WhatRotax Max World Kart Report
WhereParaiba, Brazil
WhenSaturday 1 December 2018

Alibhai into world Junior Max top 36

Ormonde kart racer Aqil Alibhai survived a tumultuous trio of Junior Max heats and a bruising Pre Final to qualify for the Rotax Junior Max International Final in Paraiba, Brazil. Alibhai found himself at the centre of robust action throughout the week, but 19th in his Pre Final was good enough to see him 33rd on a 36-kart grid for Sunday's bruising Final, where he ended up 34th overall.

“It's been a wild few days!” Aqil explained. “There were times I thought it was all over - especially after a spell in the air in the Pre Final. After I landed the kart was bent and I really struggled, but I kept on fighting and somehow I ended up qualifying 33rd for the Grand Final where I finished 34th. “I am absolutely delighted to have made the final - it's a pity we are so far back after all that madness, but I’m giving it my best shot!"

Alibhai looked promising, sitting 15th in qualifying early on, but several drivers posted their fast times in the last two minutes to see Aqil finishing 27th in his group, where 71 of all the Juniors finished qualifying within 0.9 seconds of pole position! Heat 1 saw Aqil up seven places to 14th, and although he made up a handful of places in the first 5 laps of his second race, he was victim to some forceful overtaking manoeuvres to drop back to 14th, before moving five places up through the heat 3 mid pack war zone to improve his grid positions for that all important Pre Final.

The opening few laps of the Pre Final proved fraught — Aqil was surrounded by a number of overly aggressive drivers and found himself being bumped once so hard that his rear wheels were in the air, leaving him to fight his ill-handling kart through the next twelve laps, defending as best he could to end up 19th as he qualified 33rd of 36 karts for Saturday’s Final.

The Final once again saw Aqil fall victim to overly aggressive driving by his rivals to drop back after a great start to run 26th after the first lap and gain another slot on the second tour. He fought back into the top 30 by mid distance only to be shuffled back again, this time with a kart damaged to prevent fighting off his pursuer to end up 34th in the end.


Issued on behalf of Aqil Alibhai

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