- Challenging karting season in Italy begins for eight year old Abu Dhabi schoolboy
- Podium for Rashid on debut in Mini Academy ChampionKart Championship
Rashid Al Dhaheri began his 2016 karting campaign in Italy, with a strong showing in the opening round of the Mini Academy ChampionKart Championship, on the 7 Laghi kart track at Castelletto Di Branduzzo. Rashid, who is the youngest driver in the category, finished in 3rd position in the Rookie Class earning him a place on the podium and important points towards the championship.
In fact, Rashid was so young that he celebrated his 8th birthday on track and just made it into the 8-12yrs category, receiving his race permission on the very last day before the race.
From the start of the competition, the 8 year-old Abu Dhabi schoolboy was consistently at the top end of the field in free practise and throughout the build-up to race day. On Sunday during the warm-up, Rashid was putting in the 3rd fastest times. In qualifying, despite not being able to latch on to a rival’s slipstream and improving his times he was 4th fastest in the session.
Rashid made a good start in the pre-final moving up to 3rd position early on, chasing the leaders, but contact from a kart behind caused him to drop down to 10th and knocked him out of touch with the main pack. In the final, the young Emirati driver had his work cut out starting from the middle of the pack and despite having technical issues with his brake he fought back bravely to come in 3rd place in the Rookie Class and 7th in the overall classification.
Team manager and Ex-Italian Formula 3 Champion Fausto Ippoliti said: “The Mini Academy is one of the toughest race series in junior karting. The series attracts only best drivers and Rashid is the only Arab and only non-European taking part which is a great achievement in itself.”
Ippoliti added: “As always Rashid was very focused and competitive and after some initial disappointment with his result, Rashid soon was smiling again as we explained that for his debut race in this tough category he has done very well. A podium in the young driver class is a fantastic achievement for his first race in this new category.”
Next weekend the challenge ramps up another notch as Rashid remains in Castelletto to participate in the ultra-competitive and internationally acclaimed ‘Campionato Italiano’ also on the 7 Laghi track from 14 to 17 April.