The FIA Karting European Championship in the KZ2 category came to an end at the Adria International Circuit in north-eastern Italy on the weekend of 15th August. James Wharton wanted to use this event to increase his points tally in the overall standings and end this high-level competition on a positive note. Unfortunately, the young Australian hopeful from the Ferrari Driver Academy experienced a series of setbacks, which did not allow him to confirm his performances during the meeting.
James Wharton, who has been competing in both OK and KZ2, the category using gearbox engines, is continuing to gain as much experience as possible, which will be very useful when he makes his debut in a single-seater very soon. Mostly composed of drivers who are used to this type of event, the KZ2 field remains very difficult to break in to. Each driver defends his position very fiercely which leads to battles with no respite. In this context, James Wharton's competitiveness and speed could have allowed him to stand out, but too many hazards complicated the strategy in Adria with the Parolin Motorsport team.
A series of unfortunate incidents
"The Free Practice was really positive," said James. "We found some really good chassis solutions and the work with our engine builder on the TM Racing engines meant I got faster and faster as the sessions went on. I was still 6th in my group in the last test session, but Qualifying put us in a difficult position. With the race tyres I didn't have the same feeling. I lost more than three tenths per lap in just a few hours! Many drivers and teams complained about the inconsistency of the tyres during the weekend. To be 16th in my group and 48th out of 81 in the standings was really not what I was hoping for."
The Ferrari Driver Academy driver, who is known for his excellent starts and his ability to make great comebacks, remained focused first on his goal of making the 36 finalists, and then continuing his progress to score more Championship points two months after his top 10 finish in the European Championship opener in Germany.
"After gaining five places in the first race, the trouble started when the stewards decided to penalise no less than 10 drivers at the start, claiming that we had moved before the lights went out. In the next two races I gained seven and then six places and I was still hoping to reach the Final. Unfortunately, I was penalised again in the last heat due to an unfortunate race incident. A sportsman has to accept these decisions, but I am obviously disappointed with this end of the Championship where I could not defend my chances until the end of the race. The lap times I achieved on Saturday afternoon were very encouraging. I am now looking forward to taking revenge in the KZ2 International Super Cup in early September at Kristianstad in Sweden."