UAE’s Rashid takes podium at World Series Karting Open Cup in Italy
Young Emirati Rashid Al Dhaheri continues his racing programme after the summer break with a well-deserved podium in Italy.
This comes as great success given his recent change and first-ever race with his new team ‘Kart Republic.’
It was a major event at Lonato, North Italy, held by the prestigious Italian Formula 4 organisers, WSK, the World Series of Karting, with more than 250 race drivers from more than 50 countries.
This maiden podium for this new team adds up to Rashid’s major achievements at the beginning of the season, where he was crowned double Champion.
Flying in his Emirati red-green-white-black racing suit and with his new team Kart Republic’s kart, Rashid once more demonstrated his quick adaptability and capacity to race at the very top with a new chassis and engine brand as he rose to the challenge against 71 drivers in the competitive OK-Junior class.
The competition was fierce, as the world’s best OK-Junior talents lined up with focus at this important international opener of the autumn’s racing season.
Traffic during the qualifications, allowed Rashid to be placed only P28. But the qualification heats once again demonstrated the young racer’s fighting spirit and consistency, giving Rashid a strong start, as he achieved good heats under dry conditions placing himself overall P11 among the top drivers, climbing up the positions from the unfortunate Qualifying.
While the elimination heats were run in dry conditions, pouring rain fell Sunday morning before the pre-final. Rain and wet tracks highlight the driving skills of the racers and makes things trickier for the pilots. But Rashid triumphed in the 17-laps pre-final proving his excellent feeling on wet tracks. Starting from the challenging outside P6 and ‘swimming’ lap by lap, passing by all his competitors one by one, winning consistently fastest lap times and with all sectors in ‘purple’ showcasing fastest timings in all sectors, Rashid was able to create a gap of almost 3 seconds from his closest competitor.
This flawless performance placed Rashid in the all-important Pole Position for the Final.
Before the Final, however, the rain stopped and lunch break was dominated by the sun, wind, and a drying track. Other competitions held before Rashid’s final completely dried the track and Rashid found himself starting from Pole Position surrounded by strong karts of his competitors. The 17-laps final opened and Rashid set off from the first corner with great determination and a well-planned strategy to follow in the slipstream of the faster competitors. The tough beginning and strong fights for the first position made Rashid fell back to P2. He displayed great maturity and calculation to follow the faster kart in front to disconnect from the 32 competitors catching up from the back. Rashid improved his lap times until the end but was disadvantaged by lacking speed and fell back to P3 on a dry track.
After Rashid has received his trophy and the UAE flag was hoist during the podium ceremony he stated during the interview: “The race was tough. During the first laps we all were with each other. Of course, we all wanted to be first. So, it was a big fight and I tried to do my best. Of course, there are some things to learn – as always – hopefully we apply these things in the next round. The Team was very helpful, and I like to thank KR for their support. It is a good start for us together. We were able to try a lot of material under the rain and on dry track and we were able to land a good setup. Now we know what we should work on and hopefully in the next round, in Adria, we will be able to win.”
Coach and ex-Formula 2 champion Fausto Ippoliti stated: “After the summer break we are back to race at the very top. This is an excellent achievement, because a podium with a new team, new engine, new kart, a new mechanic is a great start and promises more success to come. Rashid on the wet track is an amazing driver and of course, we were hoping and wishing for rain also to fall in the Final. We still must work on material to provide Rashid with the best possible package to be very competitive also on a dry track. Rashid proved again his fighting spirit, determination, great passion, and unique sensation for set up. He drives with a cool head and plans his moves well. He grew up a lot, is very mature, and now ready for the final change into the last Karting category next year.”
The World Series Karting race took place on the innovative FIA approved 1,200 meters Lonato Karting raceway which is nicknamed the “Center of the Karting Universe” due to the many famous competitions it holds. Rashid will focus on his online studies and then return on track this weekend for the IAME Series Italy, round 8, at Adria, South of Venice.