Located in the north-east of Italy, the Parolin factory now holds an increasingly important place in the international karting landscape.
Renowned for the quality of the products manufactured for their own brand, as well as subcontracting for other manufacturers, it has been focusing for some time on youth categories. Recent performances by Gabriele Mini in OK-Junior are a perfect example.
The involvement of marketing director Marco Parolin (25), alongside his father Albino, illustrates this new dynamism of the Italian firm, with 25 employees.
HAS IT ALWAYS BEEN YOUR WISH TO WORK IN THE FAMILY BUSINESS?
I have been in the karting business for a long time! I raced a little myself when I was younger, before concentrating on my education. I saw my father, Albino Parolin, grow the business and I wanted to participate in this growth by bringing some youth and new ideas. This has always been my goal. I was still at university when I started working at Parolin in 2012. Today, I’m marketing director.
IS IT DIFFICULT TO WORK UNDER YOUR FATHER’S MANAGEMENT?
We have an excellent relationship, fortunately! Of course, we do not always agree, but at least we can speak frankly and directly, which allows us to find the best solutions faster. We are lucky to have complementary skills, to each have our talents and our feelings. My father is an excellent technician, he has an incredible experience of karting. For my part, I am more concerned about the commercial and marketing aspects. Between us, the balance is good and, in the end, we have the same goal: the success of Parolin.
YOU PARTICIPATED IN THE LAUNCH OF THE U18 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP AND THE ACADEMY TROPHY WITH THE CIK-FIA. ARE THERE GOOD MEMORIES?
Yes, excellent! It was a beautiful adventure. We supplied up to 80 KF engines in 2011 in U18. Although this World Championship had to stop at the end of 2012, we pushed the CIK-FIA to continue the Academy Trophy and it has been a success. We had to prepare more than 50 karts, being careful to offer perfect sporting equality. It was a great technical challenge, and also a personal challenge alongside all these young drivers from countless nationalities around the world. It also coincides with my joining the business, so I quickly found myself in the deep end!
IN 2016, FOLLOWING A NEW CALL FOR TENDERS, THE CIK-FIA CHANGED PARTNERS FOR THE ACADEMY TROPHY. WAS IT A DISAPPOINTMENT FOR PAROLIN?
Not really. We had an excellent technology and media exposure for six years. It was time for Parolin to focus on other projects and develop new business strategies. In addition, we had homologated KF engines and 2016 saw the arrival of OK engines. This would have required a costly investment to continue to supply Academy Trophy equipment. In the end, this adventure stopped at the right moment, especially since as it brought us precious experience.
WHY DID YOU NOT CONTINUE YOUR INVOLVEMENT IN KZ?
In 2016 and 2017, we had the opportunity to demonstrate our potential with Lorenzo Camplese. This was beneficial for expanding our chassis sales, especially for KZ-type categories. At the 2016 World Championship in Sweden, Lorenzo was 5th on the starting grid of the Final! But now, we have decided to intensify our efforts on young drivers, mainly in 60 Mini, OK-Junior and OK. Since the beginning of the season, the results confirm our choices. The podiums and victories were constant in 60 Mini. And for his first year in OK-Junior, Gabriele Mini has already won the WSK Super Master Series and is fighting at the front of the CIK-FIA European Championship. We must also recognise that he is a very talented driver.
WHAT DO YOU THINK OF PAROLIN’S CURRENT POSITION IN THE INDUSTRY?
Our international development programme continues according to our objectives. We are constantly increasing the number of distributors, for example in North America or China. Of course, there are still markets to conquer, but today we are much better organised to do so and we have a range of very competitive products. The factory has invested heavily in its research and development department, as well as in the acquisition of new machines and robots. I am delighted that the Parolin brand is attracting growing interest around the world. We are also very involved in the sale of rental karts. Currently, we are deploying a lot of energy to promote the electric kart, very popular with indoor circuits.