Please tell us more information about yourself and how many years you have been working for The Italian Embassy in Qatar, What was your previous job in your country.
Answer. My name is Guido De Sanctis and I am the Ambassador of Italy in Qatar. I can tell you briefly I came to Doha 2 and half years ago and I am a professional diplomat. I have been doing this job since 1991 and this is the 6th country where I have served.
Answer. I cannot forget my first car as it was an Italian brand. I am not sure if it’s still available this days, the name of it was Autobianchi. It was a very small car with a happy and brilliant engine so it was very easy to get out of situations. It was simple and quick in traffic. In Italy we have 2 sectors, of course, everyone knows about our high technological cars like Ferrari and Lamborghini.
We also have Bugatti, it is French now but it was an Italian. We have a good tradition of cars in the world, especially in Doha and the gulf regions and London which makes us proud. Qatari drivers like to drive cars like this.
Answer. In Italy they tend to drive the smaller cars because they are cheaper and easier to park. If you go to Europe today, very few people are driving big cars like Range Rovers or 4×4′s. Fiat is a popular car, a small and medium car is preferred. Competition in the car market is incredible. Our car market is also famous for scooters, small motorcycles that you can use in town. Everyone in the city center are using scooters. Our trucks are also very popular in the world, we see a lot of them in Doha also.
Answer. I have lived in 7 different countries in my life. I am lucky though that I learned to drive in Italy. I am lucky because I learned from my family. If you drive in Italy you are ready to drive anywhere. Driving in Qatar is not easy because there are different communities and everyone has their different style of driving, you have to be very very careful. You have to observe the rules and be cautious. The Ministry of Interior and the traffic Department are trying to help people with giving lots of advice for people about driving. Sadly, people think they can go fast here…
Driving in Italy, is a lot more relaxed than Qatar. I have driven in Libya, Russia and Ukraine, Switzerland also.
Answer. I have had many adventures with tyres. In desert places, I had one adventure – a Deputy Minister wanted to go to Zubarah Fort. We decided to go without a driver which was a mistake because we punctured a tyre in one of the old villages in the north. I was very hot and became tired quickly. Thankfully, he managed to change the tyre for us.
A few weeks later I went with a friend to Zikreet and 2 tyres got broken. We had two Qatari gentleman who were wearing their national white dress ( THOBE ) come and help us and they managed to changed our tyre without getting anything dirty on them.
Answer. I am not a follower of racing sports. I remember when Formula 1 cars were different – now everything is done on technology. I am sure it is one of the toughest sports though. You need to have nerves of steel. In the end, I find it most spectacular to follow rally driving but I enjoy Formula 1 the best.
I have a good relationship with Ferrari here in Doha and they already gave me a car for 2 days to drive. I am not sure if I would be good to drive it though…
Answer. We are very proud of our Embassy car. The Embassy bought a Lancia which is the official car. Lancia It is a brand of Fiat. It used to be a brand for luxury cars in Italy and then Fiat bought the brand, they are similar to Chrysler. There is an American and Italian version.
Answer. Since I began driving in Qatar, I decided that a Japanese car would be best… although today isn’t that great as the battery has gone!
Answer. I am not very well informed about electric cars. They started appearing in Europe I believe. More than electric cars, I saw lots of ‘car sharing’ in Italy. I didn’t see many electric cars in Doha because people have company cars and I don’t think there is much of a market here because fuel costs less than water!
Answer. I like dune bashing. When I want to go with my friends who are visiting I go with a professional driver. I don’t know how they do it, they are brilliant and fantastic! I like going to Sealine most.
Answer. Well, we are not here to replace the wonderful job the Qatari Government is doing. Unfortunately there are a lot of accidents and deaths in Qatar. In our country we have the experience, of being one of the worst countries for driving. However, we have managed to reduce this by issuing expensive fines, showing advertising campaigns and educating people on dangerous driving.
At the end of the day it is the man, the person that makes the difference. They should reflect better on the way they drive. Sometimes in the evening, I see people going between cars, literally zig zagging between them and driving badly. It makes me nervous. When I see someone behind zig zagging between cars and driving fast, I get nervous..
Answer. To be honest I haven’t seen it, but I definitely want to see it. I think people in Cars In Doha doing a good job in helping people with their driving skills.
I wish Cars In Doha all the best and the success in the future.