One of the UAE’s most promising young racing talents is celebrating a double win on the track.
Highly-rated seven-year-old Rashid Al Dhaheri sped to impressive back-to-back victories at the renowened South Garda kart track in Lonato, Italy, to keep his Parolin Academy Championship hopes alive.
– #360view: Change is needed to end one-horse race
Despite being the youngest driver in his category, Emirati Rashid demonstrated excellent handling skills in wet conditions to scoop pole position twice and move up to second in the overall season rankings.
Race dates were announced on Wednesday for the Dubai Kartdrome rounds of the much anticipated inaugural Emirates Schools Karting Championship (ESKC), and team entries are now being accepted online by the organisers.
The first date on the Dubai Autodrome calendar is the Test & Welcome Day on Saturday, November 14 when teams will have practice sessions at the Kartdrome after taking part in an ESKC familiarisation workshop, finalising registration and paying entry fees.
Three qualification race dates will take place in January, February and March respectively, with the 2016 ESKC Grand Final to take place at the Kartdrome on Saturday, 23 April 2016.
The ESKC was officially launched in August by its patron, Mohammed Ben Sulayem, President of the Automobile and Touring Club of the UAE.
The series has since attracted a great deal of interest, with more than 200 students and teachers expressing a desire to take part.
With dates now confirmed, the Kartdrome has opened online entries for school teams, with the first 24 paid-up and registered applicants guaranteed spots on the grid for the mini-endurance style series to be run during the first four months of 2016.
ESKC director and Kartdrome manager Ryan Trutch explained: “The Test & Welcome Day is an opportunity for us to meet the teams and also for the team members to get to know their rivals in a relaxed atmosphere, while familiarising themselves with the format of the series.
“The workshop will provide updated information to all the participants and offer a platform to address questions from teachers, students and parents involved in the series. Registered and paid-up teams will then be able to test in race-like conditions. In this way, we’re providing a solid foundation for the school teams to launch their campaigns.”
He added: “We urge teams to sign up as soon as possible because spaces are limited and there have been a couple of hundred enquiries already. You can sign up online on the official website www.eskc.com.
“The interest in the series has been beyond our expectations, so we have opened up team registration at this point to allow those who are committed to sign up and be assured a place on the grid.
“We aim to have all teams, drivers, managers, crews and officials well prepared and well versed on what to expect both on and off the track. The goal is for all concerned to have fun in this competitive and exciting sport of karting.”
Yas Marina Circuit is set for their biggest season ever after launching their packed schedule while their Formula One race is on track to be a sell-out, according to chief executive officer Al Tareq Al Ameri.
Thursday’s Yas Drift Night is one of 71 motorsport and health and fitness events, before the calendar concludes with the Bike Track Day on May 27.
Their flagship – the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on November 29 – brings the Formula One season to a close and after previous editions were sold out, Al Ameri insists ticket sales have again been very positive.
“The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix is heading for another sell-out event,” said Al Ameri, during a press conference at Yas Marina Circuit on Wednesday.
“Some ticket packages have already sold out but there is limited availability in some packages and we are looking forward to hosting another successful Formula One race at Yas Marina Circuit.”
Unlike last season, it looks increasingly unlikely the capital will host the title decider with world champion Lewis Hamilton holding a 48-point lead over Mercedes team-mate and second-placed Nico Rosberg.
But Al Ameri, while lauding the Briton’s ability, feels there will be twists and turns in the remaining five races.
“Lewis Hamilton is doing very well this season,” he said. “He is a talented driver of course and has a good team around him. I think he’s been a favourite to win the championship because of his track record so far this season. But I don’t think the title race is over yet. I think there will be more excitement in the remaining rounds.”
As part of its drive in promoting sport, the calendar consists of new and regular events.
The TRD 86 Cup, giving amateur racers a chance to drive in a professional competitive environment, will see defending champion Karim Al Azhari in action during the six rounds, beginning on the weekend of October 30 and 31. And the Yas Super Street Challenge, the circuit’s local drag racing competition will be contested over four rounds beginning in January 2016.
On top of that, the iconic venue will host their third edition of the Gulf 12 Hours Endurance between December 9 and 11 as the world’s leading manufacturers battle it out in one of the most exciting races days on its regional calendar.
DriveYAS is a new addition to the calendar, giving the opportunity to enjoy a wide range of driving experiences in luxurious cars including Aston Martin and the Mercedes AMG.
But it is not all motorsport at the Yas Marina Circuit. Having hosted the Color Run, TriYas and GoYas initiatives, Yas Marina Circuit continues to hold more health and fitness activities including the newly-launched StartYas.
Running every Sunday from October 11 between 18:00 to 22:00, it is a new initiative in partnership with Abu Dhabi Sports Council, Health Authority and Daman’s ActiveLife initiative.
Andrew Phillips, director of marketing and customers experience at Daman, insists there are plenty of positives to gain from this.
“StartYas is all about starting the week by exercising on Sundays,” he said. “They can walk, run, jog or cycle around the Yas Marina Circuit. It’s not every day you can exercise at the Yas Marina Circuit so it’s a fantastic opportunity to get the people together and be active, fit and healthy.”
Despite a jam-packed schedule, Al Ameri is adamant there are plenty of positives to gain.
“This is our most comprehensive calendar to date,” he said. “Our mission has always been to increase participation and make the circuit a multi-purpose venue. These health and fitness events places us in the centre of the community as we want to see more people take part in excercise while attracting more people to enjoy our driving facilities at Yas Marina Circuit.”