Portimao (Portugal), November 12: Ruhaan Alva, the 11-year old schoolboy from Bengaluru and representing the Birel Art India team, marked his debut in the World Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals here on Saturday with a creditable 12th place finish in the Micro Max category out of 34 starters, only to be disqualified on a technicality.
Ruhaan, supported by Play Factory and Sona Miller, was disqualified for being underweight by a mere 100 grams during the mandatory post-race weigh-in. As per regulations, the kart along with the driver in full racing gear, including the helmet, should weigh 110 Kgs, but Ruhaan tipped the scales at 109.9 Kgs.
“We are absolutely shattered, but there is nothing we can do about it. Ruhaan had put in so much effort going into the World Finals and we had come to Portugal with a lot of hopes. So, an extremely disappointing finish to the week”
The Grand Finals saw 360 karters from 59 countries competing in various age-group categories, and Ruhaan came through a week-long competition that saw four rounds of free practice, three qualifying heats, the Pre-Final and the Final with a consistent performance which won him much high acclaim.
Though Ruhaan finished just outside the top-10 group, he improved with each outing and clocked his best lap of one minute, 07.992 seconds around the 1.5 Kms long circuit in the 10-lap Final that was won by France’s Louis Iglesias.
Ruhaan opened the week with a best lap of 01:11.295 in the first of the practice sessions. As he grew in confidence and learnt the track, his times dropped. He qualified 10th for the Pre-Final and 13th for the Final.
“It was a great learning experience for me, competing against the best in the World. I thought I could have done much better, but am happy that I could finish 12th in a field of 36 in my category that was extremely competitive. Of course, it was very disappointing to get disqualified for being underweight,” said Ruhaan who was punching above his weight considering that many of his competitors had more track time.
Ruhaan thus completed an otherwise excellent season as he finished third overall in his category in the Italian Easykart Championship and second in the FMSCI Indian National championship.