Youngest on the grid at 10 years old, Malaysian go-kart prodigy Muizzuddin Musyaffa Abdul Gafar continued his commendable form in his rookie season in Europe by finishing fourth in Sienna, Italy on Sunday; putting him in prime form for his bigger agenda at the Italian Go-Kart Championship next weekend.
Racing against 17 top international karters in the mini 60 category including regulars at the Italian Championship, Muizzuddin, or just Muizz among friends, performed brilliantly to outpace and outclass some of his older and more experienced rivals at the Tuscany Karting Challenge.
“It’s pity that Muizz could not translate that strong performance in Sienna with a podium finish … unless, it would have been a perfect outing,” said his manager Zainuddin Radzi in a media statement issued here today.
According to Zainuddin, Muizz was actually in second place at the final stages of the race; challenging for the lead with Italian Remigio Garofano before making a slight mistake at the end. That cost him a place on the podium as the young Malaysian finished behind Garofano, Kush Maini and Marseglia Leonardo, who took second and third respectively.
On his way to challenge Garofano; Muizz also recorded the second fastest lap time for the race with a time of 47.959 seconds around the 1.02-km twisty track. Apart from the winners’ trophy, Garofano also had the honour of making the best lap time at 47.952 seconds.
Zainuddin said: “Perhaps, Muizz was pushing too hard and that resulted in the mistake … we have to admit that there’s still plenty that Muizz needs to learn. But, he can only get better, stronger and faster. Having said that, Sienna is actually a very difficult track; so, we should give lots of credit to Muizz for trying very hard … We all know that despite his small physique, Muizz is real fighter inside; full of energy and full of fire … that’s why we call him Ironman.
“In any case, the race was an ideal warm-up for Round 3 of the CSAI Italian Karting Championship, which will be held next weekend … all the top karters at the championship was there at Sienna as well, perhaps on same mission as final preparation for Round 3, which would also be held in Sienna,” he added.
In the first two rounds of the Italian Karting Championship this season, Muizz finished 20th overall in the opening round; and ninth overall in Round 2. After two rounds, he sits at 13th overall from a field of 39 drivers. After Sienna, Muizz would be competing in Castelletto on September 9 for Round 4; before concluding his first full season at the CSAI Italian Karting Championship at Ortena in October.
Apart from the CSAI Italian Karting Championship, which widely regarded as the world’s premier karting championship, Muizz also competed in other championships including the World Karting Series and at state championships where he had won twice – one at the Puglia Regional Championship on May 27 and the other at Sicily Champion Cup on June 10.
Staying in a rented apartment in Sicily with his mother Siti Rohanah Hussein to race full time in Italy, Muizz is currently under a self-financed three-year development programme, which is designed by a leading karting team, Gamoto Racing Team which is based in Italy.
“2012 is actually meant to be a learning year for Muizz. To date, he had exceeded all expectations set by the team. Sincerely, we are realistically looking for him to score his first podium win this year. Who knows … it might be next weekend at Sienna,” Zainuddin added.
words & pix: SIC