- Sodi targeting not only podiums but also the human experience of karting
- Family atmosphere within the team is what makes Sodi Racing UAE special
The local motor racing scene is braced for what is likely to be the most competitive karting season ever in the UAE, with several big teams and a record number of drivers set to battle it out in the UAE Rotax MAX Challenge – the official UAE National Karting Championship – and among those aiming to feature at the sharp end of proceedings will be the Sodi Racing Team.
The team which although new on the UAE karting scene has a huge pedigree in European karting at the highest level and have in their midst a wealth of expertise in just about all forms of motor racing at all levels.
This year, their second in the UAE as a karting team, they boast several drivers capable of challenging for top spots in the Rotax MAX championships. Among them are regular front runners Piers Packenham-Walsh, Tehmur Chohan, Patrick Hannah and Anas Halabi.
Nicolas Fargeas, head of racing operations for the team, spoke of the targets that he has set for the forthcoming season, “The podium of course is the main target! But more than that it is truly a human experience. We are all going in the same direction to achieve the same goal of winning, but also sharing experiences, learning from each other and most of all have fun, this is the general vision of our team.
“We want a friendly and family atmosphere around the team. A place where drivers and even relatives can hang out. Piers Packenham–Walsh, Patrick Hannah and Tehmur Chohan just joined the team and I am sure they will be a big asset to the team in terms of results but also to give motivation and cheer the team up and hopefully get a lot of ‘Orange’ [team colours] on the podiums.”
The team has a base at the Dubai Kartdrome which plays in their favour, as the venue has by far the biggest footfall of karters and ‘wannabe’ racers in the region, and gives the Sodi Racing Team affiliated drivers convenient access for testing and private practice.
“The Kartdrome has been part of our growth. If Sodi has reached such a level today it is because of this relationship we have with them. The team and the management are always available to give a hand and I think this is a very good thing, that is the best way to promote both Arrive & Drive karting and related racing activities in the UAE,” said Fargeas.
In fact former Kartdrome manager David Terrien is managing partner of GGI Entertainment who are the holding company of Sodi Racing Team. Terrien is a former karting and FIA GT World Champion, with vast experience in racing and driver development. He is assisted by operations manager Joao Gouveia who adds expertise in terms of logistics and race strategy.
Experienced karting engineer George Gibbons is team manager, overseeing team mechanics Joe Narcisco and Samith Nilanka. Also in the team’s ranks are well known endurance karter and all round racing driver Alban Varutti along with Jorge Clara – the pair providing driver coaching and technical support.
Preparations for the opening round of the 2014-2015 UAE Rotax MAX Challenge next month are well underway and the season will be fiercely competitive with a high level of professionalism established by the hardworking Al Ain Raceway Kart Club (AARKC) who are the organising body for the series.
Fargeas is optimistic and enthusiastic about the future of UAE karting, “The structure really enables kart racing to grow and evolve in the UAE. We are at the edge of a ‘Karting Boom and we all have a role to play in the development of racing here in order to bring the UAE to the level of top international kart racing communities.”
And along the way do not be surprised if the Sodi Racing Team drivers take home some serious silverware during the course of the season. Behind-the-scenes they have a highly qualified and solid support network to ensure success in their racing while maximising enjoyment of the sport at a vital level.
Under the auspices of Sodi Middle East the outfit runs a shop selling racing karts, professional equipment and race wear while offering maintenance services for the karting community.
Drivers wanting to investigate or pursue involvement in the UAE karting scene, Fargeas advises, “You can call George (050-825-3705) or Nicolas (056-949-9425) or meet us most days at Dubai Kartdrome. Come around to have a chat and we will take care of the rest! You can also follow us also on Facebook or Instagram or visit our website www.sodikartme.com.”
The karting season kicks off with the opening at Al Ain Raceway on 10 October 2014, the twelve round series will visit Dubai Kartdrome for two double header weekends on 31 October 2014 and 13 February 2015.