30 April 2014
With the UAE karting season done and dusted one would expect competitors to take a break after a long and gruelling season, but not for ‘Little Alonso’ – Rashid Al Dhaheri – whose campaign has now shifted to Italy.
Al Dhaheri is the first non-European youngster to be accepted into the EasyTraining programme conducted by EasyKart in Italy, and at the age of six he was the youngest of 22 ‘little league’ drivers who were in action for the third round of the Italian National Series at the International Circuit of Viterbo on the weekend of 25-27 April.
Adding to the challenge for Al Dhaheri during the course of the weekend was the fact that he was driving at Viterbo for the first time, and conditions throughout were cold but dry during practice, however turned windy and wet for race day.
Nevertheless during free practice Al Dhaheri was consistently among the top three drivers and set the fastest time in the second free practice.
In the first race, on a dry track, Al Dhaheri showed his skills honed in the UAE to finish third despite experiencing his first ever rolling start in a race, as the Bambino class in the UAE is a Time Trial which does not feature a starting grid or rolling start.
With rain lashing down in the second race Al Dhaheri was caught out by the unfamiliar conditions and spun on the formation lap which relegated him to the back of the grid removing all his chances of podium in the second race.
The Emirati youngster impressed all with his skills and determination, giving a good account of himself and flying the flag high for the local karting scene at junior level.
Paul Chatenay, Al Dhaheri’s coach said, “Rashid really impressed me this weekend. Every person familiar with go karting will know that racing on a new track, doing a rolling start for the first time, racing for the first time in the rain and at six being the youngest in the field is a big challenge for a youngster.”
“Nothing deterred our boy as he simply got on with what was required without a fuss and impressed not only the officials but also his competitors who now know they face a formidable rival in the EasyKart series,” added Chatenay.
Making the trip to Viterbo specially to see young Al Dhaheri in action was Giovanni Minardi, son of former Formula 1 team owner Giancarlo Minardi, who said, “Sincere congratulations to Rashid for the whole weekend at International Circuit of Viterbo.”
Minardi concluded, “It was his first experience in wet conditions, despite his young age he has shown a great talent. He is proving his ability to handle difficult situations. He has a bright future ahead of him.”
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