13 October 2015
- Emirati schoolboy overcomes big challenges clinch podium spot
- Despite missing the opening round Al Dhaheri secures second in the championship
Rashid Al Dhaheri overcame a weekend packed with challenges to secure second place in the 2015 Parolin Academy Championship at Adria Raceway, in Italy on Sunday 11 October 2015, and in doing so became the first Emirati karting driver to accomplish such a feat outside of the UAE.
The Abu Dhabi primary schoolboy was always on the backfoot in the Parolin run series as he had to miss out on the opening round March as he was not within the 7 to 10 year old age group required by the rules to partake.
Nevertheless once he turned seven in April he became eligible and from the get go was among the pace setters. Soon he was fighting among the leaders and winning races while putting himself in contention for the title despite the odds.
In Adria this past weekend the opposition raised their game and Al Dhaheri likewise rose to the occasion. From the outset UAE youngster was slightly down on power but made up for it with good lines and technique.
In the Warm-up race he signaled his intent with the second best time, but what followed was a difficult qualifying session in which he claimed fourth spot on the grid. Then in the Pre-final Al Dhaheri dropped down to sixth early on but by the end was up to the leading group and kept it all together to take fourth place.
The scene was set for an exciting final race in which he made a good start and was battling at the front among the leading quartet. The race in the end would be decided on top speed and slipstreaming.
The four leaders swapped positions on every lap, and at one point Al Dhaheri dropped down to fourth. A big effort on the final corner of the final lap saw him snatch third place and with it claim the runner-up spot in the Parolin Academy Championship.
Al Dhaheri was the outstanding young rookie in the series and emerged as a frontrunner in a short space of time, adapting well to the bigger karts, the tougher rivals and a higher standard of competition.
“I never gave up until the chequered flag and I am very happy to be on the podium,” said Al Dhaheri the Parolin Academy Championship rookie of the year.
Fausto Ippoliti Team Manager said after a challenging weekend of racing, “I am very satisfied with Rashid’s race weekend. He was not the fastest on track, but he raced with his head using the slipstream to stay with the leaders in all the races.”
“His last move in the last corner of the last race was great. I am glad he got rewarded with a podium for all the work and testing he has been going through. It was well deserved,” added Ippoliti.
Al Dhaheri will return to the Adria Raceway this weekend to compete in the International Finals of the Parolin Academy Championship featuring the top drivers from around the world.