|What||African Open & Northern Regions Karting Round 4 Report|
|Where||Zwartkops International Kart Raceway, Pretoria|
|When||30 June - 1 July 2018|
|Community||Johannesburg South, National|
Tough weekend comes good for Alibhai
Ormonde, Johannesburg high school karting sensation Aqil Alibhai emerged battered but satisfied following a wild double header weekend at the Zwartkops International Raceway. Alibhai arrived at Saturday’s fourth round Northern Regions races leading the Junior Max title chase and won the first race, but his day went in the wrong direction from there, before Aqil bounced back with a workmanlike second in the Sunday’s African Open.
Aqil qualified second for Saturday’s regional before overcoming a fraught dice to take the first race win. He then chased Cape Town rival Joseph Oelz through the second race and passed him on the final tour, only for Oelz to jump a kerb and eliminate Aquil. “Saturday started well and we won the first race and the second race went well until my out of town rival bumped me off “He was penalised, but he cost me the championship lead and I had to fight from the back to eleventh in the final — at least we had fastest lap of the race.”
Sunday dawned a new day and it was straight down to African Open business for Aqil, who qualified pole and went on to win the first pre-final before taking fourth in the second race. That as good enough to see him start the winner-takes-all Final in pole position for that Junior Max seat in the South African Rotax Max World Finals team. “The African Open was awesome and the racing was tough — I put it on pole for the Final and held on for a few laps before Oelz found a way past and we just never had a chance to get him back, so I ended up second.
“It was an emotional weekend and we are still in with a chance — if Oelz wins the championship too, then there's a seat going begging, so who knows. “Now we just need to make the best of the last two nationals — it's still only our rookie season in Junior Max, so it's great to be fighting for the big prizes — if we can’t win them this year, we have time to come back even stronger over the next two seasons.”
Issued on behalf of Aqil Alibhai
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