Abu Dhabi

UAE wonder boy Rashid Al Daheri has taken giant strides towards his racing ambitions by joining Italy’s top Karting team Babyrace on a three-year contract.

Babyrace undertakes drivers’ development programmes from Karting until GP3 and have around seven young aspirants from Russia and the US, including Al Daheri.

The season has already been momentous for the 8-year-old, as he has amassed a large number of titles and awards in both local and international karting circuits. The young Emirati karting sensation vroomed past his competitors in the local event to win the O Plate title for the 3rd consecutive time.

Convincing victories also came in the IAME X30 UAE Championship winning in both Dubai Kartdome and Ras Al Khaimah (RAK). In Italy, Al Daheri earned victories or reached the podium in almost every race in the Parolin Academy Championship, the ROK Championship, Italiano Campionato and the WSK Series.

Sandro Lorandi, founder and owner of the Babyrace team, revealed that they decided to take Al Daheri on-board after hearing about his karting exploits. “I heard about Rashid during a conversation with my talent scout about a year ago and I was really impressed when I saw him. He is young, talented and more importantly, have the support of his family in a sport that needs a lot of finance,” said Lorandi, adding the youngster’s exposure is a step in the right direction to fulfil his Formula 1 aspirations.

“You will be wondering why in Italy and not here in the UAE? But the fact is that the level of competition there is far greater as pilots come from all around the globe. He will be competing in some high profile racing and getting accustomed to different conditions,” said Lorandi.

Al Daheri, who has competed in 23 races locally and internationally with 14 podium finishes and 8 times in first place, speaking about his stint with Babyrace said, “I’m learning how to drive in wet conditions as it rains quite often in Italy. How to manage a start, block and then overtaking is something that I’m focusing on. Learning fast from your mistake and giving my best is very important. The grid there in Italy is bigger and I’m competing in the age group of 8 to 12 which is also better for me.” In the 2017 season, Al Daheri will be scheduled to compete in the Italian WSK Championship, Campionato Italiano Championship and the Italian ‘ROK Championship’.

“I would not be pushing my son to do motorsports if he didn’t have the talent. He has been working hard and has shown that he has the potential to excel. If you have to make it big in this sport then you have to start early and we want to back him all the way,” said Al Daheri’s father Dr Ali Obaid Al Yabhouni.