Dubai: Rashid Al Daheri became the youngest Emirati to win an international race when he lifted the Birel EasyKart Trophy at the International Circuit of Castelletto di Branduzo in Italy on Sunday.
Aged just six years and 40 days, the Abu Dhabi primary schoolboy — known as ‘Little Alonso’ — won the bambino category and was the youngest in a field of 35 drivers in the 6-8 age group.
Al Daheri’s performance impressed important figures in the Italian karting community including ex-Formula 1 driver, Ferrari GT works driver and team principal Gianmaria ‘Gimmi’ Bruni, who has vowed to take the youngster under his wing.
“I am happy to help Rashid in his racing career path,” said Bruni. “Since I met him first time I saw passion and determination in his eyes.
“I had the opportunity to watch him testing and recognised 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.”
Rashid’s father Ali Al Daheri said he was happy with the development of his son’s karting career.
“We are sure that Gimmi Bruni’s vast knowledge and outstanding experience in motor sports will be an asset for Rashid to learn and grow. We are very proud of this new association.”
Ronni Sala, Birel’s President and promoter of the Easykart Trophy, said Rashid was the first non-European driver to be accepted on 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. We are sure that his different experience will be important for Italian participants and vice-versa.”