Rising UAE motorsport talent Rashid Al Dhaheri continues to move through the gears of promise after becoming the youngest ever Emirati to win an officially sanctioned kart race on the international stage.
The seven-year-old claimed a hugely impressive victory in the Parolin Championship held in Siena, Italy, last weekend.
The Abu Dhabi schoolboy was in fine form at the Pista Internazionale di Siena, near Firenze, motoring to success despite being the youngest driver in the field.
Al Dhaheri signalled his intent early on in Tuscany with a strong showing in qualifying where he claimed pole position. He then did the business in the pre-final, ensuring he would start the final from the front row.
The youngster showed plenty of mettle in the final race on the first day, he was third into the first turn but contact early on saw him drop down to 10th with four laps to go. He eventually fought back to finish sixth, setting the fastest lap in the process.
It was a deja-vu on Sunday, the UAE talent again securing pole for the pre-final, winning with a controlled performance and again setting himself up with a front row start for the final.
This time Al Dhaheri was ruthless, part of an initial pack of eight drivers slugging for the lead, all separated by less than two seconds, slotting into second place in the early stages.
Trophy ceremony – winning in Italy!!! pic.twitter.com/MzIePQuMqc
— Rashid Al Dhaheri (@aldhaherirashid) June 21, 2015
Attacking early on by using the slipstream of the leader, he edged ahead and never looked back, setting the pace until the chequered flag.
A first victory in the Parolin Championship, which features some of Italy’s finest young drivers, puts him fifth overall in the standings. It will also allow him to move up to a higher category. Team manager Fausto Ippoliti said: “Lots of experience gained by Rashid this weekend.
“He showed that using his head, keeping cool and resisting the pressure from the big boys, all helps get to the top step of the podium.
“It was a tough weekend of on-track battles but the reward is that Rashid now lies fifth in the championship, a great performance considering he is the youngest kid in the field who joined the series late and missed out on the opening round. We tackle the two remaining rounds of the summer with optimism.”
Parolin marketing manager Marco Parolin added: “Rashid has been very smooth and attentive so far. It was a double-race weekend that required an important effort, and he was able to maintain the concentration throughout and this is notable from a seven-year-old kid.”
Last weekend, Yas Marina Circuit welcomed more than 35 teams from 22 primary schools from all over the UAE for the inaugural ‘Formula Ethara’ National Finals.
Held at Yas Marina Circuit hundreds of UAE school children from Grade 6 and below put their engineering, technology and business skills to the test.
The Formula Ethara challenge is open to teams and was created to offer younger children the opportunity to learn valuable skills in a fun and interactive environment. Tasked with the many facets of designing, testing, marketing and making their team model racing car, the competition was divided into two streams: ‘Non-Rookie’ and ‘Rookie’, with a total of 14 Awards up for grabs, including National Champion in both categories, among others.
As well as their design, the teams were also judged on their marketing and funding acumen and verbal presentation skills. The finals saw the pupils demonstrate all aspects of their entries, which included team car racing, building a team showcase car, a team display and slideshow, and a team presentation.
— Darren Sutton (@Mr_Sutton) June 13, 2015
Following a tough day of close competition, the judges awarded the National Champions – Outright award as well as the National Champions – Rookie title to team ‘Turbo’ from Brighton College in Al Ain.
“We were delighted to witness the creativity, intelligence and hard work on display here today at the first ever Formula Ethara national finals,” said Al Tareq Al Ameri, CEO of Yas Marina Circuit.
“This is a really worthwhile and important initiative that contributes to the development of the UAE’s young people. Skills have been learned in the last few months that will stand these children in good stead throughout their lives. We look forward to the event going from strength to strength in the future.”
Volkswagen's Sebastien Ogier claimed his third successive Rally Italia Sardegna victory and fourth win of the WRC season to extend his lead at the top of the Drivers' Championship.
The Frenchman started the final day in Sardinia with a commanding lead and won by over three minutes, with victory in the Power Stage earning him three bonus points. Reigning champion Ogier moves on to 70 points in the Drivers' Championship – more than double that of his nearest rival.