Young Emirati racing star Rashid Al Dhaheri continued his winning ways as he acceded up the first-place podium steps to be crowned the victor of Rok Cup Italia 2019 at Adria International Raceway.
Yesterday was a very special day in Italy for Motorsport. It was the 90th edition of the Formula One Grand Prix and the 90th anniversary of the iconic Italian Ferrari brand, both celebrated by the astonishing win secured by the Scuderia at the Autodromo Nazionale di Monza (the temple of Speed). At the same time, in Adria, on the karting racetrack, a battling performance from Rashid saw him claim a convincing win.
A weekend with frequent rain saw challenging conditions for the young karting star. During qualifying Rashid started from third and won every heat, in the face of mixed conditions on the track – the intermittent rain meant that some parts of the track were wet, and some were dry. Utilising both slick and wet tyres depending on the conditions in the respective heats, the young Emirati impressed spectators with strong performances as he showed a distinct edge in pace. Rashid held back and kept his cards close to his chest, preserving this optimum performance for the final race.
With the stage set and the weather creating a wet track for the final, all contenders were faced with a challenge. In the face of this, and despite the perception that he may struggle as an Emirati hailing from a hot and dry climate, Rashid came into his own. Starting from pole position, Rashid in his number 610 kart flying the Parolin colours, dominated the race, with an outstanding performance from start until finish. His lead was robust and fearless.
His rapid speed saw the youngster achieving the fastest lap of the race and with the gap widening wider and wider throughout the contest, Rashid finished the race a staggering 4.5 seconds ahead of the nearest competitor. As he crossed the finish line Rashid celebrated by pretending to do a breast stroke with his arms in reference to the wet conditions, ‘swimming’ freestyle across the finish line.
Commenting on the win, Rashid said: “I am happy to fly the flag of the UAE and to raise it above the first-place podium, which makes me proud to be standing as a young Emirati sportsman. I will continue to work hard with the team to keep up the momentum.”
Coach and ex-Formula 2 Champion, Italian Fausto Ippoliti, was on hand to support Al Dhaheri throughout the three days and summed up: “Rashid took the win with aplomb as he held the lead through the first corner. It was a deserved win as he put on a fine fight at the front and proved his abilities as a well-rounded driver, where he can obtain a podium finish in the face of a variety of challenges – he is remarkably resilient and can handle whatever is thrown at him. In this case, Rashid’s talent has shown his ability to drive both in wet and in mixed condition to great effect and maintain pressure. It’s a brand of etiquette of the greatest racing drivers”.
At that race Rashid laid down a marker and the result follows on from two Championship Victories for Rashid, who this season has secured the double of the WSK Euro Series Championship and the WSK Super Master Championship victory in the Mini category. For the WSK Master Series Rashid achieved three wins out of four rounds of racing for this competition, which was the first such achievement by any Mini driver for the past six years. The Rok Cup Italia 2019 took place on the innovative FIA approved Adria International Raceway. This 1,302m course is challenging with its tight and twisty nature, with the straights connected by a series of hairpin bends.