Rashid Al Dhaheri, UAE karting racer and winner of the Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Creative Sports Award, kicks off his international karting season early next month in Italy. This year will see Rashid take on his busiest and most challenging season so far as he moves up age categories (to age 8-10/ 8-12) and competes in numerous top level international karting events. Image Credit: Photo:Organiser

Dubai: Seven-year-old Emirati karter Rashid Al Dhaheri is set for his most challenging season yet, according to his father Ali.

The youngster dubbed ‘Little Alonso’ missed out on the opening round of the 2016 Italian ChampionKart series in Adria last month because he wasn’t old enough to compete.

However, as he turns eight-years-old this month he can now start his international season from the second round of the series onwards at Castelletto on April 10, after ticking into a new 8-12 age bracket.

Rashid faced a similar issue last season after missing the first round of the Parolin Academy Championship, but he still went on to finish second overall in the series.

The Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Creative Sports Award winner won the Dubai Kartdrome O-Plate in January and will race in the IAME Championship RAK-Track event at the end of this month as the UAE season wraps up. Domestic duties will resume in September where he will compete in both the IAME Championship and the Rotax Max Challenge in the Micro Max category.

Internationally, besides the ChampionKart series in Italy, Rashid will also be taking part in the ROK Championship mini category, the Italiano Campionato and the WSK Series for the first time this season. The WSK Championship is the hardest and most prestigious in the world with 90 top karters competing in the mini category alone.

“Rashid is extremely excited to be starting a new season,” said his father Ali. “As the youngest driver in most of these competitions this will be his most intense and challenging season yet. Therefore this season will be all about learning, there is no doubt he has a lot of natural ability, but in order to progress he needs to gain crucial experience and learn to compete at the highest international levels against older, more seasoned drivers.

“However we are still optimistic as Rashid is used to this kind of challenge, last year Rashid was competing with kids up to four years older than him, this is all the more impressive because at this age the physical differences between a seven-year-old and a 10-year-old can be huge.”

Rashid has competed in 51 races domestically and internationally to date, with 38 podiums and 21 first place finishes.