Strong Recovery for Wharton as Barnard Dominates

James Wharton fought back from a P27 start to finish 12th in the OK Final at Sarno’s second round of the European Championship.

After qualifying 8th in the 56-kart field, Wharton (Parolin/TM) slipped to 27th in the rankings at the conclusion of the heats. This was due to two DNFs in the heats (classified 22nd and 19th, due to contact), his other results of 6th and a 2nd getting him inside the cutoff. The Australian had a strong final, finishing 13.543s behind the winner, Taylor Barnard.

James Wharton in action aboard the factory Parolin entry (pic – Wharton/Facebook)

“We had a positive weekend here in Sarno” James wrote on Facebook.

“After some tough moments during the heats, I had to start the final from P27 but I made it to gain 15 places during the race, finishing in P12 and scoring my first championship points. The pace is good, we just need some good luck for the next one!”

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from FIA Karting

In line with the previous phases, the Finals of the FIA Karting European Championship – OK & Junior were hotly contested in Sarno, but the favourites won indisputably after some spectacular races. After a faultless race from start to finish, Britain’s Taylor Barnard won in the OK class, while Ugo Ugochukwu of the United States won in the Junior class.

The weather remained beautiful and very hot throughout the Neapolitan weekend, putting Drivers and equipment to the test. The last Qualifying Heats on Sunday morning were as competitive as the day before, and some of the Drivers still had some hopes. The two Finals were not to be outdone either, with several significant incidents. However, the two winners of Sarno were undoubtedly the strongest. Taylor Barnard moved back to the top of the provisional standings of the FIA Karting European Championship – OK after dislodging Andrea Kimi Antonelli, while Ugo Ugochukwu went from 4th to 1st place in the FIA Karting European Championship – Junior.


Taylor Barnard (GBR – KR/Iame/LeCont), who took pole position in the Qualifying Practices of the FIA Karting European Championship – OK, also won all four Qualifying Heats. During this phase, several top Drivers had fallen behind. Hannes Janker (DEU – KR/Iame/LeCont), Laurens Van Hoepen (NLD – Birel ART/TM Racing/LeCont), Maya Weug (ESP – Birel ART/TM Racing/LeCont) and Rafael Chaves Camara (BRA – Exprit/TM Racing/LeCont) for instance were far from their usual positions.


From the beginning of the Final, Weug, Janker and Harry Thompson (GBR – Exprit/TM Racing/LeCont) retired on the first lap. Barnard was ahead of Joe Turney (GBR – Tony Kart/Vortex/LeCont) and Juho Valtanen (FIN – KR/Iame/LeCont), but Andrea Kimi Antonelli (ITA – KR/Iame/LeCont) came back very strongly. Barnard had had time to build up a lead of almost two seconds by the time Antonelli took 2nd on lap 7. The chase was on. Barnard maintained a very fast pace and Antonelli had to face the fact that victory was going to be very difficult to achieve. Even though Barnard slowed down slightly at the end of the race, it did not prevent him from winning the feature with a 9 tenths lead over his rival. Turney finished 3rd, Nikita Bedrin (RUS – Tony Kart/Vortex/LeCont) was 4th, while Camara managed to regain 10 places in 5th.

“I’m very satisfied with my performance in Sarno,” said the Rosberg Racing Academy Driver. “The equipment was excellent, the team was perfect. I have to admit that my engine showed some signs of wear in the final laps of the Final. I had to relax a little bit until I crossed the finish line with relief.”


  1. Taylor Barnard – 65 points
  2. Andrea Kimi Antonelli – 58 points
  3. Nikita Bedrin – 40 points
  4. Joe Turney – 37 points
  5. Laurens Van Hoepen – 24 points

Good work for Ugochukwu in Junior

Even though he took the lead in the Qualifying Heats of the FIA Karting European Championship – Junior on the Sarno circuit, Ugo Ugochukwu (USA – KR/Iame/LeCont) did not have an easy time of it against the poleman Maxwell Dodds (GBR – Parolin/TM Racing/LeCont), as well as Tuuka Taponen (FIN – Tony Kart/Vortex/LeCont), Arvid Lindblad (GBR – KR/Iame/LeCont) and Tymoteusz Kucharczyk (RK/TM Racing/LeCont).

Ugochukwu kept the advantage at the start of the Final and gradually broke away from Taponen. Delayed at the start, Dodds did his best to come back, but it was Lindblad who made the most progress. He reached 2nd with three laps to go. The end of the race was intense behind the leader but Ugochukwu won by more than six seconds. Freddie Slater (GBR – Kosmic/Vortex/LeCont) took advantage of the fight in the leading group to grab 2nd place over Lindblad while Taponen finished only 4th. Karol Paciewicz (POL – Tony Kart/Vortex/LeCont) moved up from 15th to 5th place.

“I’m very happy to have had such a great weekend for my first Sauber Racing Kart race,” said Ugo Ugochukwu. “The equipment was exceptional thanks to the work of the team and the engine manufacturer. I tried to get an early lead in the Final and it worked. I scored as many points as possible and I’m now leading the Championship. I couldn’t have asked for more!”


  1. Ugo Ugochukwu – 55 points
  2. Tuukka Taponen – 48 points
  3. Arvid Lindblad – 44 points
  4. Valerio Rinicella – 30 points
  5. Freddie Slater – 26 points

The next Competition of the 2020 FIA Karting European Championship – OK & Junior will take place from 11th to 13th September in Wackersdorf (DEU).