Emirati Rashid Al Dhaheri continues the 2021 racing season with another important win on April 25 during the distinguished “WSK Super Master Series”. This victory adds up to his substantial results this season, where Rashid has already achieved 4 (out of 5) victories in World Series Karting competitions and triumphed in 2 (out of 2) Championships in 2021 making him the man to watch in the OK-Junior category.
After proving himself to be the fastest man under pouring rain two weeks ago, Rashid this time had to prove himself on dry track against a field of the world’s 88 best OKJ drivers from 33 countries at the world-famous South Garda Karting track which literally became the “Center of the Karting Universe” during April 22-25. This time the race drivers felt double pressure, namely not only fighting for a victory at the final fourth Round of the Super Master Series, but they eyed the reputable Championship title.
Following an overall fifth qualifying result, the five qualification heats were dominated by Al Dhaheri’s consistency, maturity, and level-headedness, giving Rashid a strong start by finishing 1st, placing himself on Pole Position for the Prefinal. Rashid started the 17-laps Prefinal from P1 and maintained this position until the chequered flag was raised.
The 17-laps crucial final opened and Al Dhaheri set off from Pole Position facing at first two challenging laps and even dropping down to 4th position. The top contenders fiercely battled for every centimeter on the karting track, at the same time they remained with a careful eye on possibly winning the Championship title. Spectators could feel the tension and pressure, but Al Dhaheri proved himself not only very fast on track but also with a very strong mindset. He kept himself calm throughout the race despite big pressure from all sides, but with great focus and unique driving skills, Rashid was able to win the hard-fought battles lap by lap overtaking his opponents and climbing all the way back from 4th to 1st position which he defended with great determination from lap 4 until the chequered flag. Al Dhaheri’s kart number 355 crossed the finish line with a gap of 0.960 seconds on his closest competitor (GBR) and the Emirati passionately threw his arms in the air to celebrate his double triumph.
This time the podium celebration was very special as two trophies were awarded. After the UAE flag was hoist and UAE’s national anthem played Al Dhaheri was awarded not only the trophy for winning the 4th Round of the WSK Super Master Series, but also for the hard-fought “2021 Championship” title which Al Dhaheri has already won in the “Mini” (60cc engine) category in 2019.
During the official media interviews a seemingly excited Al Dhaheri stated “I am very happy to win both – the Championship and the race – and I am very proud to repeat my success of 2019, but this time in a harder and more challenging category. I am thankful for my team and everyone who supports me.”
After being appraised for his “nerves made of steel” Al Dhaheri summed up his incredible performance: “This Championship title means a lot to me, especially I am racing in this OKJ category for less than a year and I lost valuable points in Round 2 and by missing Round 3 due to my Covid infection. Despite lacking speed during the warmup session, thanks to the great team effort we were able to get the kart ready on time for the Prefinal and I only had to stay fully focused and with a cool head in the Final. Whenever I am inside the kart, I do not feel the stress and I think only of the race. I really wanted to show that despite adversity EVERYTHING IS POSSIBLE! I always try to do everything with my head and to the best as I can.”
Being asked about his feelings to celebrate the Championship title far away from home and his family, Al Dhaheri mentioned “I know my family is following all my races live from Beijing (China) and I know they are very proud of me. It is unfortunate that I cannot see them for a year, but I am very determined to further climb up the motorsport ladder in the coming years and for this, I must work very hard and I am happy to sacrifice all that it takes.”
Coach and ex-Formula 2 champion Fausto Ippoliti said: “The WSK Super Master Series Championship is a very difficult title to win, only some of the world’s best race drivers – such as current Formula 1 drivers Max Verstappen and Antonio Giovinazzi – have achieved this title in the past. Rashid can secure this iconic title for the 2nd time after his 2019 success, of course now in a much more competitive OKJ category. Rashid’s extreme self-motivation, self-discipline, passion, and hard work have paid off. The whole team is extremely proud of Rashid’s achievements, it is an amazing result.”
Marco Parolin, manager of the Parolin Motorsport Team, and son of one of the world’s biggest karting manufacturers happily expressed: “It was another fantastic weekend for Rashid and the team. We approached the last round of WSK Super Master Series knowing that we needed a perfect performance in order to win the title, and Rashid capitalised on any single point available to make it happen. He showed high levels of maturity and determination, and I am proud to witness his progress race by race in these three years together. We enjoy the moment, but in a few days we will be already focusing on our next goal – the European championship, which will start in a few weeks in Belgium.””
Rashid will catch up with his online school work in the next few days and then depart with his team for the “FIA Karting European Championship” which will be held 13-16 May in Genk (Belgium).
WSK Super Master Series OKJ Championship 2021:
- Rashid AL DHAHERI (UAE) 247 points
- Matheus FERREIRA (Brazil) 205 points
- Alex POWELL (Jamaica) 192 points
Round 4 of WSK Super Master Series OKJ:
- Rashid AL DHAHERI (UAE)
- Harley KEEBLE (GBR) + 0.960
Berta NAKAMURA (JPN) +3.014