The 10-year-old Emirati Go-Karting star Rashid Al Dhaheri achieved yet another triumph, as he capped off a successful year by powering ahead to an impressive tournament victory at the 2018 Macau International Kart Grand Prix. In the face of challenging adverse weather conditions at the Kartrodomo de Colaone in Macau, Rashid advanced from 11th on the grid to a top-place podium finish, carrying out the fastest lap of 1:05.699 in the process.
The qualifying heats were comparatively slow for Rashid, as his kart’s engine performed well below par. In Qualifying Heat 1 his engine issues were compounded by his kart being hit from the side, which took Rashid off the track and culminated in his finishing in position 32. Still contending with engine issues, he managed to make the best of Qualifying 2 and Qualifying 3, by finishing fifth and fourth respectively. Putting Rashid 11th on the gird, this created a challenging position for the youngster to start from.
On the final day, as the race got underway, Rashid gradually advanced up the order in the track. In the face of an extreme weather cocktail of wet and cold in Macau, Rashid, who was flying Tony Kart colours, drew on his racing skills to cruise forward to victory. Wet weather conditions often require a greater reliance on skill than engine ability, and Rashid kept up a strong speed and successfully kept a firm grip on the track, avoiding any slides.
Employing his smooth racing style, Rashid rapidly overtook drivers one-by-one, and over the course of nine laps was able to advance past all those ahead in the field. Powering into the lead as the fastest on the track, the young rookie driver crossed the finish line with a 2.775 second gap ahead of his nearest contender. Rashid then took to the podium at this major event which attracted numerous young drivers from all of the world.
Rashid said: “Although it’s the first time I visited this track, it was one of my favourite to race on. I found it so exciting to start from so far back to pass so many competitors and finish first. I have practiced wet weather tracks a great deal and it was so rewarding to see this hard work pay off as I managed to pick up a real speed and get a lot out of the kart. I’ve had the best year of racing and this has been a great way to complete a wonderful 2018.”
Coach and ex-Formula 2 Champion, Italian Fausto Ippoliti, was on hand to support Al Dhaheri throughout the three days and summed up: “This was a pretty unbelievable performance from Rashid as he won against great odds. Not only had he faced challenges with his engine and being far back on the track, but also from torrential weather conditions. It is victories such as this that any budding racing driver can truly learn from and I am proud to have seen him achieve one of his best wins yet. We are truly starting to see this young talent achieve his full potential.”
The 2018 Macau International Kart Grand Prix took place on the 1.2km track at Kartrodomo de Colaone, Macau, from 7th-10th December, carried out by Automobile General Association Macao-China. Ranked one of the most challenging tracks in Asia, the Coloane Karting Track is the only permanent track available in Macao or Hong Kong, and provides spectator stands and restaurant, as well as a sweeping panorama of the surrounding countryside.