A lot happened on the Italian circuit of Franciacorta during the thirty Qualifying Heats of the FIA Karting European OK and OK-Junior Championships. Attacks and overtaking were as numerous as the disappointments. Two drivers from the same team took the lead on Saturday evening. The faultless run of poleman Enzo Deligny (FRA) in OK echoed the rise of Anatholy Khavalkin to the top of the OK-Junior class.
The fourth and final round of the FIA Karting European Championships - OK and OK-Junior kept all its promises. The fairly compact 1300 m of the Franciacorta track gave rise to incessant battles during which excessive audacity or errors of judgement could be costly. On Sunday morning, the Super Heats will complete the hierarchy of the Finals, but the conquest of the titles is already full of suspense. The weather has remained fine and warm but not too hot since the Qualifying sessions, while the grip on the track has increased with each lap.
Khavalkin in a good position
Not satisfied with his seventh place in Qualifying, Anatholy Khavalkin turned things around by winning four of his five Qualifying Heats in the FIA Karting European Championship - OK-Junior. He was followed by two drivers making strong progress. Jan Przyrowski from Poland regained 14 positions and reached second position while Enzo Tarnvanichkul from Thailand moved up from 32nd to third position. Thanks to three wins, Kirill Dzitiev (SWE) remained in a good position in fourth place ahead of Kirill Kutskov who took back 10 places. In sixth, the poleman Jimmy Helias (FRA) proved that he was one of the hopefuls to follow. Guillaume Bouzar (LUX) gained 24 places in seventh position.
Khavalkin was well placed in the Championship and his rating increased with the relative underperformance of his direct rival Nathan Tye (GBR), who was placed 14th due to a retirement with serious consequences. The same misfortune had also delayed Dmitry Matveev, third in the Championship, who was 13th on Saturday evening.
Anatholy Khavalkin said:
"Yesterday Qualifying went well (seventh), but I wanted to be first and I was not satisfied. So I pushed incredibly hard to come back. Only one victory out of the five races escaped me because of a small problem with the set-up, but my Parolin Racing Kart team did a great job. For the moment the situation suits me, the pressure doesn't bother me and I am ready to fight for the title."
Advantage Deligny in OK
Fully focused on the race, the French driver Enzo Deligny made a great demonstration of his synergy with his equipment. He brilliantly won his five heats with a confounding ease. The Italian Nicolo Cuman proved to be a formidable rival with his four victories. The hierarchy from Qualifying was maintained in the top three of the heats with third place for the Briton Kean Nakamura-Berta. Maksim Orlov made a good comeback from eighth to fourth position, followed by Caspian Hagman (SWE) in tenth.
Deligny and Nakamura-Berta are in competition for the title since as the leader of the provisional ranking Joe Turney (GBR) did not come back as much as expected and is now 24th. Third in the Championship, Alex Powell (JAM) remains in the mix in terms of performance despite a retirement that caused him to drop down to 12th position. Finally, Evan Giltaire (FRA), fifth in the Championship, climbed 14 places to 10th in the heats.
Enzo Deligny commented:
"Thanks to my pole position I managed to get a little bit of a lead at the start of each heat and race at the front. The Parolin chassis and the TM Racing engine were perfect for me to win all five heats. I hope it will continue in the same way on Sunday. I am confident."
Provisional programme for the Franciacorta race
Sunday 10th July
09:00 - 10:05: Warm-up
10:10 - 11:45: Super Heats
13:15 - 14:40: Finals
The Franciacorta event can be followed on the official FIA Karting Championship app for mobile devices and on the website www.fiakarting.com.