5 June 2016
- Abu Dhabi primary schoolboy shows true grit in challenging conditions
- Al Dhaheri overcomes chaotic start and fights back to end top Rookie in Final
Young Emirati kart driver Rashid al Dhaheri’s winning streak continued in the Rookie Category of the 2016 Parolin Championkart Academy Series, as he celebrated victory on the top step of the podium for a third consecutive race, this time at Circuito Internazionale del Friuli Venezia Giulia in Lignano, Italy.
The eight year old Abu Dhabi schoolboy, one of the youngest in the field of 17 drivers, conquered constantly changing weather conditions to claim fourth place in the Final, which was good enough for top spot in the Rookie Class.
There were intermittent storms and showers on Thursday, but this did not deter Al Dhaheri who amassed some forty sessions on the tricky 1.2 km track Friday and Saturday improved but the rain came down again during warm-up on Sunday before drying out for qualifying and the races in the afternoon.
Al Dhaheri qualified fourth despite reporting that his kart appeared to lose power exiting corners, nevertheless he was in touch with the pace setters who were separated by a mere tenth of a second on the timing sheets.
A chaotic start in the Pre-Final resulted in Al Dhaheri dropping down the order to sixth, as he did what he could to avoid the confusion.
Nevertheless, this inspired the youngster to dig deep and fight his way back up to fourth. Late in the race he was involved in a wheel-to-wheel battle for third place with one of the most experienced drivers in the field, and although Al Dhaheri managed to edge into third on the last lap he could not hold on to it and settled for fourth.
The Final was a tense affair with several drivers capable and keen to take top honours. Al Dhaheri kept a cool head on his young shoulders and again managed to stay out of trouble, while delivering consistent laps on his way to another fourth place and with it doing enough to score victory and notch up a hat-trick of Rookie wins in the series.
Team manager Fausto Ippoliti said: “It was not an easy race weekend for Rashid. Weather condition kept on changing from session to session, while we did encounter a few technical issues on Saturday.”
“Rashid drove well in the Pre-Final and Final, where we saw him battle without fear against the older and more experienced drivers. In the end it was a challenging weekend, but one in which Rashid and the team have learned a great deal, and this is the best experience for a young driver.”
Al Dhaheri returned to Abu Dhabi after the race weekend, and will return to Italy for the ROK North Championship in Adria, on 19 June 2016.