MUSCAT, MAY 5 - The stunning victory of Shonal Kunimal, the six-and-a-half year old young prodigy, the youngest and fastest driver in his karting category (BAMBINO – Age between 5-9), who was crowned overall champion at the recently held RMC (ROTAX MAX CHALLENGE and runner up in IAME X30 International Go-Karting Championship) in the UAE, was accorded a rousing welcome last Wednesday. Shonal walked into victory after beating 23 peers and older champions from across the GCC and different nationalities including the UK, the US, France, Greece.
The event was held at the Oman Automobile Association (OAA) under the auspices of Sulaiman al Rawahi, Head of OAA, and graced by Hamed al Wahaibi, Oman motorsport legend, Papri Ghosh, the Principal of Indian School Ghubra, Pyarija Cidar, Vice-Principal of ISG, and Sanad al Rawahi, International Go-Karting Champion.
Shonal, a Class II student of the ISG, developed his love for engines and roaring machines at a very young age when he was just a toddler.
Shonal’s father Shojai supported and encouraged his son’s passion and love towards the kart and speed, and once Shojai realised the innate talent in his son, he just knew that Shonal was born to race!!.
But no journey comes without struggles, and in the earlier national races Shonal struggled too! Getting a podium win, while competing with challengers older and much more experienced than him, was not easy.
While racing, Shonal forgets everything but the track. He keeps fighting and working hard. His unrelenting passion and winning fire makes him blaze the race from start to finish.
COMPOSURE AT A YOUNG AGE
His calm and cool nature, his determination and never give up attitude in the race is what brought him to this top spot. At the age of six, Shonal won his first international overall championship in RMC and followed by overall runner up in IAME X30 too.
This shows Shonal’s marvellous talent, driving skill and passion towards go-karting.
In the debut international race season itself, Shonal broke the records in Bambino category even while competing against drivers with 3 to 4 years’ experience.
After the international drifting event, Shonal and his parents visited the karting zone in OAA and that was the first time Shonal saw a karting race track. He was excited and thoroughly enjoyed watching his parents driving the kart. This young boy, who was already in love with cars and driving, wanted to try his hand at karting. And that’s the beginning of Shonal’s victorious journey.
“It is his determination, passion and love for motor sport added with his ambition and fearless instinct that made him a champion for his age,” Hamed al Wahaibi said.
Multiple karting championships gave Shonal the opportunity to learn from many talented international coaches from here in Oman, from Poland and even from Spain.
Sanad al Rawahi, the young Omani coach and former world champion, has this to say “Shonal is a good listener and extremely passionate about karting. He is capable of achieving great results ahead. I can see spark in him and desire to excel.”
His principal, Papri Ghosh first met him when her deputy Pyarija Cidar brought this little racer to her cabin.
Bemused, she remembers, “asked him if he would win the race to which the reply of this soft spoken boy was even astonishing. An emphatic ‘yes’ was the reply”, Papri Ghosh remembered.
During the practice sessions and the multiple international races, motor sports legend Hamed al Wahaibi, gave invaluable inputs to Shonal.
“This boy is super-fast. He has a wealth of talent and potential. Mark my words, he will go a long way in future. We couldn’t have said it better ourselves speed on Shonal,” Hamed al Wahaibi said after Shonal became the overall champion.
“He is very good and tempered with calm, coolness and control of high speed reactions. We just supported him in his chosen passion,” Pyarija Cidar added. Shonal dreams big with international events each passing day. He has all the reason to aspire for better for he has a generous amount of natural driving ability maturing from an early age. He has combined precision with sheer determination, included the love of sports and speed and a winning talent and G-FORCE defined level of fitness. Indeed, all these have allowed him to develop in the field, then garnish with boyish cuteness, kindness and popularity, finally served together then you have a karting champion.