The 2022 FIA Karting European Championship in the OK and OK-Junior categories ended at the Franciacorta circuit, where the Birel ART-TM packages clearly showed great competitiveness. With three drivers in the top 11 on the starting grid of the OK Final and Kirill Kutskov leading at the beginning of the OK-Junior Final, the Birel ART Racing Team was hoping to celebrate an excellent result at this major international event. However, a series of race incidents destroyed all the efforts made by the technical team and the engine builders. The reds will definitely have a revenge to take in the World Championship in September.
Riccardo Longhi, Team Manager of the Birel ART Racing Team, could not believe his eyes... "We know that karting gives us moments of joy and disappointment. But this time, the disillusionment we experienced in Franciacorta was difficult to accept, because many of our drivers started with high objectives in view of the results obtained in Timed Practice, in the Qualifying Heats and in the Super Heats. Unfortunately, in some cases it only took a few laps to see our hopes dashed in the two Finals. This is obviously disappointing, as we have a great package this season."
Speed and consistency in OK
On Sunday before the Finals, Harley Keeble, Karol Pasiewicz and Cristian Bertuca could be proud of their performance during most of the meeting, as they were 8th, 10th and 11th respectively on the grid for the Final. The Briton finished five heats in the top five, the Pole always finished between 3rd and 8th, while the Italian only had one mishap on a formation lap, but was constantly fighting at the front the rest of the time.
"The Final was very intense, with constant duels that didn't always benefit our drivers. Keeble dropped back to 17th after starting the race in 7th place. Bertuca was very fast and finished the first lap in 5th position, but had to settle for 15th place after some contacts. Pasiewicz also crashed out in 24th position.”
Pedro Hiltbrand, who was entered as a wild card, used the event to test new solutions for the next races. As for Ella Stevens, she achieved her best qualification in this 2022 European Championship, confirming her progress.
OK-Junior: Kutskov, the surprise of the beginning of the Final
With temperatures frequently exceeding 30° in the sun and a circuit that clearly highlighted the qualities of the chassis, Kirill Kutskov's Birel ART-TM Racing did wonders in Franciacorta. Placed on the third row in the heats, Kutskov always managed to gain places in each of his races on Friday and Saturday. He took three 2nd places and finished the Super Heat in 3rd position. His remarkable start even put him in the lead in the Final! Unfortunately, he was forced to give up the fight for victory after a collision on the seventh lap, with many regrets.
Reno Francot suffered the same fate from the start! It was a pity, as he had almost driven a clear round in the heats, setting a fastest lap in one of them. The Dutchman's competitiveness was barely rewarded in Lombardy! The Italian Zoe Florescu Potolea did not have an easy time after a timed session that she had hoped to improve on.
"The result is one thing, performance is another and this one confirms the technical choices we made. It is a good omen before the World Championship in Sarno," concluded Riccardo Longhi.