The FIA Karting European OK and OK-Junior Championships ended on a high note for the KR Global Motorsport Company group at Cremona: a hat-trick of OK-Junior titles in the Final and overall standings with Bondarev, Ramaekers and Martinese, as well as a double podium in OK with Tarnvanichkul and Nakamura-Berta, while Powell finished 3rd in the Championship! KR Motorsport has already secured the title of FIA Karting Team Champion in OK-Junior even before the World Championship.
After KZ, another European Championship title
Very much at ease in its gearbox version on the wide open spaces of Sarno, where Danilo Albanese became European KZ Champion on 9th July, the KR brand confirmed its competitiveness on the technical and selective Cremona circuit, in both OK and OK-Junior. In Lombardy, it was still hot and the KR chassis revealed its full effectiveness in these conditions, to the great satisfaction of the drivers, the teams and all the technicians in charge of operations. In the team standings, KR Motorsport is the 2023 Champion in OK-Junior, while Prema Racing has taken the lead in OK ahead of the World Championship in Franciacorta.
OK-Junior: Ramaekers winner, Bondarev champion
With six KR-IAME karts in the top 10, and the entire podium in both the Final and the overall standings, the KR brand left its indisputable mark on the 2023 European OK-Junior Championship. In Cremona, Thibaut Ramaekers (VDK Racing) dominated the proceedings. After taking pole position, the young Belgian held on to 1st place after the heats, after the Super Heats and in the Final, where he set the fastest lap of the race. The Cetilar Racing colours completed the double with Iacopo Martinese in 2nd place. The Italian, who was still racing a Mini 60 in 2022, confirmed his rise to prominence. Oleksandr Bondarev didn't have an easy time of it after qualifying 29th. The Ukrainian was able to use his talent to climb back up the field, without getting into a tangle or being penalised. His 3rd place in the Final enabled him to take the European Championship ahead of Ramaekers and Martinese.
After his podium in Denmark, Stepan Antonov confirmed his success by finishing 5th in the Final. Well done to Niklas Schaufler (DPK Racing) for his 8th place and to Noah Monteiro for his 10th place, which is his best result in this European Championship. Respectively 13th and 14th, Germany's Arjen Kräling and Australia's Lewis Francis had the opportunity to battle it out in the leading group. Taym Saleh (Sauber Academy), Chiara Bättig (DPK Racing), Kian Fardin (+14 places) and David Cosma Cristofor also took part in the Final.
OK: Three Prema Racing drivers in the top five
Red was the dominant colour in the lead group in OK at Cremona. At a meeting like this, it's important to stay fast right up to the last lap of the Final, and the KR-IAMEs from the Prema Racing team made a strong impression. After a short exchange of positions, Enzo Tarnvanichkul regained 2nd place from his team-mate Kean Nakamura Berta, which enabled the Thai to move back up to 9th in the Championship. The Briton moved up one place to 5th. From 29th in qualifying to 5th in the Final, the Jamaican was able to match the pace of the frontrunners and take a well-deserved 3rd place in the European Championship.
A penalty for incorrect positioning of the front fairing pushed Dmitry Matveev (KR Motorsport) back to 8th position, having crossed the finish line 6th in Powell's wake after a fine effort. Ireland's Fionn McLaughlin (VDK Racing), who has excelled in this European Championship, can be satisfied with his performance, which saw him finish sixth in the Final.
Luka Sammalisto (15th), Kirill Kutskov (DPK Racing, 16th, +20), Arthur Poulain (AKM Motorsport, 19th on his KR-IAME debut), Xavier Avramides (20th) and Luviwe Sambudia (retired) were among the 10 drivers with KR chassis in the Final.
Comments from Dino Chiesa, Head of KR Global Motorsport Company
"Cremona will remain an extremely positive meeting for Kart Republic and our partners, whom I would like to thank. We already had a great chance of finishing 1st and 2nd in the OK-Junior European Championship and I was hoping to make it a hat-trick. In the end, we did and I'd like to congratulate Iacopo Martinese on finishing in style in Cremona. He impressed me. Oleksandr Bondarev and Thibaut Ramaekers each won two of the four races in the Championship, so they really were brilliant."
"Cremona confirmed that the OK is a very difficult category, which always comes down to small details. In fact, four different drivers from different teams won this year. In that context, managing to place five drivers in the top eight in the Final, including two on the podium, remains an excellent result."