Budding racer and two time Indian National Karting Champion, Shahan Ali Mohsin made India proud with strong performance in the 2017 Rotax Grand Festival in Austria. The 13-year-old finished in overall fourth place, while the pre-finals saw the young driver secure a podium finish. The Agra-based racer was competing in the Mini Max category for Uniq Racing Team with 26 other drivers for the top spot. He was the only Indian at the event, and finished the practice sessions in top 10.
Shahan finished ninth in qualifying, and had work cut out for him to get to the front of the grid. Shahan managed to show top performance in the three heat races, finishing consistently in the top 10. With each heat comprising 9 laps, Shahan finished sixth in Heat, followed by securing the tenth place in Heat 2. However, the young lad was handed a 5-second penalty at the end of Heat 2 which further dropped him to 16th place. Nevertheless, Heat 3 saw the Indian driver make up for a disappointing Heat 2 and finished at an impressive fourth.
The hard work paid off for Shahan and he managed to line-up fifth on the grid in the pre-finals. The Uniq team racer showed impressive moves in the important race and moved up to third place. The young driver continued to retain his place over the next laps and ultimately crossed the chequered flag in P3, securing his first podium of the weekend.
Shahan's strong performance in the pre-finals awarded him third place on the grid in the final race and things certainly looked optimistic. While the race was red flagged on the opening lap, the finale was restarted 20 minutes later and Shahan wasted no time in passing Moroccan racer Suleiman Zanfari to move up to P2. The reigning Asian Karting Champion was tailing race leader Maximillian Tarillion from Argentina, but a small mistake cost him five places and the young driver ended up at P7 in the 17 lap race.
The road to recovery was a tough and long one from here and Shahan managed to move back up to P4, just 0.678 seconds behind P3 finisher Marius Kristiansen.
Despite not securing a podium, Shahan put up an impressive show. Speaking about the weekend, he said, "It is hard not to be disappointed after pace we showed in the pre-final and the finals because we were surely in hunt for the victory, nothing less. Despite the recovery, it feels like something had been taken away from us", remarked Shahan.
"We were the first finisher with the long chassis setup with 1-2-3 place finishers driving a short chassis. For sure there was some advantage for the short chassis in the quick chicanes where a fast direction change was needed; so classifying them together may have been slightly unfair. Any case, it is done and dusted so we're already looking forward to our next outing now", he added.