At the 2021 FIA Karting European Championship in OK, James Wharton is, without doubt, one of the drivers who has gained the most places during his fabulous progressions. While he would have liked to have achieved a more flattering result in the overall standings, the young Australian could have been awarded the title of "king of starts" and the prize for fighting spirit. His performance in Spain at the Zuera circuit in the fourth and final round of the Championship confirmed the tenacity and strength of character of the Ferrari Driver Academy member.
Ranked 50th in official Qualifying, but eventually qualifying for the Final where he finished 19th, James Wharton concluded his European Championship with a performance of which he has the secret. "Time trials are a very important part of an FIA Karting event," said James. "Unfortunately I couldn't find a good window to set the lap time I was hoping for and ended up 50th out of 56. It was one of the worst sessions of my career... We had found a good balance with my equipment in Thursday's practice. But my Parolin-TM Racing didn't find the same effectiveness the next day. I think I'm not the only driver in Zuera who had difficulties making the tyres work properly, as the performance was fluctuating. On this very fast track, the engine set-up was also very important."
A dream start in the Final...
The All Road Management driver remained positive and worked hard to improve his equipment during the heats, in which he made a festival of it: seven places gained in the first heat, one in the second after a setback, no less than 10 in the third and nine again in the last. His fighting spirit certainly made sparks fly. "I was happy to be competitive again and to be able to fight with my rivals on a regular basis, even though I wasn't completely satisfied with my pace in some parts of the circuit. But overall, with the exception of the second heat where an incident slowed me down a lot, it was a good surprise to qualify for the Final, moving up from 50th to 34th place."
With this goal of qualifying for the Final achieved, the Ferrari Driver Academy driver maintained his level of focus and determination to continue his progress. "I chose the right option again at the start of the Final, which allowed me to gain many positions. On the sixth of the 18 laps of the race, I was still 12th. Behind, the pack was pushing hard, I tried to resist some drivers, but we were a few tenths short of scoring further points in the OK European Championship, which I finished in 23rd place."
James Wharton will still have gained a lot of experience in this high-level Championship, which is one of the benchmarks for young motorsport hopefuls. His karting season is not over yet, as the Australian will participate in the final of another European Championship in mid-August in Adria, Italy, in the KZ2 category with its powerful 125cc gearbox engines.