SHIHAB FIN­ISHES FIFTH IN GER­MANY

13 year old bounces back after two crashes in heats at Wack­ers­dorf

Muscat Daily - - FRONT PAGE -

It has been one of the best weeks for Oman mo­tor sports in re­cent times. Be it the Blanc­pain GT3 Se­ries En­durance Cup champi- on­ship ti­tle tri­umph in Pro-Am class for Oman's most ex­pe­ri­enced driver Ah­mad al Harthy or tal­ented teenager Al Faisal al Zubair's maiden top-ten fin­ish in the Porsche Mo­bil 1 Supercup, there have been a wave of en­cour­ag­ing news for Oman mo­tor sports.

Add to the duo's ex­ploits, Nabeel al Shaibani's dou­ble ti­tles, win­ning his class and Ju­niors Cup, in the Al Hus­sein Rum­man Hill Climb in Jor­dan, added sparkle to those achieve­ments.

And to cap a mem­o­rable week for Oman, Shihab al Habsi, the 13 year old go-kart­ing star, fin­ished fifth in the third round of the chal­leng­ing Ro­tax-Euro Chal­lenge 2017, held in the Ger­man city Wack­ers­dorf on Sun­day.

Also com­pet­ing in an­other top-class go-kart­ing com­pe­ti­tion at Kris­tianstad in Swe­den over the week­end was Omani racer, Ab­dul­lah al Rawahi. of

Rawahi was tak­ing part in the CIK-FIA Euro­pean Cham­pi­onship in KZ2 cat­e­gory and man­aged a 31st place among a large grid of 54 driv­ers in a race marred by un­favourable weather con­di­tions with heavy rains and slip­pery tracks.

Gritty Shihab In Wack­ers­dorf, Shihab, who is pre­par­ing for the world cham­pi­onships in Septem­ber, had a tough time dur­ing the prac­tice and qual­i­fy­ing ses­sions.

But de­spite crash­ing out twice in the heats, Shihab fought back to pick up a fourth-place in the third heat.

With good speed, the young­ster dis­played his po­ten­tial as he fin­ished sev­enth in pre-fi­nal after start­ing at 18th place. Rep­re­sent­ing the Dan Holland Rac­ing team, Shihab then fur­ther im­proved his po­si­tion as he fin­ished a cred­itable fifth after start­ing the race at sev­enth place.

J J Rac­ing's Mike van Vugt won the race and had a best lap of 50.650s while Shihab's best lap was clocked at 50.769s.

Fol­low­ing his fifth-place, Shihab is now ranked 16th in the cham­pi­onship among 49 driv­ers with 76 points after par­tic­i­pat­ing in only one round of the four-leg se­ries. The fi­nal leg will be held in Castel­leto in Italy from Septem­ber 20-24.

Speak­ing to Mus­cat Daily after his race in Ger­many, Shihab said, “I am very happy with my show as I man­aged to fin­ish among top-five de­spite a se­ries of crashes in the heats. It gives me con­fi­dence for the forth­com­ing races.”

The next chal­lenge for Shihab will be the 22nd an­niver­sary of the MSA Kart­mas­ters Bri­tish Kart Grand Prix at the PF In­ter­na­tional kart cir­cuit in Gran­tham from Thurs­day to Sun­day.

Shihab will be com­pet­ing in the OK Ju­nior cat­e­gory that features 16 top-class driv­ers.

Ahmed al Habsi, Shihab's fa­ther-cum-coach, said, “The par­tic­i­pa­tion at Kart­mas­ters is a good build-up for Shihab as he would be com­pet­ing at the same venue dur­ing the CIK-FIA OK & OKJ World Cham­pi­onships from Septem­ber 20-24.

Tough for Rawahi

Else­where in Kris­tianstad, Rawahi was up against some of the top driv­ers at the de­mand­ing Asum Ring lay­out track.

Chang­ing weather con­di­tions did not help Rawahi, who is hardly used to rains and slip­pery track con­di­tions. De­spite the odds, Rawahi man­aged to qual­ify for the fi­nal com­pris­ing the top 34 driv­ers. In the qual­i­fy­ing heat, Rawahi was 34th among the 54 com­peti­tors.

Shihab al Habsi at the Wack­ers­dorf cir­cuit in Ger­many

Ab­dul­lah al Rawahi com­petes in Kris­tianstad, Swe­den

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