It’s been an action packed karting summer for Rashid Al Dhaheri – the UAE’s own Little Alonso – who has been campaigning in Italy among the elite young drivers, and between now and October will participate in a final spate of races to end what has been a valuable foray to Europe by the young F1 hopeful.
The six year old Abu Dhabi schoolboy has been impressing not only with his speed, but also with his friendly attitude and relaxed disposition which has made him popular among his rivals and admired by the Italian karting community who have treated the lad as one of their own.
It has been a comprehensive programme for Al Dhaheri which began in April and has since then included seven races in EasyKart championship and Parolin 60cc Academy Champion Kart, along with intensive training by ACI CSAI Federal School – the highly rated academy run under the auspices of the Italian motorsport commission. In all instances Al Dhaheri tackled the challenges with enthusiastic commitment and always excelled, while flying the UAE flag and representing the youth of the country with pride.
The programme was profound as each race weekend the youngster underwent an average of 200 km of driving, broken up into about 20 sessions per weekend, and including 25 to 35 talented competitors between the age of 6 and 10 – where Al Dhaheri was invariably the youngest.
On a couple of occasions conditions were rainy and wet, elements which are foreign to UAE karters. Nevertheless he adapted to these with ease and scored strong results irrespective of the climatic conditions.
In the period from late June until the end of August, Al Dhaheri competed in one race every two weeks, racing on ten different (and new to him) track layouts during this period.
Rashid’s father Ali Al Dhaheri gave his thoughts on his son’s progress, “It has been a steep learning curve for Rashid, but at the same time a great adventure where he has impressed on track and also off track. Along the way he has made friends with his rivals and has become a popular addition to the Italian junior karting scene.”
“This summer programme has been more than just about racing. It has been more of a journey of discovery and character building for Rashid and our family. We are very proud of his achievements and will continue to support him as he travels on this path,” added Al Dhaheri senior.
Rashid’s performances impressed ex-Formula 1 driver, Ferrari GT works driver and team principal Gianmaria ‘Gimmi’ Bruni who observed, “I had the opportunity to watch him testing recognising a great potential that can be improved step-by-step.”
“I am happy to help Rashid in his racing career path. Since I met him first time I saw passion and determination in his eyes. He is still young but if this will be his destiny I am pleased to take him in the right direction,” added Bruni who has welcomed Al Dhaheri to his Gimmi Bruni Racing Team.
Although Al Dhaheri’s Italian campaign is winding down as Autumn engulfs Europe, he still has an important schedule of races starting this weekend (12-13 September) in Trento through to mid-October where he will compete in the the highly acclaimed Parolin 60cc Academy Champion Kart series in Ala and Jesolo, and participating in the Grand Finals of the Easykart series and Academy Championkart also at Jesolo track near Venice in mid-October.
Little Al Dhaheri will also be testing in the UAE while planning a race campaign in his home country during the Winter months starting after his European foray in October, with races around the UAE including Dubai Kartdrome.
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