Intense qualifying in Valencia

Published on Friday, March 22, 2024

Intense qualifying in Valencia

Qualifying for the first Competition of the 2024 FIA Karting European Championship - OK & Junior took place on Friday 22nd March at the Kartódromo Internacional Lucas Guerrero in Valencia, Spain. The weather was very favourable with sunshine and a temperature of 20° on the 1428 m long track. Gabriel Gomez (ITA) took OK pole position, while Dries van Langendonck (BEL) was fastest in OK-Junior.

The Qualifying sessions were particularly intense with the new Maxxis tyres, with the best performances generally achieved from the second lap onwards, with only small gaps between the best. The Qualifying Heats that followed in the afternoon will be completed at the end of the day on Saturday.

184 drivers, 85 in OK and 99 in OK-Junior, took to the track to determine the first ranking of the weekend.

Gomez the OK poleman

It was 2023 runner-up Gabriel Gomez, a 17-year-old Brazilian racing under an Italian licence, who was the fastest with a lap of 53.217 in the third session. He clearly outpaced Markas Silkunas (LTU) and Davide Bottaro (ITA) in his serie, two 15-year-old drivers in their first season in OK. Second-placed Zac Drummond (GBR) was fastest in serie 1 with 53'256, ahead of Anatoly Khavalkin and Sebastiano Pavan (ITA). Finally, Lewis Wherrell (GBR) took third place, leading the second serie with a time of 53''307, ahead of Vivek Kanthan (USA) and Joe Turney (GBR). Roland Kuklane (EST) made his mark by finishing in the top 10. He was followed by worthy rivals such as Matheus Morgatto (BRA), Ean Eyckmans (BEL), Fionn Mclaughlin (IRL), Louis Iglesias (FRA) and Miguel Costa (BRA). The Competition did not get off to an ideal start for Oleksandr Bondarev (UKR) in 26th place, Thibault Ramaekers (BEL) in 29th and Dmitry Matveev in 30th.

Junior: Van Langendonck on pole position

2023 FIA Karting World Champion - Junior, Belgium's Dries van Langendonck got off to a good start, setting the fastest time in Valencia Qualifying in 54'909 in the first of four sessions. Two British Drivers, Kenzo Craigie and Alfie Slater, followed him in serie 1. Spain's Christian Costoya took second place overall thanks to his time of 55''003 in serie 3, ahead of the formidable Niklas Schaufler (AUT) and rookie Vladimir Ivannikov. Finland's Sebastian Lehtimaki rounded off the overall top three with the fastest time in serie 2, 55'048, ahead of Alex Molota (SVK) straight from the OK-N Junior category and Sebastien Minns (GBR). Finally, Jack Illife, from the USA, was fourth in the standings after dominating the fourth serie with 55'124, followed by Filippo Sala (ITA) and Noah Baglin (GBR).


Provisional programme for the Valencia event

Saturday 23rd March
09:00 - 10:13: Warm-up
10:20 - 17.55: Qualifying Heats

Sunday 24th March
09:00 - 10:05: Warm-up
10:10 - 11:45: Super Heats
13:20 - 14:55: Finals


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