SHIHAB FINISHES FIFTH IN GERMANY
13 year old bounces back after two crashes in heats at Wackersdorf
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