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Dec 29, 2014 - 04:00 PM
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Feature Rashid Al Dhaheri: A Year Of Making Friends And Winning Races
Posted by: newsla on Dec 29, 2014 - 03:58 PM
Feature Rashid Al Dhaheri: A Year Of Making Friends And Winning Races

Rashid Al Dhaheri has captured his fair share of headlines this past year with his exploits on the local and international karting scene, and with the holiday season in full swing the Abu Dhabi lad will be making the most of his holidays playing at home with his siblings, with some Alpine skiing planned along the way and inevitably some karting sessions to keep him in shape during the off-season.


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Looking back on a year which saw the six year old complete over 2500 kilometres on race tracks in Italy, Rashid's father Ali Al Dhaheri reflects, "The biggest step taken by Rashid this season was to enter in the Italian karting championship as soon as he turned six years old in April. Being the youngest in the field, driving in the rain, enduring mixed conditions and competing with grids of more than 30 drivers, doing rolling starts have contributed to Rashid's development."

"Furthermore his exposure to the international karting community, in Italy, has been a valuable experience for him as a youngster. All in all we have not only seen his skills evolve over the course of the year, we have also witnessed him grow socially and intellectually," added Al Dhaheri senior.

Truth is that young Rashid - endearingly referred to as the UAE's Little Alonso - has made a big impact on the junior karting scene in Italy. He is popular and well received not only by well wishers but also his rivals who have come to respect him for his friendly manner and impressive speed. His ability to learn new circuits fast, and then set the pace on them was an eye opener for the karting community.

A stranger to Italy in early 2014, he soon became familiar with some of the most famous tracks in karting folklore - many of which having hosted Formula 1 superstars during their early days, including the likes of Ayrton Senna, Michael Schumacher, Lewis Hamilton, Robert Kubica, Fernando Alonso, Jarno Trulli to name a few. Rashid experienced eleven new tracks during the course of the season, participating in ten races in Italy and finishing eight times on the podium. In three of the ten races he drove in rain, and excelled. But perhaps the most impressive fact is that he was often the youngest driver in the categories he raced in.

As much as the small boy with the big smile is a hit off track, he has done his talking on it and his father recalls, "The highlight of the season was definitely Rashid's success during the International Final Parolin Academy held in Jesolo on 26 October 2014. Excelling in such final in Italy and in a 60cc category was the reward for all the hard work Rashid has done during the course of the past year and a half."

On a personal note Ali admits, "I am really pleased to see Rashid's exponential progress. Rashid is without doubt a fast learner and I hope he will continue in this way. But for me the most important is that Rashid is having fun and making a lot of friends along the way."

Rashid will continue to train a couple of times a week in December and January, while a race programme for next season is currently being planned and finalised for the Emirati schoolboy, who will no doubt continue to set a blazing trail on the junior karting scene in 2015.

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