Oman's karting brothers steering in the right direction

Abdullah, 14, is DAMC Junior Max Champion while elder sibling, Sanad, comes of age with the journeys from home to Dubai Autodrome paying off.

Sanad Al Rawahi, left, and his younger brother, Abdullah, have both had successful seasons at DAMC Karting Championship.
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Two teenage brothers who share a driving ambition to rise to the top in motorsport are rapidly making names for themselves at Dubai Kartdome.

Over the past season Abdullah and Sanad al Rawahi have established themselves as keen competitors in the region's toughest karting series, winning titles along the way.

The brothers made the long trip from Oman to the UAE for each race in the 2010/11 Dubai Autodrome Motorsport Club (DAMC) Karting Championship and it has proved a worthwhile journey.

Fourteen-year-old Abdullah al Rawahi is the 2010/11 DAMC Junior Max Champion, a title previously won by the likes of Piers Pakenham-Walsh, who moved to Dubai from the UK in 2007, and Dubai-born Edward Jones - two highly rated young drivers.

And although Sanad, 16, did not win the 2010/11 DAMC Senior Max title he was the Courtyard by Marriott Karting Young Driver of the Year as he came of age during the season to establish himself as a force in local karting

Abdullah's championship title came about through a combination of speed, consistency and hard work.

He summed up his season as: "Very good and very challenging."

And he said of the outgoing champion: "Piers Pakenham-Walsh was my toughest rival this year."

There was, however, little to separate the two during the course of the season. They dominated the class from race one and were responsible for some of the closest racing all season. "I am very happy to win the championship title this year," Abdullah said.

"I really worked hard all season and stayed focused all the way till the end. I am delighted to have managed a seat at the biggest karting event in the world [the Rotax Max Grand Finals] that will take place this November at Al Ain Raceway.

"I will take a break to focus on my studies. After my exams, I will gear up for the Under 18 World Championship and the Grand Finals."

Meanwhile, Sanad's duels with eventual champion Maurits Knopjes in the UAE's premier karting class were memorable. The elder brother acknowledges that the Dubai-based Dutchman was his toughest rival and that the season was a steep learning curve.

"It was a very difficult season for me as I was racing with much more experienced drivers," Sanad said.

"But that made me work even harder. I learnt a lot and I want to learn more.

"I am looking forward to the Under 18 World Championship and also the European races.

"Hopefully, I will get a chance to take part in the Al Ain Grand Finals. I am proud of my achievements so far, but we have a long way to go."

The young Omani ended his season at the Kartdrome in fine fashion by winning the heat, pre-final and final, delivering a mature performance on his way to scoring triple victories on the day.

It is probably no surprise that the brothers have made an impressive impact on local karting.

The pair have been racing since they were eight and 10, respectively, and have enjoyed the support of their father, Suleiman, and the rest of their family.

They both can boast some of the best turned out karts in the series and despite a limited budget the duo exude professionalism.

Many of the current crop of Formula One drivers started their careers as young kart drivers and this development path could give the al Rawahi brothers an edge in climbing the motorsport ladder.

And with the right financial backing, they could themselves be stars of the future.

* Compiled by The National staff with agency