Abu Dhabi: Rashid Al Dhaheri undeterred by rain and a back row start as he battles through to a podium finish
Rashid Al Dhaheri enjoyed one of his best showings of his season on Sunday at Round 4 of the Parolin Academy Championship where he impressed in wet conditions and against the odds to finish third in Jesolo, Italy and with it making history as he becomes the youngest Emirati race driver to make it onto the an podium at an international karting event.
Since his special promotion to a higher class in the Parolin Academy Championship, the 7-year old Emirati is now battling it out in the class with 8 to 10 year old drivers.
Al Dhaheri started the weekend by upsetting the pecking order when he qualified on pole position by almost a second despite wet and rainy conditions which are normally foreign to the Abu Dhabi schoolboy.
His performance impressed all in the paddock at the historic Pista Azzurra where the greats of Formula 1 have raced in the past, including: Alain Prost, Riccardo Patrese, Ayrton Senna, Alex Zanardi, Michael Schumacher, Giancarlo Fisichella, Robert Kubica, Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg and many more have raced during their journey to the top.
A revised schedule for race day caught the team out, as both Al Dhaheri and his teammate arrived late for the Pre-Final which prevented them from taking to the track. This meant Al Dhaheri would have his work cut-out in the Final.
Starting from the back of the grid the youngster was unfazed by the ‘demotion’ and was highly motivated as he proceeded to deliver one of his finest showings to date.
Keeping out of trouble and making each move count, Al Dhaheri made his way through the field to finish third, in the slip-stream of the front two as the trio he crossed the line he was a mere 0.2 of a second short of the winner.
He also claimed the fastest lap of the race in a performance which was among the highlights of the weekend at Jesolo.
Al Dhaheri completed around 200 km of testing and racing, in 25 sessions during the three days in Italy and team manager Fausto Ippoliti said: “This weekend was a great experience for Rashid. We took an important step in his development by adding telemetry to his programme. I need to say that Rashid impressed us a lot by the way he understood and applied it to his driving.”