Thibaut Ramaekers (KR/IAME) and Gabriel Gomez (KR/IAME) lead the European Championships in OK-Junior and OK respectively after the opening round in Spain on the weekend. Scroll down for the official FIA race report and video streams.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t such a great event for the five Australians competing. Both classes had massive entries and none of the Aussies were able to qualify for the 36-kart finals.
After qualifying and the heat races, Lewis Francis was the highest ranked at 56th.
“Although at times we showed some very promising speed, an incident in qualifying put us massively on the back foot” he explained. “From there the racing results were mixed, but in the end I couldn’t do enough to make it to the final on this occasion.”
Xavier Avramides (OK, Leclerc by Lennox Racing team. Birel Art/TM)
Q: 81 (of 86). Ranking after heats: 74. Final: DNQ
Dante Vinci (OK, Ricky Flynn Motorsport. LN Kart/Vortex)
Q: 27 (of 86). Ranking after heats: 59. Final: DNQ
Lewis Francis (OK-J, KR Motorsport Srl. KR/IAME)
Q: (74 of 83). Ranking after heats: 56. Final: DNQ
Jenson Burns (OK-J, Shamick Europe. Parolin/TM)
Q: (67 of 83). Ranking after heats: 58. Final: DNQ
Jaxson Burns (OK-J, Shamick Europe. Parolin/TM)
Q: (58 of 83). Ranking after heats: 77. Final: DNQ
As a point of note, Shamick Europe’s Tiziano Monza finished 20th in the OK-Junior final.
Sunday (finals day) stream:
TURNEY AND RAMAEKERS THE UNDISPUTED WINNERS IN SPAIN
The final day of the FIA Karting European Championship – OK & Junior in Valencia was split into two distinct parts with the Super Heats in the morning and the Finals in the early afternoon. In the beautiful Spanish weather, the races provided an intense sporting spectacle in which the best placed drivers at the start were not guaranteed to climb to the top of the podium. Belgian Thibaut Ramaekers won the Junior Final and Briton Joe Turney gained five places to win the OK Final.
The Kartódromo Internacional Lucas Guerrero de Valencia made a remarkable debut into the circle of circuits used in FIA Karting competitions. The whole event was particularly interesting to watch on the fast and very technical 1428m long track.
The new points system for the Qualifying and Super Heats added to the intensity of the battle by giving more points to the top places. The introduction of the sustainable fuel provided by P1 Racing Fuel was smoothly implemented by the teams. Karting has therefore joined the FIA disciplines working to combat climate change.
Finally, good weather worked in favour of the competition and the public with blue skies and a temperature of 25° until the end of the event.
Sunday’s programme started with the Super Heats for the top 72 drivers in order to select the top 36 for the Finals in the early afternoon. During the Super Heats, the drivers’ enthusiasm was at its peak and the races were sometimes full of excitement. Concentration was at its highest during the calmer Finals, where mastery of each parameter was the main objective.
Junior: Thibaut Ramaekers’ talent blossoms
The Super Heats rewarded two up-and-coming drivers, Thibaut Ramaekers (BEL-KR/IAME/Vega) and Lewis Wherrell (GBRExprit/TM Kart/Vega) against Elliot Kaczynski (SWE-Tony Kart/Vortex/Vega) and Oleksandr Bondarev (UKR-KR/IAME/Vega).
At the start of the Final, Bondarev immediately took the lead over Kaczynski and Zac Drummond (GBR-Parolin/TM Racing/Vega). Ramaekers had some difficulties from the outside lane. However, it only took him four laps to move up from fourth to first place and to build up a gap that grew as the laps went by. The intense battle among the chasers allowed him to cross the finish line with a 3,3» advantage. Bondarev never threatened the leader and had to watch out for the comeback of Wherrell at the end of the race, who set the fastest lap and moved up three places in the leading group. It wouldn’t have taken many more laps for the Briton to move up to second position. Taym Saleh (DEU-KR/IAME/Vega) was able to keep his fourth place without being able to aim for the podium, whereas Niklas Schaufler (AUT-KR/IAME/Vega), who was 13th at the beginning of the race, made a superb recovery in the top five. Delayed by his disqualification in Timed Practice, Stepan Antonov (KR/IAME/Vega) continued his formidable 75-place improvement by regaining another 10 positions to seventh place in the Final despite a penalty for a badly-positioned front fairing. Kascynski, who had done very well so far, could only manage 10th in the Final. Martin Barry-Berg (NOR-Kosmic/Vortex/Vega), who was entered as a wild card and finished 13th in the Final, had an excellent overall performance. In 14th, Luna Fluxa Cross (ESP-KR/IAME/Vega) was the best woman.
Provisional ranking of the FIA Karting European Championship – Junior 2023 after the first race
1- Thibaut Ramaekers (BEL) – 71 points
2- Oleksandr Bondarev (UKR) – 62 points
3- Taym Saleh (DEU) – 58 points
4- Elliot Kaczynski (SWE) – 56 points
5- Lewis Wherrell (GBR) – 45 points
OK-Junior team ranking after Valencia
1- KR Motorsport (ITA) – 98 points
2- VDK Racing (BEL) – 71 points
3- Sauber Academy (SWE) – 58 points
4- Ward Racing (SWE) – 56 points
5- Parolin Motorsport (ITA) – 50 points
OK win goes to the experienced Joe Turney
The Super Heats of the FIA Karting European Championship – OK on Sunday morning confirmed the supremacy of Brazilian Gabriel Gomez (ITA-CRG/IAME/MG), the undisputed leader since the beginning of the event. Rene Lammers (NLD-Parolin/TM Racing/MG) secured his second position by winning Super Heat B. Tomass Stolcermanis (LVA-Energy/TM Racing/MG) was third ahead of Jan Przyrowski (POL-Tony Kart/Vortex/MG) and Alex Powell (JAM-KR/IAME/MG).
Gomez managed to hold the lead in the Final for the first six laps, by which time Turney had moved into the lead group from his sixth place start. Once in the lead, the Briton kept enough distance from his direct pursuer Przyrowski to dissuade him from attempting an attack. Turney won brilliantly by 5 tenths, a first for him at this level despite his recognised talent. The battle was more fierce in the pack. Lammers took third position mid-race at the expense of Gomez who didn’t even have the satisfaction of a podium after his domination since the Qualifying session. Powell remained fifth despite closing to within a tenth of a second of Gomez at the finish and setting the fastest lap of the race. Luigi Coluccio (ITA-Tony Kart/Vortex/MG) made a 10-place recovery to finish sixth. David Walther (DNK-Tony Kart/Vortex/MG), who had only finished the first lap 13th, confirmed his perseverance by coming back to seventh place, 0.064» behind Coluccio.
Provisional FIA Karting European Championship – OK 2023 standings after Round 1
1- Gabriel Gomez (ITA) – 69 points
2- Rene Lammers (NLD) – 66 points
3- Joe Turney (GBR) – 56 points
4- Jan Przyrowski (POL) – 54 points
5- Alex Powell (JAM) – 47 points
OK team ranking after Valencia
1- Tony Kart Racing Team (ITA) – 84 points
2- Parolin Motorsport (ITA) – 80 points
3- KR Motorsport (ITA) – 74 points
4- CRG (ITA) – 69 points
5- Prema Motorsport (ITA) – 60 points
European Championship calendar
Round 2: 18th to 21st May 2023, Trinec, Czech Republic
Round 3: 15th to 18th June 2023, Rødby, Denmark
Round 4: 27th to 30th July 2023, Cremona, Italy