On the Trinec circuit, which proved to be extremely difficult for drivers, equipment and teams, Ukrainian Oleksandr Bondarev crossed the finish line of the OK-Junior Final as the winner after dominating the event and winning all five heats, as well as a Super Heat! The KR Motorsport driver is the new leader of the FIA Karting European Championship ahead of Belgian Thibaut Ramaekers. In OK, Alex Powell moved up to 2nd, before dropping back due to a penalty. At the halfway point of the Championship, everything is still in place to go for the two titles...
KR leader in both categories
As in the opening race in Valencia, the KR brand was once again the best represented in the Czech Republic in the combined OK and OK-Junior categories, with almost 40% of drivers using the Italian chassis. As the Kart Republic factory could expect after its double victory on the same track a month ago in the Champions of the Future Euro Series, the competition reacted and the KR representatives redoubled their efforts to perform. There was no shortage of work to allow the drivers to improve and the equipment to adapt to the Vega tyres of the OK-Junior and MG of the OK category. The final result was very positive for KR Motorsport, currently leader of the team ranking in OK-Junior.
OK-Junior: Bondarev ahead of Ramaekers
The KR-IAME teams are winning one after the other. In Valencia, Thibaut Ramaekers (VDK Racing) won ahead of Oleksandr Bondarev. This time it was the Ukrainian from KR Motorsport who made the difference after a perfect run, winning all his races from the first heat to the Final! As two weeks earlier at the Champions of the Future Euro Series, Bondarev climbed to the top of the podium and took the lead of the European Championship ahead of Belgian Ramaekers, 4th in the Final.
Kian Fardin (KR Motorsport) climbed back into the top ten, Iacopo Martinese (Cetilar Racing) had excellent Qualifying runs and several other drivers took their KR to the Final: Taym Saleh (Sauber Academy), Niklas Schaufler (DPK Racing), Matt Corbi (VDK Racing) and David Cosma Cristofor (Cetilar Racing).
OK: 13 KR chassis qualified for the Final
Alex Powell (Prema Racing), who was ranked 5th after the Qualifying Heats and 3rd in the Super Heat, was one of the main players in the Final. The Jamaican fought until the end to cross the finish line in 2nd position, while showing himself to be faster than the leader at the end of the race. The left side of his front fairing broke off at the start and Alex dropped back to 4th because of a penalty, but his position as 3rd in the provisional OK European Championship standings gives him good prospects for the last two races.
Fionn McLaughlin (VDK Racing) was one of the revelations of the meeting. He showed himself capable of competing at the highest level. The Irishman finished 6th in the Final just ahead of Kean Nakamura-Berta (Prema Racing), who was also penalised for an incorrect front fairing position. Well done to Hong Kong driver Shimo Zhang (DPK Racing), who moved up from 31st to 13th place! 7th in Timed Practice and brilliant for three days, Luka Sammalisto unfortunately crashed due to a collision at the start.
The comment from Dino Chiesa, Head of KR Global Motorsport Company
"First of all I want to congratulate the Steel Ring Trinec organising team. They were organising an FIA Karting European Championship for the first time and it was a great success. We received an exemplary welcome. From a sporting point of view, the victory of our opponent Gabriel Gomez in OK shows that it was important to start from pole position on this circuit. The new scale of points distributed in the heats makes it easier to keep this advantage obtained during Qualifying. Indeed, we have to admit that it was not that easy to overtake.
"In addition, we know that we have very good equipment when the temperatures are high. In Trinec, with the rain, the cold and the often changing track conditions did not allow us to make the difference as we sometimes do. Nevertheless, I am confident for the future and I think that we will have to wait for the last laps of the last Final to know the name of the future European Champions. In OK-Junior, I congratulate Oleksandr Bondarev for his brilliant victory. He made further progress and made full use of the KR-IAME package we provided him with. In Trinec, any mistake was expensive and Oleksandr did not make any. Several of our other drivers are also capable of reaching the podium and we are already focused on our next trip to Rodby in Denmark to help them achieve their goals..."