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Jun 24, 2014 - 06:59 AM
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Face To Face With Luigi Gariano Recently Appointed Team Manager Tony Kart Racing
Posted by: newsla on Jun 24, 2014 - 06:57 AM
Support Series News
Face To Face With Luigi Gariano Recently Appointed Team Manager Tony Kart Racing Team UAE


Luigi Gariano is a familiar face and a popular figure on the UAE karting scene and was recently appointed team manager Tony Kart Racing Team UAE which will contest the 2014-2015 UAE Rotax Max Championship.

 

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Gariano has been involved in motorsport for almost for decades, starting with motocross and motorcycle enduros at the age of 13. He grew up in the West Ligurian Riviera (Italy) the hometown of the legendary San Remo Rally which was part of the World Rally Championship and through that was exposed to legends such as Walter Rohrl, Henri Toivonen, Marku Alen, Miki Biasion, Hannu Mikkola, Juha Kankkunen and many others.

But only at the age of 20 did Gariano 'discover' karting. He explained, "I was very attracted to rally of course, but after some time I understood that I had missed one important step in motorsport: Karting!"

"I was already 20 when I had my first karting experience and only a few races convinced me that my mistake to not start by doing karting was really big and since then I have advised all young drivers to start off with karting."

Being Italian it is only natural that Gariano is passionate about Ferrari and in Formula 1 he will back them through thick and thin, and at the moment the mention of the Reds – who are under performing in Formula 1 at the moment - is met with typical exaggerated Italian gestures of despair.

Gariano's motorsport journey continued throughout the eighties and nineties as he embarked on collecting as much experience as he could, attending many big events, helping teams and drivers all over Italy for free. Along the way he gained experience testing Touring Cars which in turn opened doors to important contacts which he cherishes to this day.

He moved to Dubai in 2005 and takes up the story, "When I came to Dubai I was involved as a part of the company which Sponsored JMB Team who were running Maserati MC12 in the FIA GT Championship at Dubai Autodrome with Andrea Bertolini, Karl Wendlinger and Philipp Peter. I had the privilege to follow several races in Europe with the Vitaphone Team and that was really an unforgettable experience."

But invariably "karting was in the veins" and Gariano started gravitating to the local karting scene where he entered some of the SWS races and started managing teams in the Kartdrome Endurance Championship - these included Ocean Rubber Racing Team, UAE Arrows, Dubai Falcons Racing Team and currently is the brains behind the Dubai 5 all Emirati outfit.

On 1 May 2014 he was appointed to position of Tony Kart Racing Team UAE team manager where he has been tasked to ensure that one of the most famous karting brands - which was used by none other than Michael Schumacher - is successful on the flourishing local karting scene.

"Tony Kart UAE Racing and Scuderia will be both under my management, two racing teams, within one, will provide different services and packages for drivers of all budgets. Tony Kart top package has the clear target to provide European standard services for drivers who are targeting wins and have championship ambitions, while the Scuderia package will provide basic services for kart drivers owning any brand of kart who want to be part of our team," revealed Gariano.

As for the goals, Gariano was adamant, "Mine and the team's main goal is to provide the best professional service available on the local scene. We are aiming to reduce the gap that still exists between UAE drivers and European drivers by providing a proper plan of growth for the drivers, including professional assistance on all levels, driver coaching and telemetry analysis which will be the real innovation and add value for those who race under the Tony Kart banner."

"We want our drivers to be ready to face international competition with the right skills and knowledge. They need to rise to those standards starting with our UAE championship. We want them to give proper feedback and to feel the real race competition, thus avoiding any kind of 'culture shock' or big differences when they venture to race abroad."

Gariano, who rates Robert Kubica and Lewis Hamilton highly, is an ardent Gilles Villeneuve fan because the late Ferrari driver "never was world champion but he caught the heart of all motorsport supporters and especially the trust of Mr Enzo Ferrari. Unforgettable was his race at Dijon in 1979 against Rene Arnoux. Something that should be shown to all racing drivers...."

The local Rotax Max karting scene under the auspices of the ATCUAE and Al Ain Karting Club has boomed in recent years and Gariano predicts much of the same in future.

"UAE is the absolute drawcard for karting in the whole GCC and this is just the beginning in my opinion. The potential of the GCC area is huge, but we all must work to develop more and more in order to reach a professional level comparable the international scene," said the Italian.

His opinion on what is the cause of this boom in the UAE is clear, "I believe that it was because of a common effort: organisers, teams, drivers. We all worked to develop karting here in the UAE."

Already kids who started off at the Kartdrome, before excelling on the local scene, such as Edward Jones and Tom Bale have proven that they can be highly competitive on the world stage. Currently there are several young drivers set to follow in their footsteps.

Of the talent learning the ropes on the local scene Gariano says, "I have seen so many young good drivers and I wish to all of them to develop the right experience, to have the right support in order to show their talent not only in the UAE but also abroad."

He advises, "All Micro, Mini and Junior drivers need to believe in themselves and to approach this sport with the right behaviour. Be fair and committed then the results will come."

As for the year ahead Gariano is cautiously optimistic, "It will be a crucial year because first of all we will have proper professional teams and that will be an advantage for the organisers to have real support from all of them to increase the level of the championship here in the UAE. Consequently we will have some classes which will be extremely competitive and with that there is a lot to do and that's why as a team manager I am already working hard for the upcoming season."

In between his karting involvement, earlier this year, Gariano’s insatiable passion for motorsport saw him take time out to manage Team QMMF at the Dunlop 24 Hours of Dubai in January, and take part as co-driver in the San Remo Rally with Patrick Parmeggiani in March.

The 2014-2015 karting season will be an intense affair for the likable Italian who has the big task on his hands, but if his track record and passion for karting is anything to go by - look out for Tony Kart drivers at the sharp end of proceedings next season. So look out for Gariano commanding the ‘troops’ in his distinctive Tony Kart colours.



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