Rashid Al Dhaheri claims podium place in Italy

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Impressive performance: Rashid Al Dhaheri.

Rashid Al Dhaheri enjoyed one of his best showings of his season last weekend at Round 4 of the Parolin Academy Championship, where he impressed in wet conditions to finish third in Jesolo, Italy.

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The impressive performance in trying conditions not only earned Rashid, affectionately know as ‘Little Alonso’, a third place, but the Abu Dhabi schoolboy also became the youngest Emirati race driver to make it onto the podium at an international karting event. 

Since he was given special dispensation to race in a higher class in the Parolin Academy Championship, the seven-year old Emirati is now battling it out in the class with drivers aged between 8-10 years.

Rashid started the weekend by upsetting the pecking order when qualifying on pole position by nearly a second despite wet and windy conditions which are normally foreign to the Abu Dhabi resident. 

His performance impressed all in the paddock at the historic Pista Azzurra, where the greats of Formula One 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. 

A revised schedule for race day caught the team out, as Rashid arrived late for the Pre-Final which prevented him from taking to the track.

This meant Rashid 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 instead highly motivated as he proceeded to deliver one of his finest showings to date. 

Keeping out of trouble and making each move count, Rashid made his way through the field to finish third, in the slip-stream of the front two. 

Rashid crossed the line 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.

Rashid completed around 200km of testing and racing over 25 sessions during the three days in Italy, and team manager Fausto Ippoliti said: “The weekend was a great experience for Rashid. We took an important step in his development by adding telemetry to his programme. 

“Rashid impressed us a lot by the way he understood and applied it to his driving.” 

Rashid’s karting campaign continues when he returns to Italy for the next round of the Parolin Academy Championship at the Circuito di Siena on June 20.

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Yas Marina Circuit announces registration open for TRD 86 Cup

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The TRD 86 Cup continues to develop its popularity after a successful opening season.

Yas Marina Circuit has announced the return of its hugely successful TRD 86 Cup, and is calling on all budding racing drivers to register.

Following the success of the series’ first season that saw Karim Al Azhari beat off stiff competition to be crowned champion, the TRD 86 Cup is back for yet another thrilling campaign. 

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The championship gives amateur drivers the chance to lead their own race team at the UAE home of Formula 1. And the fact that last year’s grid enjoyed strong Emirati participation is a testament to the popularity of the sport in the region.

For an entry cost of 177,000 AED, he selected competitors will receive their own, customised Toyota 86 car – and will get to pick their own race support team. Yas Marina Circuit will provide each team with further support from a professional crew.

The race package also includes other benefits, such as a waiver on race fees for the first season, two free track days at the circuit with 60 per cent discount on all subsequent track days, and a choice of a private tuition session or license assessment.

The season takes place over 12 rounds between October 2015 and April 2016.

With all cars being equal spec, drivers can hone and develop their racing skills over the course of the championship on an even technical playing field.

To take advantage of this opportunity, one can register before 14 June at http://www.yasmarinacircuit.com/en/motorsport/yas-motor-racing-club/trd-86-cup/trd-86-cup-registration.

Fans can attend race weekends for as little as 25 AED.

To watch the highlights from Season 1, visit Yas TV, the official online TV channel and home of video content for Yas Marina Circuit, the #UAE's most exciting sporting and entertainment venue and host of the #AbuDhabiGP.

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Another disappointing result for Al Harthy at Silverstone

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Poor start: Al Harthy.

Oman Racing Team driver Ahmad Al Harthy finished a disappointing 15th in class in Round 2 of the Blancpain Endurance Series at Silverstone last night, the Omani unable to revive his campaign after a disappointing opener at Monza last month.

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During the morning’s qualifying session, Al Harthy, who also races in the Porsche GT3 Middle Each Challenge for Al Nabooda Racing, showed every sign that he would turnaround the team’s fortunes by claiming second spot on the grid in the Pro-Am Cup category, following a faultless run in practice and prequalifying on Saturday.

The Oman Racing driver was confident he and team-mates Jonny Adam and Daniel Lloyd could make progress at Silverstone and earnestly kick-start their 2015 campaign in the series.

Al Harthy said ahead of the race: “Everything went well in practice and pre-qualifying, we’ve been trying to find the best set-up to make things as comfortable as possible for all three drivers and we definitely learnt a lot.

“It looks like things are going to be very tight between everyone. As always, though, we will have a strong race car so we need to maximise qualifying – that’s very important.”

During the 90 minute pre-qualifying and qualifying session, Al Harthy – behind the wheel of a Aston Martin V12 Vantage – was very happy with his performance.

The team posted a quickest time in pre-qualifying of two minutes 02.263 seconds, the lap within just 0.6 seconds of the outright top. And then despite securing a strong position in qualifying, Oman Racing fell back rapidly over the 83 laps that the team completed in the three-hour race.

In the race itself, Oman Racing Team posted a fastest time of two minutes 07.523, far below the two minutes 02.043 set in qualifying earlier in the day.

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