Young Emirati karting star Rashid Al Dhaheri marked a UAE homecoming race by winning the Dubai O Plate – the United Arab Emirates’ annual major event for kart races held at the Dubai Kartdrome. Rashid has participated five times in this competition, and this is the fifth Dubai O Plate that Rashid has won, which makes him the contest’s most successful participant, marking a historical win for the youngster.
Rashid won the race following two days of action-packed kart racing, which pitted some of the best 32 drivers from the UAE and all around the world against each other, as they competed in three qualifying heats and two races, both pre-final and final.
On Friday, Rashid was the best performer from the three heats, where he started from pole each time, and his strong performances made it clear that he would be extremely competitive for the whole racing weekend. Rashid’s accomplishments throughout showed his attention to detail and his analytical approach shining through, as the strong mechanical set-up of his kart during the three qualifying sessions paid off.
On Saturday morning, Rashid went on to win the pre-final, which allowed him to start the final from pole position. On the last lap of the pre-final, Rashid was far and away 4.765 seconds quicker than his nearest competitor in second-place and 9.402 seconds quicker than the kart in third place.
As the final got underway, a great start put Rashid in the lead right away for the first curve, where he held strong for the first 12 laps of the 16-lap race. On lap 12, his closest rival for the weekend took the lead for two laps as the race drew to a conclusion. Rashid managed to overcome this challenge very quickly as he passed his competitor, finishing the race ahead of his competitor by 0.248 of a second.
These quick reactions resulted from capitalising on skills in the heat of the moment, with no time to second-guess manoeuvres or decisions Rashid has demonstrated – once again – his mental alertness, quick reflexes and desire to remain the best of its league (X30 Cadet).
From the top of the podium, Rashid said: “To win at home is always something special. The battle was very concentrated right from the first lap all the way through, and I really enjoyed racing with such intensity. Above all and from the depth of my heart, I would like to thank my team who always give me the best racing kart and equipment, which helps provide the edge over the competition. I know that without the full commitment and support of the team I could not perform to such a high level – this win is also their victory.”
The 11-year-old Emirati secured a new win of prime importance that placed him at the top of his game, having succeeded in establishing himself as the benchmark of the Cadet category ready to move soon to the Junior category. Racing is a true making of physical and mental capabilities and Rashid uses both of these dominant traits to maximize his performance. Rashid will now move on to kick off the new racing season in Italy, starting this coming weekend with the WSK Champions Cup in Adria. This will be followed in February with Round 1 of 4 of the WSK Super Master Series.