Oman's go-karting stars - Sanad and Abdullah al Rawahi - have the potential to compete with the world's best racers, according to Danilo Rossi, one of the greatest go-karting drivers of all time. The Italian racer and five-time world champion was in Muscat on a brief personal visit recently. Speaking exclusively to Muscat Daily, Rossi said, “Both the brothers have the potential to compete at the top level. I saw them compete at a European championship last year and they impressed me.”
Rossi, who founded DR Racing, a top go-karting team and chassis manufacturer, strongly feels that the only way for the two Omani racers to reach the top is to take part in more international races. “The more they compete on different tracks and in top-level competitions, the more they will benefit. They need adequate exposure and experience to race against the best,” Rossi said. “Only then will they gain confidence and hope to make it to the top.” He added, “The Rawahi brothers need to spend more time on different type of tracks.
They have the ambition to excel, but it also requires a lot of determination and time. Motor sports is like a school where the more time you spend, the more you learn.” The 38 year old Rossi was a star in the sport during the nineties, claiming five world titles between 1990 and 1999. He claimed double world championship crowns in 1992 when he won the Formula K and Formula C categories for CRG Team. Having rubbed shoulders in go-karting with the likes of Giancarlo Fisichella, Jenson Button, Robert Kubica, Lewis Hamilton, Jarno Trulli, Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso - who all later became big names in Formula One - Rossi also served as a test driver for F1 team Minardi. He also raced in Formula 3 and Formula 3000.
After failing to obtain a confirmed place in the fiercely competitive F1 circuit, Rossi launched his own company shortly after quitting go-karting in 2000, establishing DR Racing. Speaking about the state of go-karting at present, Rossi said, “It was more difficult during my days. Nowadays, the machine has become more important than the driver. It's easier now to reach the top.” Known for his calm and composed approach, Rossi's message for young drivers is: “It's important to begin with a sense of calmness. It's not easy to go into a race and get an immediate result.
“This is really important for me when I talk to youngsters. They should understand that when they go into a race, anything is possible - everything is.” Rossi added, “The biggest problem with drivers nowadays is that 70 per cent of them think they can just go on the track and drive. They want to win easy. “It's important to not just win a race, but to understand the technical points of the sport, like chassis, engine, and so on. If they understand this, it will be a big help for them. “The key elements to become a world champion are to have passion and a strong character. One has to trust in one’s own abilities and then reach out for one’s goals.”
The Rossi file:
Five world championship titles, team manager for CRG, founder of DR Racing
Born in 1974 in Alatri, Italy u Karting debut in 1984
Won his first title in 1990
In 1992, he won world titles in the 100 and 125cc categories in a span of two weeks; he also won a World Cup event
In 1997, he returned to gokarting after a three-year gap, having unsuccessfully switched to motor sport, and won his last two championship titles in 1997 and 1999