestyle demonstrations from leading experts and world renowned professional drivers, as well as test drive opportunities for show-goers.
The 2012 Qatar Motor Show was introduced by an exclusive Ferrari F1 event organised by Shell in partnership with the Qatar Motor Show. For the first time in Qatar, Qatar Shell thrilled more than 25,000 motorsport fans with a street demonstration. Scuderia Ferrari F1 driver Marc Gené delivered an outstanding performance along the Doha Corniche.
Qatar Motor Show also consolidated its international appeal thanks to the 33 auto brand names present in addition to 10 motorbike brands, many of which chose the Doha Exhibitions Centre for some of their regional premières, as well as the international debut of the concept car Mission L by Skoda and the charming and futuristic concept car by Up Design, Vittoria.
Premières and launches on a regional scale included the new 2012 Volkswagen Passat four-door family sedan, 2012 Porsche Panamera GTS, the new MINI Coupè Roadster, the 2012 Audi S7, S8 sport sedan, the RS 5 sports Coupè and the limited edition R8 GT Spyder.
Regional premières continued with Maserati GranCabrio Sport, BMW all-new 3 Series, Ferrari 458 Spider, 2012 Mercedes ML, 2012 Nissan Sunny, and a diamond edition of the 2012 Nissan Patrol. Sportiness was ensured thanks to the Bugatti Gran Sport, Bentley Continental GTC and Lamborghini Aventador.
Crowds also thronged to the initiative promoted in collaboration with the Car Coachbuilders Group of ANFIA, the Italian Association of the Automotive Industry. An exhibition area of the 2012 Qatar Motor Show was dedicated this year to automobiles conceived, designed, and constructed by Italian firms representing the ultimate in Italian car design: Pininfarina, I.DE.A. Institute, UP Design and Touring Superleggera.
Concept cars, super cars, prototypes and special bodies were presented for the first time in Qatar, considered by many as one of the leading markets in the world for luxury and sport cars.
The second edition of the Qatar Motor Show also attracted great media attention: more than 200 accredited journalists arrived from 13 countries including: China, US, India, Germany, France, UK, Italy, and across the Middle East. To highlight the international appeal of the event, the 2012 Qatar Motor Show opened with the second Middle East Automotive Summit.
During the Summit attended by Ahmed al-Nuaimi, Chairman of the Qatar Tourism Authority, leaders of the car world, of technology and of energy took stock of how the automotive sector is dealing with the challenges of a market which is demanding cars that are increasingly intelligent, sustainable and innovative.
A prestigious and authoritative panel of speakers participated in the session dedicated to The New Age of Mobility moderated by Harald Hamprecht, Editor-in-Chief of Automotive News Europe; Luigi Ippolito, Product Strategic Scenario & Innovation of Magneti Marelli; V G Ramakrishnan, Senior Director of Automotive and Transportation for the region from Frost & Sullivan; Roberto Vavassori, Vice President SGL/Brembo & Business Development Director of Brembo; Harald Ludanek, Head of Vehicle Engineering and Prototyping in the Technical Development Area of Volkswagen AG and Ahmed M. Surour, CEO of the Qatar Automotive Gateway.
Ghanim bin Saad al-Saad, Chairman of QatarAg announced the the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with Prodrive, the UK-based company specialising in automotive engineering and technology, and the leading manufacturer of carbon fiber automotive components used by high end brands such as Jaguar, Bentley, McLaren and others.
The 2012 Qatar Motor Show also offered pure entertainment. Thanks to the numerous simulators available at the show, like the locally-designed and engineered Williams immersion formula simulator, the Ford WRC simulator and the Shell Ferrari F1 simulator, visitors were able to virtually experience dynamic and interactive driving, while outdoor areas featured test driving sessions with a star-studded roster of driving instructors, like the Lebanese rally champion and Middle East Hill Climb champion and Red Bull Athlete Abdo Feghali and Marco Giony, professional drifter and stuntman.
The Motorsport Outdoor Arena, powered by MBN Automobiles, also boasted the participation of amazing and extreme drivers like Chris Pfeiffer, four times Stunt Riding world champion, who demonstrated breathtaking skills and tricks on his motorcycle. FMX favorites Nick Franklin, Nick de Wit and Frederic Berggren also wowed the crowds during their extreme shows.