World Championship Update

The OK & Junior World Championships started out wet in Portugal.

James Wharton (Parolin/TM) qualified 25th in the 74 kart OK field, then carded heat results of 19-9-17-6. New Zealand’s Kaden Probst (Tony Kart/Vortex) qualified P70 (of 89) in Juniors and has heat results of 21-15-7-17.

James Wharton at the OK World Championship (pic – Wharton/Facebook)

Brando Badoer (KR/IAME) took the Junior pole position and Matheus Morgatto (BirelART/TM) was fastest in OK.

  • results, live timing etc are HERE

Saturday’s Live Stream:

Qualifying Summary

Most of the Drivers entered for the major Competition of the season were present at the Kartódromo Internacional do Algarve with 163 names on the Qualifying Practice list. Each category was divided into four groups and the sessions alternated between Junior and OK. Although the rain tyres, LeCont in OK and MG in Junior, were used, the temperature remained mild for this time of the year.

Before the start of the Qualifying session, the participants had the opportunity to get familiar with the track conditions during their two Free Practice sessions that opened the day. Despite the rain, the hilly configuration and the quality of the Portimão surface ensured good visibility and regular grip on the 1531 metre Portuguese track. The rain stopped in the middle of the afternoon, but the circuit didn’t really dry out and the times didn’t change significantly. The hierarchy that has been set up on Friday has some surprises in store and may have a significant impact on the rest of the Competition.  

JUNIOR: BADOER TAKES HIS CHANCE

The performances didn’t seem to evolve throughout the four timed sessions of the FIA Karting World Championship – Junior. Evan Giltaire (FRA), the fastest in the first session was for a long time a probable poleman. Only two Drivers managed to beat him, at the end of the fourth session. Brando Badoer (ITA) finally set the best time of 1’12”509 ahead of Christian Ho (SGP) 63 thousandths later. Badoer took an important pole position against Giltaire. Leader of the second session, Tymoteusz Kucharczyk (POL) took third place and Ean Eyckmans (BEL) took fourth thanks to his speed in the third session. Among the top Drivers of the season, Tuukka Taponen (FIN) was 12th, European Champion Ugo Ugochukwu (USA) 14th and Arvid Lindblad (GBR) 33rd.

OK: MORGATTO AHEAD OF ANTONELLI

Matheus Morgatto (BRA) drew the right card by going out in the first session, the fastest of the four. His time of 1’11”444 has never been beaten and he obtained a very rewarding pole position in the World Championship against Andrea Kimi Antonelli (ITA), the European Champion and favourite of the competition, who was four tenths further back at the front of the second session. Leader of the third session, Callum Bradshaw (GBR) took third place in front of Pedro Hiltbrand (ESP), the fastest driver of the last session. Morgan Porter (GBR) and Alexander Hartvig (DNK) finish in 5th and 6th places. Among the fast drivers, Lorenzo Travisanutto (ITA) took an interesting 7th position, followed by Taylor Barnard (GBR) and Luigi Coluccio (ITA). On the other hand, this phase was unsuccessful for Nikita Bedrin (RUS) 23rd, Joe Turney (GBR) 30th and Rafael Chaves Camara (BRA) 32nd.   

The top drivers, Saturday interviews:

Saturday Heat Racing Report

On Saturday, 7th November, the second day of the 2020 FIA Karting World Championship – OK & Junior gave rise to intense confrontations at all levels on the Kartódromo Internacional do Algarve. Under the Portuguese sun, the twenty Qualifying Heats on the schedule proved to be full of adventures. British driver Taylor Barnard has put his mark on the OK category, whereas Singaporean Christian Ho took a very slight advantage in the Junior category.  

The Junior drivers had four races each on their programme, whereas their elder ones were competing in three of them. All competitors will have to participate in their last Qualifying Heat on Sunday morning before the revelation of the composition of the two Finals with 36 drivers leading to the two World titles.  

The LeCont slick tyres in OK and MG in Junior were put to good use after the humidity from the night was quickly wiped away by pleasant weather. Track exploits, mechanical problems, crashes and penalties also spiced up this very busy day. Without going so far as to say that the predictions have been thwarted, we have to admit that there have been a lot of surprises, good and bad, and that it would have been impossible to predict the provisional hierarchy on  Saturday evening. In any case, no Driver has shown indisputable superiority in either category and all the results have been achieved after constant efforts. Even Taylor Barnard, triple winner in OK, was never the fastest in his class. The diversity of the equipment and teams that distinguished themselves attests to the formidable opening of this World Championship.

One explanation is to be found in the Portuguese track, which offers multiple opportunities for overtaking, in the slipstream, braking or in the sequences. In order to take advantage of this, first of all it is a question of negotiating the start well and in particular the first braking zone at the end of the fast sector. Several incidents have considerably compromised the chances of some by forcing them to perform unorthodox tricks or to visit the margins of the circuit. Although some favourites encountered difficulties, new names appeared at the top of the result sheets.

WIDE DISTRIBUTION OF CHANCES IN JUNIOR

Five Junior drivers were able to take advantage of the day to position themselves favourably. With one victory each, Christian Ho (SGP) and the poleman Brando Badoer (ITA) are in a good position, slightly ahead of double winner Evan Giltaire (FRA) and the strong Tymoteusz Kucharczyk (POL). Although he didn’t succeed as well as he wanted, European Champion Ugo Ugochukwu (USA) is nevertheless still in the leading group, thanks to his two victories in the last heats that allowed him to move up from 14th position. Then come the Drivers who have recovered well from their qualification further back, like the Britons Freddie Slater, Arvid Lindblad, the most offensive, and Harry Burgoyne or the Emirati Keanu Al Azhari, without forgetting the consistent Bulgarian Nikola Tsolov. Tukka Taponen (FIN) and Ean Eyckmans (BEL) haven’t lost contact with the leaders. But it is obvious that the progress expected from several delayed drivers during the Qualifying Practice didn’t happen as expected.

BARNARD’S CLEAR ROUND IN OK

If there is one driver who stands out from the crowd this Saturday evening, it is unquestionably Taylor Barnard (GBR). The European vice-champion was able to take three good victories without being the fastest on the track. This says a lot about his determination and his ability to manage the races to come back from 8th place in Qualifying. Lorenzo Travisanutto (ITA) has also driven well, worthy of his achievements, by taking a top three position ahead of Callum Bradshaw (GBR). The Estonian Markus Kajak was a revelation with a solid course including a victory. The poleman Matheus Morgatto (BRA) fought hard to stay in contact with the leaders, together with his compatriot Rafael Chaves Camara, 32nd in Qualifying, and the Spanish Champion Pedro Hiltbrand who hasn’t had his last word. The young Russian Nikita Bedrin also made a remarkable comeback. After a disappointing second Race, Andrea Kimi Antonelli (ITA) reminded everyone that he wasn’t there to make up the numbers by clearly dominating his last Race. His amazing potential could well make sparks fly in the next race.   

Provisional schedule for Sunday, 8th November
09:00 – 10:40: Warm-up
10:45 – 12:20: Qualifying Heats
13:35 – 15:25: Finals

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