From 24 to 27 March, at the Portimao track took place the 1st Round of the Champions of the Future, the Championship made of 4 events organized by RGMMC to allow the teams and drivers of International karting to prepare for the FIA European Championship. The main focus for all teams was carrying out all the technical useful tests in view of the 1st round of the European Championship, which will take place on the Portuguese track the weekend of April 10. Unfortunately, the rain that fell on the first day dedicated to free practice greatly affected the work program of the various teams and also the CRG Factory Team had to reorganize its plans, also using the heats to complete the scheduled tests.
4 CRG drivers took part in the race: the Brazilian Gabriel Gomez, the Swedish Viktor Gustavsson and the Spanish Adrian Malheiro in OK, while the South African Nikolas Roos was lined up in OK-Junior. From a sporting point of view, it was not a very lucky weekend for the CRG Racing Team: Roos in Junior and Gustavsson in OK did not qualify for the Final, due to the retirement in the Super Heat on Sunday morning. Both were in fact qualified at the end of Saturday's heats, despite some race contacts, but then the retirement in the Super Heat on Sunday prevented them to make it to the Final. Malheiro and Gomez, on the other hand, advanced to the Final of the OK class, finishing the race P15 and P23. The Spaniard had an excellent race, recovering 15 positions and setting excellent times. The Brazilian Gomez' race can also be considered positive, even if it was compromised by a contact in which he damaged the front spoiler, which was subsequently also the cause of a penalty. In any case, the balance of the work carried out on the track has satisfied the CRG technical staff who left Portugal with many useful data and performances that confirm the high potential of the 2022 chassis in both direct drive classes, with great ambitions in view of the FIA races.
CRG driver's post-race reactions
Nikolas Roos (OK-Junior): “Losing the first day of free practice due to the rain was not good for me, but the thing is that from Friday morning before qualifying, my feeling with the chassis was immediately excellent and our performance has constantly improved. All the tests the team did went in the right direction and despite the contact in the Super Heat, which did not allow me to compete in the Final, our balance of the weekend is still very positive. I would like to thank the team for the great work they have done and I hope that luck can be more on our side in the European Championship".
Adrian Malheiro (OK): “My goal was to gain experience in these top races of International karting and I am very happy with what we have done, winning the qualification for the final and above all competing in the race with an excellent pace. During the heats, I had some problems and I started from the back of the grid, but with a better position at the start, I would have had the possibility to finish in the top ten without problems. We have a good technical potential and as far as I'm concerned I will have to work to avoid any mistakes during the weekend because at this high level of racing everything pays off in an important way”.