Jimmy Helias creates an end-of-season sensation!

Published on Thursday, November 10, 2022

Jimmy Helias creates an end-of-season sensation!

It would be true to say that Jimmy Helias didn’t mess up his debut in OK, the top-tier kart category without a gearbox. Six years after becoming the youngest-ever French champion in the history of motorsport, the driver from Evreux – 14 years old on 1st September – finished on the third step of the podium on his first attempt, in the WSK Final Cup at Sarno: a hugely-promising result in view of the 2023 season!

Jimmy’s debut in OK took place in the wake of a season in the ranks of OK Junior in which he put on several dazzling performances like the pole position he set in the final round of the European Championship. At the end of the year, the general trend is to work with the future in mind. With the perspective of joining the top-tier category in 2023, Jimmy and his team searched for an opportunity to have a head’s start in getting to grips with the ultra-rapid karts used in OK. “The tyres are softer and the engines push out some 40 bhp, around ten more than in OK-Junior,” was how Helias described the challenge. “They’re very twitchy to drive; you have to always keep the engine in the right temperature window and master the carburetor settings perfectly, which you can adjust while racing. But I got used to it very quickly.”

Luckily this was the case as Helias arrived on the Sarno circuit near Naples without any prior testing. What’s more, he found himself in a new technical environment in Swede Joakim Ward’s team. With the exception of those already bound for single-seaters, the best OK drivers were on the list of the 39 entries as well as other talented youngsters from the OK Junior category.

 

First test, a masterful display!
The young French coming man who was among the youngest drivers in the field wasn’t expecting to have it easy. And on top of that, the weather didn’t help matters. While he honed his new weapons on a dry track rain arrived just when the crucial qualifying session was taking place. Helias emerged with the 13th fastest lap despite having lost some time due to an overtaking move on his flying lap. This put him in seventh place on the grid of the heats. He finished all three with enhanced performances (3rd, 6th, 2nd), and moved up the time sheets to third in the intermediate classification to which he added a 5th place in his pre-final. So Jimmy found himself in 4th position on the grid for the final.

“It was a hectic, closely-fought race. I made a good start and held onto my fourth place and then Oscar Pedersen (bronze medal in the recent World champs in the same Sarno circuit) overtook me. I didn’t try to repass him as I didn’t want to risk a collision. I preferred to slipstream and push him to help us catch up with the leaders while pulling away from our pursuers. In the closing stages of the race, while I was pushing like crazy in the middle of a group going at it hammer and tongs, I avoided various contacts and collisions and I clinched third place. It was really super to make my debut in OK and with Ward Racing with a podium! I’d like to thank the whole team for the work they put in; it helped us to be in the groove straight away!”

After several years as a works Tony-Kart-Vortex driver, Jimmy was the Italian firm’s highest-placed finisher at the end of the race. He will have a very busy winter break and his aim is to turn up for the start of the next season with the best possible chances of shining - without forgetting to achieve the same stand-out performances at school as well!

 

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