The start to the 2022 racing season of Champions of the Future couldn’t have been better than this, with fresh track in the international calendar for the new Winter Series!
The new Winter Series kicked off at the Franciacorta Karting track, and straight away it proved a success! Most of the top names in international karting, be it drivers, teams and manufacturers, showed up for the inaugural event, making it a great start to the Champions of the Future 2022 season!
The track layout provided a lot of great racing, with a good diversity of brands fighting for the lead at different stages of the event. In the end the victories went to Maciej Gladysz (Ricky Flynn Motorsport) in Junior, Tomass Stolcermanis (Energy Corse SRL) in OK, and Simo Puhakka (Tony Kart Racing Team) in KZ2!
Many names topped the timesheets during Thursday’s and Fridays practices, showing promise for a very open outcome in the qualifying practice. The result wasn’t a surprise, as the drivers who qualified for the front of each of the four groups, Anatholy Khavalkin (Parolin Motorsport) in first, Nathan Tye (Sodikart) in second, Enzo Tarnvanichkul (Tony Kart Racing Team) third and Douwe Dedecker (KR Motorsport) in fourth had already shown strong pace.
Khavalkin was unbeatable during the qualifying heats and took Superpole for his Superheat, however there was a big battle behind him, with Kirill Kutskov (Birel Art Racing) taking the other Superpole. Jan Przyrowski (Tony Kart Racing Team) finished the day third and Oleksandr Bondarev (Ricky Flynn Motorsport) fourth, showing how competitive this grid has been.
While the Superheats provided plenty of action, there wasn’t too much change in the classification as Khavalkin once again was first, Bondarev making up two places to second, with Kutskov and Przyrowski in third and fourth.
The final was full of action, with Gladysz making up no less than 9 positions to take the win at the finish line, and Andres Cardenas (Energy Corse SRL) a similar 7 positions to finish second. Khavalkin, despite missing out on a full hat-trick win, was still able to finish third and complete the podium.
The Senior OK category this year is nothing short of talent! Several long-time established names have been joined by a plethora of young drivers from the Junior category to form a really competitive grid!
Tomass Stolcermanis, who showed great potential last year in junior, was the man to beat after Friday’s qualifying practice! Leading the other three groups right behind him were Kean Nakamura-Berta (KR Motorsport), Maksim Orlov (Parolin Motorsport) and Alex Powell (KR Motorsport).
While Stolcemanis remained largely unbeaten over Saturday’s Qualifying Heats and Sunday’s superheats, it was Tuuka Taponen (Tony Kart Racing Team) who claimed the other front row start for the final, leaving Kean Nakamurta-Berta and Rashid Al Dhaheri (KR Motorsport) in the second row!
The final was eventful, but Stolcermanis was unphased, taking a strong 5 second win over Matheus Ferreira (KR Motorsport) who made up a strong 5-place recover to finish second, and Kean Nakamura-Berta in third.
From the get-go it was a battle of the titans in the KZ2 category, with Simo Puhakka (Tony Kart Racing Team) claiming the overall pole position, Andrea Kimi Antonelli (KR Motorsport) second, Giuseppe Palomba (Birel Art Racing) third and Laurens Van Hoepen (Leclerc by Lennox Racing) fourth!
Factory teams and drivers seemed to be pushing to the limits, while it looked to be a strong battle for wins between four teams and several of their drivers. In the end, the Qualifying heats were decided in the details, and it was Simo Puhakka who was unbeatable all Saturday, with team mates Noah Milell and Jean Luyet behind him, and Danilo Albanese (KR Motorsport) completing the two front rows for the Sunday. In the Superheats Puhakka remained unbeaten, but Ippolito claimed the front row start for the final next to him. David Liwinski (Leclerc by Lennox Racing) made his ambitions known at this point slotting in third on the side of Jean Luyet.
There was nobody who could beat Puhakka and the end of the weekend, but Giuseppe Palomba made a comeback in the final to finish second. The podium of the race showdown was completed by David Liwinski.
Live Streaming, Highlights, and media galleries
Constant improvements in the definition of the Live Stream could be seen through the weekend with sharp and vibrant high-definition image quality and informative graphics provided by Sports TV Graphics. The stream was available not only on our own channels but also on motorsports TV thanks to the deal made in late 2021.
All races, as well as interviews and highlights, are available as always on the RGMMC Productions Youtube channel. More information and complete results can always be found on the Champions of the Future Series official website www.championskarting.com, the RGMMC Group website www.rgmmc.com, and the Champions of the Future Facebook and Instagram pages with the handle @championskarting.
Photo credits: The RaceBox / RGMMC