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Alibhai on top again in Academy opener

Ormonde, Johannesburg karting star Aqil Alibhai continued his exceptional start to his rookie high school karting season with a splendid second position in the MSA Academy class in Saturday’s Rok Cup races at Vereeniging’s Laserfiche raceway. It was Alibhai’s second podium on the trot after he won the rival Rotax Junior Max Challenge Northern Regions season opener on his debut in that class at Zwartkops last month.

Aqil qualified seventh on the grid at Vereeniging but made the best of a wild first lap to climb to fourth before moving to third two laps later and then into second at mid distance, setting the fastest lap of the race on the way. That meant Aqil started on pole position for race 2 and enjoyed a tough dice only to be shuffled down to seventh on the last lap, before fighting hard through the final to emerge third to clinch a fine second overall.

“I am so happy with that result!” Aqil beamed after the final. “We won our first ever race in Junior Max and now I ended up a strong second in the first MSA Academy race of the season. "I enjoyed three nail biting races and it was a good, clean weekend for me — I drove my very best and I’m so happy to give a little back to my dad and the team for all the effort they put in every time.”

Aqil now heads to the iDube Rotax Max national on a high. “It’s been a great start to the season, but the big test is at iDube 31 March, where we will race against all the top kids from all around the country, so I am keen to keep up my good results since climbing into the high school classes earlier this year — I can’t wait!