James Wharton, who performed well in Belgium for the opening round of the FIA Karting European Championship in the OK category, arrived in France with a lot of ambition and the desire to make his mark in this second round of the season. Unfortunately, the Qualifying sessions caused him to plunge down the ranking. Always a fighter, the young Australian driver put in a lot of effort to climb back up, but the final result was not up to the Ferrari Driver Academy driver's expectations. Revenge is already in preparation...
For the first time in his career, James Wharton was racing on the international circuit of Aunay les Bois in the Normandy region of France. With the Parolin Motorsport team and its engine builder Machac Motors, there was no shortage of work during the two days of Free Practice to adapt the equipment to the constraints of the French track and the specificities of its surface, which are very different from those that the Australian has experienced since the beginning of the season.
"At the beginning of the meeting, the balance of my kart was not perfect at Aunay les Bois, but we made progress as the sessions went on by working on the tyres," admitted James. "Unfortunately, it wasn't enough and Qualifying didn't put me in the position to have a good race. The gaps are very tight in OK, it's down to a tenth of a second between each driver, so it's always difficult to start from the back of the grid."
Nevertheless, James Wharton threw himself into the battle. In his first heat, he managed to gain 15 places, coming back to 8th position while setting extremely competitive times. He continued his progress and this time made a jump of 10 places in the second heat. Unfortunately, a racing incident in the third heat relegated him to the back of the pack. In the last heat, the Australian was still on the rise. But his six-place climb was not enough. In total, he was three points short of the Final!
"The incident in the third heat was fatal. It's a pity, because my performance level was much better than in Qualifying. My pace in the race could have allowed me to keep going forward."
Another challenge now awaits James Wharton, with the start of the 2021 FIA Karting European Championship in Germany at the Wackersdorf circuit from 17th-20th June. This time he will be driving a gearbox kart and is looking forward to preparing for this upcoming event with the Parolin Motorsport team.