Another podium placing on the weekend has moved Max Walton into the lead of the FIA Karting Academy Trophy.
Having earlier won a heat race at the Rødby Karting Ring in Denmark on the weekend, the Queenslander was able to lead some of the early laps in the final. Unfortunately, he was bumped off the track on lap 8 and dropped to tail of the top ten, however a mature recovery drive saw him claw back to second, just 0.36s off the winner, Greece’s Vasileiois Apostolidis.
Also of note, the Australian Shamick Europe team had its most competitive showing to date, taking fifth (Tiziano Monza) and 10th (Andy Consani) in the OK Junior final (both on Parolin/TM).
- video streams from both days are HERE
- full results HERE
- scroll down for reports from Karting Australia and FIA Karting
Max Walton (Academy Trophy – Exprit/Vortex)
Q: 11. Ranking after heats: 2. Final: 2nd
Lewis Francis (OK Junior – KR Motorsport, KR/IAME)
Q: 35. Super Heat B: 25. Ranking after heats: 33. Final: 28th
Xavier Avramides (OK – KR Motorsport, KR/IAME)
Q: 33. Super Heat B: 7. Ranking after heats: 23. Final: DNF (opening lap crash)
from Karting Australia
PODIUM FINISH MOVES MAX WALTON INTO ACADEMY TROPHY POINTS LEAD
A second consecutive podium finish has elevated Australian Max Walton into the points lead in the 2023 FIA Karting Academy Trophy.
After finishing third in the opening round, the Gold Coast teenager continued to star on the world stage with a hard-fought runner-up placing in Round Two of the Series in Denmark on Sunday.
The SP Tools Australian Kart Championship leader is one of 45 young drivers from all around the world competing in this year’s FIA Academy Trophy. The Series is a formula unique in the world, aimed at training and detecting young talents who compete on equal terms. The OTK Group has been entrusted with the management of the identical Exprit/Vortex OK-Junior karts, which are randomly allocated.
Walton qualified 11th on Friday before charging his way to the front of the pack in his opening heat race to become the first Australian driver to win a race in the 14-year history of the Series. He continued to show tremendous poise throughout his remaining heat races and earn the right to start on the front row of the grid for the final.
After finding his way into the lead midway through the race, Walton was pushed wide after contact from round one winner Marius Barry-Berg and dropped to ninth position as a result, Barry-Berg was later handed a post-race penalty for the incident. From here, it was where Walton showed maturity beyond his years to drive in a calculated fashion and climb his way back up the order in the final ten laps.
With three laps remaining he had moved his way into second place, setting the fastest lap time in the process, a position he held until the end. He crossed the line 0.360 seconds adrift of Greek driver Vasileios Apostiolidis. Argentinian Santino Panetta rounded out the podium.
“The weekend had lots of ups and downs. In practice I was a bit off the pace and I had some minor engine issues in one of the heat races but I never gave up because I believed within myself that I could be on the podium by the end,” said Walton.
“The racing was very tough especially for the final because it’s very hard to keep your position on track as there is lots of passing opportunities and everyone wanted to pass every corner and not work together.
“When I got knocked off the track and fell back to ninth I knew I had a lot of pace and was one of the fastest on the track. With that in mind I just kept calm and worked with the drivers that were around me and I was able to make some positions to get up to second. I pushed as hard as a I could to get into the lead but just ran out of laps in the end.”
Making Walton’s performance even more impressive is the fact that compared to many of his rivals who have raced at the circuit previously, he hadn’t seen the track before the weekend.
He now heads into next month’s final round of the Series in Italy with a 15-point buffer atop of the standings over Spanish driver Hugo Marti with Barry-Berg one point further behind.
With the event doubling as the European Championships for the OK and OK-Junior categories, Australians Xavier Avramides and Lewis Francis were also competing. After qualifying 23rd, Avramides was eliminated on the opening lap of the OK final while Francis finished 28th in the OK-Junior final.
from FIA Karting
The new Danish circuit, the Rødby Karting Ring, provided a high-quality setting for its first appearance on the FIA Karting calendar. Rene Lammers (NLD) in OK, Oleksandr Bondarev (UKR) in OK-Junior and Vasileios Apostolidis (GRC) in Academy won the Finals.
The intensity of the sporting confrontations reached new heights at Rødby thanks to the extremely technical layout. The number of passes was record-breaking, as were the frequent changes of leaders. The winding and wide circuit provided quite a spectacle for the third round of the FIA Karting European Championship – OK & Junior and the second round of the FIA Karting Academy Trophy.
APOSTOLIDIS WINS, WALTON LEADS THE ACADEMY TROPHY
The identical Exprit/Vortex karts supplied by the OTK group and their Vega tyres produced a show of rare intensity in the hands of the young talents of the FIA Karting Academy Trophy. Greek driver Vasileios Apostolidis was particularly impressive at Rødby. 9th in Qualifying, he won a heat and took two 2nd places. In the Final, he started from the front and finished 7th, while several drivers took the lead in turn: Marius Barry-Berg (NOR), Hugo Marti (ESP), Rocco Coronel (NLD), Max Walton (AUS) and Markas Silkunas (LTU). Apostolidis didn’t lose concentration and was able to take the lead for good on the 17th of the 21 laps. He won by a margin of 0.360″ ahead of Walton, while Santino Panetta (ARG) took 3rd place by more than six seconds after repeated efforts. Ryutaro Sakai (JPN) and Sebastian Garzon (COL) completed the top five. Barry-Berg was demoted to 16th after causing an incident.
Walton also took top spot in the FIA International Karting Ranking (IKR) in the Academy Trophy category, while Apostolidis moved up 15 places to 6th.
Provisional 2023 FIA Karting Academy Trophy standings after Round 2 :
1- Max Walton (AUS) – 90 points
2- Hugo Marti (ESP) – 75 points
3- Marius Barry-Berg (NOR) – 74 points
4- Ryutaro Sakai (JPN) – 57 points
5- Vasileios Apostolidis (GRC) – 55 points
OK-JUNIOR: BONDAREV WINNER AND COMFORTABLE CHAMPIONSHIP LEADER
Oleksandr Bondarev (UKR-KR/IAME/Vega) repeated his performance from Trinec by winning the Final of the third round of the FIA Karting European Junior Championship at Rødby. Iacopo Martinese (ITA-KR/IAME/Vega) made an excellent start to the race. Bondarev had to wait until the seventh of the 21 laps before he could attack Martinese and take the lead. Stepan Antonov (KR/IAME/Vega) made a strong comeback and overtook Martinese on the penultimate lap to finish in 2nd position, having gained 11 places. Martinese took 3rd place on the podium, Costoya finished 4th ahead of Tiziano Monza (SGP-Parolin/TM Kart/Vega).
Wherrell remained leader of the FIA International Karting Ranking (IKR) in all categories, followed by Bondarev and Antonov. Bondarev moved up to 2nd in OK-Junior behind Wherrell.
Provisional 2023 FIA Karting European Championship – Junior standings after Round 3 :
1- Oleksandr Bondarev (UKR) – 206 points
2- Thibaut Ramaekers (BEL) – 164 points
3- Lewis Wherrell (GBR) – 139 points
4- Zac Drummond (GBR) – 122 points
5- Iacopo Martinese (ITA) – 117 points
OK-Junior team standings after Rødby
1- KR Motorsport (ITA) – 286 points
2- Sauber Academy (SWE) – 198 points
3- Forza Racing (GBR) – 169 points
4- Parolin Motorsport (ITA) – 142 points
5- VDK Racing (BEL) – 126 points
FINE VICTORY FOR LAMMERS IN OK
After four laps under slow procedure at the start of the race, Rene Lammers (NLD-Parolin/TM Kart/MG) was able to take advantage of his great speed to challenge the domination of Alex Powell (JAM-KR/IAME/MG) and take the lead at the halfway stage. He crossed the finish line with a lead of 1.5″. Gabriel Gomez (ITA-CRG/IAME/MG) was in 2nd place from lap 12, but was unable to close the gap on the leader. Powell took 3rd place ahead of team-mate Kean Nakamura-Berta (GBR-KR/IAME/MG), while Tomass Stolcermanis (LVA-Energy/TM Kart/MG) completed the top five. Joe Turney (GBR-KR/IAME/MG) finished in his starting position, 8th, ahead of his compatriot Nathaniel Tye (GBR- Sodi/TM Kart/MG).
Gomez moved up to 6th in the FIA International Karting Ranking (IKR) for all categories combined, a rise of nine places. Powell moved up seven places to 7th and Lammers up nine places to 8th. Gomez remained at the top of the OK category ahead of Lammers, while Turney moved up two places to 3rd.
Provisional 2023 FIA Karting European Championship – OK standings after Round 3 :
1- Rene Lammers (NLD) – 208 points
2- Gabriel Gomez (ITA) – 202 points
3- Alex Powell (JAM) – 165 points
4- Tomass Stolcermanis (LVA) – 138 points
5- Nathaniel Tye (GBR) – 89 points
OK team rankings after Rødby
1- Prema Racing (ITA) – 235 points
2- Tony Kart Racing Team (ITA) – 189 points
3- CRG (ITA) – 186 points
4- Parolin Motorsport (ITA) – 170 points
5- VDK Racing (BEL) – 157 points