At Franciacorta from 13th to 16th September, several drivers equipped with KR chassis were not only preparing for the forthcoming FIA Karting World Championship. Their aim was also to fight for the championship titles in the Champions of the Future Euro Series. In OK, Joe Turney concluded with a magnificent victory, while Alex Powell took the crown. KR Global Motorsport Company even claimed an unprecedented quadruple in the overall standings with Kean Nakamura Berta taking 2nd place, giving Prema Racing the double ahead of Joe Turney and Enzo Tarnvanichkul. In the OK-Junior class, Thibaut Ramaekers battled steadily in the leading group to finish 3rd in the Euro Series, while Augustus Toniolo took 3rd place on the podium.
A good omen before the World Championships
Another high-level series came to an end in 2023, with the fifth and final round of the Champions of the Future Euro Series. With 128 drivers in OK-Junior and 104 in OK, the competition proved extremely tough. The programme was different from that offered by the WSK Euro Series at the start of the month, with fewer categories present, so track conditions appeared very different with the combination of MG and Vega tyre compounds on the tarmac. The technicians from the teams representing the KR brand worked hard to optimise performance. The result was a number of podium finishes at the end of the meeting and a great deal of information gathered with a view to the World Championship scheduled for October.
OK: Victory for Turney, the crown for Powell
At Franciacorta, the KR-IAME team took pole position with Enzo Tarnvanichkul, winning nine of the 15 Qualifying Heats and the two Super Heats. Less present on the European scene in recent months due to his involvement in the United States, where he has also won several races, Joe Turney confirmed his determination by coming out on top after the Super Heats. The Briton didn't stop there, crossing the finish line of the Final in style. Alex Powell took over from him for a few laps at the head of the race, before securing 2nd place to be crowned Champion.
"It's always rewarding to win a series contested over five meetings because it means you've been performing well throughout the season. A week after finishing 2nd in the KZ2 World Cup, I'm very happy to clinch this title in OK," commented Alex Powell with a big smile.
Kean Nakamura Berta, who started 10th in the Final, came back brilliantly to finish 3rd. The result was a 100% Kart Republic podium at Franciacorta and in the final standings. The Prema Racing team came close to claiming the entire top three with Enzo Tarnvanichkul, who was unfortunately penalised at the start of the Final. This dropped him back to 4th overall behind Turney. It's a shame, though, because it was the young Thai who won the most Qualifying Heats between Thursday and Friday.
Dmitry Matveev, Andrea Dupé and Luviwe Sambudla had the opportunity to show off their skills in Franciacorta. Sambudla also had a remarkable Final, coming back from 16th to 3rd place at the chequered flag. Unfortunately, he too was penalised.
OK-Junior: Final podium for Ramaekers
Near Brescia, Thibaut Ramaekers (VDK Racing / Cetilar Racing) represented the best chance of success for the Italian KR brand. But several other drivers were able to cross the finish line as winners in the Qualifying Heats: Iacopo Martinese, Borys Lyzen (KRZ Motorsport), Stepan Antonov, Arjen Kräling, Noah Monteiro, Oleksandr Bondarev and Augustus Toniolo. On the strength of his victory in the Super Heat, Ramaekers found himself in a position to take the lead in the Final on several occasions. But the leader opted for a vigorous defence, which frequently hampered the young Belgian and allowed other drivers to catch up. Ramaekers had to drop back to 5th place. However, his excellent season enabled him to climb onto the third step of the podium in the overall standings.
Only 50th in Timed Practice, Oleksandr Bondarev confirmed that he would be a formidable protagonist in the World Championship, as he made remarkable progress to 6th place, gaining 16 places in the Final. The performances in the Final from Taym Saleh (Sauber Academy), David Cosma Cristofor and Freddie Lloyd are also very good indicators of the potential of the equipment from the Kart Republic factory.
Comments from Dino Chiesa, Head of KR Global Motorsport Company
"With the WSK Euro Series, the World Championship at Wackersdorf and this final round of the Champions of the Future Euro Series, Kart Republic has had a very intense three weeks, but we've coped with it with a competitiveness that has never wavered. I'm delighted to see Alex Powell take the title, he deserved it. Joe Turney showed once again that he is a great champion. I'm a little disappointed that our partner Prema Racing just missed out on the treble. Kean Nakamura Berta secured the runner-up spot, but unfortunately Enzo Tarnvanichkul was penalised, as was Luviwe Sambudla. We have taken note of these penalties, but also of the behaviour of the winner in OK-Junior. He already had the title in his pocket before the start of the Final and he took advantage of the situation to drive in an unsporting manner at times. I hope now that the World Championship will take place in the best possible conditions. There are briefings for the drivers, but I think that FIA Karting could also organise a briefing for the team managers so that we can discuss the imbalances between the application or non-application of penalties.”