2018-19 UAE Rotax Max Challenge Series: Shonal crowned champ
One down, two more to go. Shonal Kunimal’s toughest challenge in the pursuit of a grand treble this season has been won despite the odds, which included engine problems, as the seven year old Muscat-based go-karting racer won the first of three championship titles recently.
Competing in the eighth and final round of the competitive 2018-19 UAE Rotax Max Challenge Series in the Bambino class, Shonal did enough in the last round to seal the prestigious overall crown at the Yas Marina circuit in Abu Dhabi, UAE.
Ahead of the final round, Shonal was battling out with fellow Muscat-based racer, Adam Awan, with a difference of just 15 points separating the two.
The final round witnessed a total of six time-trials with Shonal winning two and finishing runner-up and third in two other races after the first two races saw him struggle with engine issues.
However, a total of 104 points, two less than Adam in the final round, was enough for Shonal to claim the championship crown with a grand total of 682 points. Adam took the second spot with 669 while Greece's Leonidas Peruzzi, who won the final round, with 109 points, was overall third.
It was first time this season that Shonal failed to make to the podium as he finished overall fourth in the final round. Zak Sowerby followed Leonidas while Adam was third.
Yas Marina circuit was the last stop for Shonal, an Indian School Ghubra International (ISG-I) student, in the Rotax Max
Challenge series. The earlier rounds were held in at the Al Ain Raceway, Dubai Kartdrome, Abu Dhabi’s Al Forsan Sports Club and Muscat Speedway of the Oman Automobile Association (OAA).
Speaking after lifting overall trophy, his second major achievement this season, having earlier won the Dubai
O-Plate Championship in January, Shonal said, “I am thrilled with the overall title. I had issues with my engine in the first two races but once it was sorted, I was back to my normal pace.
“I would like to thank Sulaiman al Rawahi, the managing director of OAA, who has encouraged me a lot. Also thanks to my coach, Sanad al Rawahi, and GPX Academy for their support.”
Shonal is all set to complete a grand treble, as he has secured a comfortable lead in the other two championships – IAME X30 UAE Series and Dubai Bambino Cup.
The final and sixth round of IAME X30 UAE Series will be held in Ras al Khaimah on April 19. Shonal leads the standings with 725 points with his nearest rival, Nicholas Stutra of Italy, trailing with 653 points.
In the Dubai Bambino Cup, Shonal has won all the four previous rounds. The youngster has 200 points while Nicholas is second with 158 points and Anthony Joe Khalil is third with 150 points.