Nick Leone

Abdulali emerged as a rival to the Nation's elite at ROK Festival NOLA

The nearly unknown Northeastern Junior talent has grabbed our attention.

Rafe Abdulali stands in third at the podium presentation at NOLA Motorsports Park for the inaugural ROK Festival in the US. Photo: John Johnson / Kart360

Amongst the talents we typically witness in the United States karting scene, there is often a repeating trend of who will “set the pace”. In fact, upon seeing an entry list or a word of mouth attendance sheet, we typically are aware of how the results of the weekend will shape up.

Well, that is until a driver emerges and shocks us all.

Rafe Abdulali, driving under Orsolon Racing in the Junior categories has wowed us last weekend in NOLA at the ROK Cup Festival. The New Yorker was never on our radar, until some brilliant driving had both the paddock and us with a smirk of positivity. The smirk, where deep down you are proud of a young driver, despite not knowing them personally, for proving him or herself against the best.

Abdulali also may have had a few front runners scratching their heads, as his performance in all four heats and the final indicated he was meant to be there. A 5th, 3rd, 3rd, and 2nd finishing result in the heat races and a 3rd place in the final was a breath of fresh air, as it appears a new talent has emerged in the top tier karting scene.

Battling with Tyler Gonzalez, Matheus Morgatto, Alessandro De Tulio, and not to mention setting the fastest lap time in the final. Abdulali executed picture perfect crossover maneuvers, late braking passes, and consistency that was applause worthy. Stating that turns one and the back stretch chicane were his prime overtaking locations.

“They are great competition and it is improving me as a driver,” says Abdulali in regard to competing with Gonzalez and Morgatto. Not to mention, this was his first time competiting under Orsolon Racing, so it is safe to say that they are a great match!

Only time will tell if Abdulali will remain a front running threat, however his last performance is a solid hypothesis as to what the future may hold.