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Russell Opens WSK Account With Win

press release 10 March 2013

The opening round of the WSK Euro Series was always going to be a tense affair, but Birel KF star George Russell kept a cool head to claim a victory and valuable points at La Conca (3 March), to get his campaign off to a solid start.

The entry of 61 drivers had to be split into two separate groups for the heats, giving the double KFJ champion an early boost. He had made it through to the Super Pole shootout after the first phase of timed qualifying and his 6th in that session gave him 3rd place on the grid for each of his four preliminary races.

Above: George Russell flies at La Conca aboard his Birel
pic - Chris Walker/Kartpix

“Two people crashed in front of me during, what I felt, was going to be my best lap,” George explained. “That cost me time but, ironically, it worked out better for me overall, as 3rd is the ideal position to make the best starts at La Conca.”

Russell was then good to his word and recorded two wins and a 2nd in his first three heats. Unfortunately, the Englishman was knocked off the circuit in his last heat and though he recovered to 9th at the chequered flag, he was denied what had looked to be a guaranteed pole position for the pre-final, thanks to him being the only driver with two heat wins under his belt.

“All the front-runners had one bad heat. I was pipped to topping the intermediate classification by a single point due to being hit off the circuit. It was doubly frustrating as the driver who ran into me was given a ten-second penalty for the contact, which demoted him to 8th and promoted me from 12th to 9th. Had I finished in his place, it would have been me sitting on P1.”

As they waited to be called out onto the grid, ahead of the pre-final George and his team put together their race strategy: “Unlike most races, where your finishing position in the pre-final simply decides where you start the main final from, the WSK series awards points for both finals. So my brief was to try and win at least one of the two finals, to chalk up good points early on in the championship.”

pic - Chris Walker/Kartpix

A bold tyre gamble also paid off, as George explains: “Every driver was given six tyres for the two finals. I opted to put fresh rubber all round on my kart for the first race, while everyone else went for just two tyres, preferring to keep four back for the second.” It proved to be an inspired choice. Russell quickly took the lead and nailed home his advantage during the early stages. In the latter stages his advantage was narrowed down by the chasing pack, but post-race penalties and George’s faultless driving saw him take first blood in the title race.

With just two fresh tyres on his Birel RY30-S5, rather than the four most of his competitors now had, he needed to make a clean getaway at the start. This he managed to do and he managed to hold the screaming pack behind him through the opening lap. “The new tyres proved to be a massive benefit to the other drivers and I lost five places. I knew the performance differential would be there, so it didn’t rattle me when a kart went past, I just kept plugging away.”

Having stemmed the tide, and as the race wore on, George was able to match the pace of the front-runners: “I was competitive, but it was too late for me to catch the lead five.” 

Crossing the line in 6th place, Russell sensed he had taken sufficient points to give him a solid platform on which to build his title assault: “We definitely made the right tyre choice and consequently I’m 2nd overall. I’m very happy and La Conca marked a big improvement on my first two races with the team. The chassis is excellent and there is more to come from the TM engine. The team are always looking for performance gains, which is good experience for me and it’s nice to work hard for each improvement. Hopefully, our hard work will pay off and there will be more good results to come.” 



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