For the first time, the OK and OK-Junior classes contested a major international event at the new Třinec circuit in the Czech Republic, at the second of five Champions of the Future Euro Series events. In partnership with RGMMC, the Czech Steel Ring Motorsport Pro Každého team welcomed a magnificent field of 168 drivers (95 in OK-Junior and 73 in OK) with dynamism and motivation. Two weeks before the FIA Karting European Championship event, Joe Turney and Oleksandr Bondarev have already made their mark on this difficult circuit by winning on a wet track, upsetting the hierarchy created the day before in the sun!
With discovery for the drivers, productive work for the teams, new original trophies on the podium and improvements in the Race Control… the Champions of the Future Euro Series and its promoter RGMMC continue to bring their share of new and innovative solutions to allow all the competitors to race in the optimum conditions. For example, the team managers are in direct contact with race control via a specific communication channel, in order to quickly resolve critical situations.
From a sporting point of view, the event was full of interest with variable weather conditions. After the pole positions achieved by Belgian Dries Van Langendonck (Forza Racing) in OK-Junior and by Brazilian Gabriel Gomez (CRG), a total of 30 Qualifying Heats took place, with 13 different winners and an exciting show on a track that remained dry from Thursday to Saturday midday, until the end of the Super Heats. Finally, the situation changed for the two Finals, as the rain eventually fell on Třinec…
OK-Junior: Wherrell unhappy, Bondarev happy!
Leader of the intermediate classification on Saturday evening, Dries Van Langendonck lost the opportunity to start from pole position in the Final race following a retirement in the Super Heat due to a broken transmission chain. His Forza Racing team-mate, Lewis Wherrell from Great Britain, was quick to take over first place and lead the first lap of the Final. In the pack, a number of collisions eliminated several drivers, trapped by the slippery track. A quick slow procedure was initiated. When the race director had just restarted the Final, the leader made a mistake during a braking manoeuvre and retired on the fifth lap. Ukrainian Oleksandr Bondarev (KR Motorsport), who had already made an excellent start, regained 1st place after an intense duel with Briton Alfie Slater (RFM).
While Bondarev escaped, before triumphing a little later with the fastest lap, the Briton Noah Wolfe (Leclerc by Lennox Lamb) settled down in 2nd position and increased his gap to a group which fought for the third step of the podium until the chequered flag. Zac Drummond (Parolin Motorsport), another Briton, held on to 3rd place for a long time, but was caught out on the last lap by the Italian Iaccopo Martinese (KR Motorsport). Drummond then fell to 7th after a penalty imposed by the sporting commission. Dries Van Langendonck came back to 4th place from 12th place, but he would regret the problem he had in the morning. Slater was 5th ahead of one of the revelations of the day, Brazilian driver Gabriel Koenigkan (CRG). After an incredible 26-place climb, Turkey’s Alp Hasan Aksoy finished 8th ahead of two of the meeting’s great protagonists: Spain’s Christian Costoya (Parolin Motorsport) and Czech driver Jindrich Pesl (IPK Official Racing Team), who was happy to have been able to race in his home country. Germany’s Taym Saleh (Sauber Academy) narrowly missed out on a top 10 finish due to a penalty (front fairing position). There were also disappointments for Austrian Niklas Schaufler (DPK Racing), Sweden’s Elliot Kaczynski (Ward Racing) and Belgian Thibaut Ramaekers (VDK Racing), who were all aiming for top places.
OK: Joe Turney doubles up
Joe Turney (KR Motorsport) just keeps on winning! Winner of the Champions of the Future Euro Series in Valencia in March, and also of the first round of the FIA Karting European Championship, he added a new victory to his record in the Czech Republic. It wasn’t all plain sailing for the Briton, who was only 51st in Timed Practice! In the rain of the Final, however, he was heroic. In Třinec, it all started with a perfect run by the Brazilian Gomez in the dry. He started 1st in the rain in the Final, but had to give way to the British driver Kean Nakamura Berta (Prema Racing) on the third lap. The latter was the leader for a long time, but was threatened by Joe Turney in the last part of the race.
14th on the starting grid of the Final, but already 8th on the first lap, Turney quickly climbed up the order. On the 14th of the 25 laps, he swapped positions with Nakamura Berta. After the finish, five-second penalties were imposed on the two frontrunners. Thanks to the lead he took in the last laps, Turney climbed to the top of the podium, but Gomez recovered 2nd place at the expense of Nakamura Berta. Always fast in the rain, the Briton Nathan Tye (Sodikart) was 4th ahead of the Latvian Tomass Stolcermanis (Energy Corse), who had initially finished in front of Tye but was penalised for incorrect positioning of the front fairing.
Dutchman Rene Lammers (Parolin Motorsport) was 6th ahead of Poland’s Jan Przyrowski (Tony Kart Racing Team) and two other drivers who were making a comeback. After having fallen from 5th to last place at the beginning of the race, Jamaican Alex Powell (Prema Racing) managed a spectacular comeback in 8th position with the fastest lap. Without this incident, he could have been aiming for the podium. A few lengths behind him, the Brazilian World Champion Matheus Morgatto gained no less than 23 places! Italian Simone Bianco (CRG) completed the top 10.
Several drivers lost their hopes with the arrival of the rain, such as the Italian Sebastiano Pavan (Tony Kart Racing Team), the Irishman Fionn MacLaughlin (VDK Racing), the Czech Jakub Kamenik (Gamoto), Luxembourg’s Guillaume Bouzar (Koski Motorsport), the Pole Gustav Wisniewski (Forza Racing) and the Dane David Walther (Koski Motorsport).
On the podium, the drivers received beautiful trophies personalised with the colours of the Czech Republic, made in part with recycled tyre rubber. The drivers and teams were able to return home quickly after the Finals scheduled on Saturday by RGMMC, so that everyone could be at school, at work or at home on Monday!