x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Young Emirati driver posts karting victory in Italy

Six-year-old Rashid Al Dhaheri becomes youngest driver from Emirates to win an international race and gets praise from former Formula One driver Gianmaria “Gimmi” Bruni.

Rashid Al Dhaheri made history on Sunday when he became the youngest ever Emirati racing driver to win a race on the international stage as he powered to victory in the Birel EasyKart Trophy. Courtesy Dubai Autodrome
Rashid Al Dhaheri made history on Sunday when he became the youngest ever Emirati racing driver to win a race on the international stage as he powered to victory in the Birel EasyKart Trophy. Courtesy Dubai Autodrome

Rashid Al Dhaheri became the youngest Emirati driver to win an international race at the weekend when he triumphed in the Birel EasyKart Trophy at the Italian National Karting Championships at the International Circuit of Castelletto di Branduzo, south of Milan.

At six years and 40 days old, Al Dhaheri took the victory in Race 1 of the bambino category. He was the youngest in a field of 35 drivers in the six-to-eight age group.

In Race 1 on Sunday, Al Dhaheri started fourth on the grid before he worked his way to victory.

In Race 2, he was 31st but overtook 21 drivers during the course of the 10-minute race to claim 10th.

Al Dhaheri’s performance impressed ex-Formula 1 driver, Ferrari GT works driver and team principal Gianmaria “Gimmi” Bruni, who welcomed Rashid into his team and said: “I am happy to help Rashid in his racing career path. Since I met him first time I saw passion and determination in his eyes.

“I had the opportunity to watch him testing recognising a great potential that can be improved step by step. He is still young but if this will be his destiny I am pleased to take him in the right direction.”

Al Dhaheri’s programme will step up a notch as race weekends take place every three weeks, with the next round of the Italian Karting Championships scheduled for Pista Cogiskart di Corridonia, on the outskirts of Rome from June 6-8.

Ronni Sala, Birel’s president and promoter of the Easykart Trophy said Al Dhaheri was the first non-European driver to be accepted into the programme.

“For us it has been the first time we had the opportunity to welcome such a young driver from a country outside the European Union and we are very glad to accommodate him,” he said.

“We are sure that his different experience will be important for Italian participants and vice versa.”

sports@thenational.ae

Follow our sports coverage on twitter at @SprtNationalUAE