Rashid Al Dhaheri got his UAE Karting season off to a flying start as he powered to victory in Round One of the X30 Challenge UAE at RAK Track with a determined display against a strong line-up of drivers in the Cadet Class.
The eight-year-old Emirati managed to qualify in second, remaining amongst pace setters throughout qualification in the very competitive class that features some of the MENA region’s top young karters in the 8 to 12 age group.
In Heat 1, Rashid dropped down to fifth at one stage before recovering to finish third. In the Pre-Final, he again found himself down in fifth before fighting his way back to finish in second place.
In a hot and humid Final, it was a similar story as Al Dhaheri dropped down the order to fifth after going off his racing line to avoid a collision. Undeterred by this setback, he chased down the pack, making his way through the field to pick up positions with every lap.
Late in the race he took second with the leader a mere 2.6 seconds ahead. In a thrilling final lap, Al Dhaheri held his nerve and skilfully overtook the leader to win a well-earned victory in the first X30 Challenge UAE karting race of the 2016-2017 UAE season.
On his way to victory Al Dhaheri also notched up the fastest lap time ever recorded in the cadet class on this track configuration.
Al Dhaheri said: “The gap was big but I knew I could catch P1. The set up on the kart was really good I managed to come back. I am really happy to win my home country.”
The Formula 4 UAE championship, launched last February, is one of the most important additions to the motorsport calendar this year, which was launched on Wednesday by the Automobile and Touring Club of UAE (ATCUAE).
The FIA-accredited F4 UAE Championship is the first of its kind in the Middle East and Africa. It is aimed at young drivers aged 15 and above.
Based in the UAE, the Championship will feature 18 races held over five events at Yas Marina Circuit and Dubai Autodrome, starting in October 2016 until March 2017.
Young drivers will also be able to take part in the 13-round National Karting Championship, run between Al Ain Raceway, Al Forsan, Yas Marina Circuit and again crossing the border to Muscat in Oman.
Mohammed ben Sulayem, President of ATCUAE and Emirates Motorsports Federation (EMSF), said: “This coming season, our main focus is attracting and developing young local talent in many different areas in the motorsport world.”
The new season features many karting activities and expansion in the national Baja Rally series, in addition to a long list of circuit racing activities.
The Hankook 24H Dubai, in January is now a traditional highlight at the Autodrome and reached a capacity entry of 100 cars for the first time in 2016.
The Emirates Desert Championship, the national Baja rally series launched in 2013 for cars, buggies, motorcycles and quads, has quickly become a major attraction, and the first out of five rounds will be staged on October 14.
The UAE National Rally Championship run by the Emirates Motorsport Club will start in October and aims to continue last years’ success, helping to drive the sport forward.
Organised by H2O Racing, the promoters of the UIM F1 H2O World Championship, the Nations Cup hasn’t run since March 2015, when it was won by Team Russia.
Eight teams will line up in Shanghai to battle over two days and various racing disciplines to determine which team is the king of the UIM H2O Nations Cup for a sixth time.
Team UAE will be represented by the two regular Team Abu Dhabi drivers, Rashed Al Tayer and Rashed Al Qamzi, both drivers fresh from an outing in France in the UIM F2 Championship and both eager to continue the remarkable run that the UAE has in this prestigious racing competition.
Team UAE has won the title on three occasions in the past, with Ahmed Al Hameli and Majed Al Mansoori leading the way in 2011 when they pipped Team Qatar at the inaugural event in Singapore.
Al Tayer and Al Mansoori teamed up to again beat Team Qatar in Khor Fakkan in 2012. Al Qamzi and Mohammed Al Mehairbi then represented the country in the double-header in Qatar and at their home venue in Abu Dhabi in 2013.
“The UIM H2O Nations Cup is an important event in the UIM calendar and I am delighted that Team UAE will be represented with a strong team and looking to claim a fourth victory,” said ADIMSC’s Salem Al-Romaiti.
“The format is challenging, but our team drivers are not short on recent racing experience and I am sure that they will push hard.”