Unlike the previous event in Belgium, the twenty Qualifying Heats of the second round of the 2021 FIA Karting European Championship - OK and Junior were not disrupted by rain, even though there was a threat not far from the international circuit of Aunay-les-Bois. British Junior Freddie Slater had a perfect run as did Italian Andrea Kimi Antonelli in OK. They are the two favourites before the final heats on Sunday morning.
The MG Tires slicks were put to the test on a completely dry track all day. Managing the wear of the six tyres allowed for this Qualifying Phase was one of the factors to be taken into account in order to achieve the regular performance required by this challenge. The other important criterion concerned the technical specificities of the Aunay-les-Bois track. The start phase is crucial with a first corner that is sometimes difficult to negotiate for the Drivers starting from the outside line. A few small collisions occurred, while several participants lost ground in this part. On the other hand, overtaking required a certain amount of bravery, or at least a good understanding of the situation, to succeed. This is something that should never be overlooked in Normandy.
The races went well overall, despite increasing tension in the last two in OK and the standard of the sporting confrontations of the day was very high. The provisional ranking on Saturday evening largely confirmed the hierarchy of the Qualifying Practice. Five Qualifying Heats remain to be run on Sunday morning before the finalists are revealed, three in Junior and two in OK, where Group E has already completed its programme.
Slater confirms in Junior
Freddie Slater (GBR), who took pole position in the Qualifying Practice, won all four of his Qualifying Heats. To be able to beat him is the goal of all his rivals, but the task is certainly not easy. His direct pursuers were rewarded for their consistency. Tomass Stolcermanis (LVA) was able to stay in touch despite only one victory. The top group close to first place also included Kirill Kustov (RUS) and Alex Powell (JAM). Not much further back, Matheus Ferreira (BRA), William Macintyre (GBR), Luka Sammalisto (FIN) and Maxim Rehm (DEU) were in a favourable situation. Arthur Poulain was the leading French Driver.
OK: Antonelli takes the lead
The 2020 FIA European Karting - OK Champion Andrea Kimi Antonelli (ITA) took the lead in the provisional standings of the Aunay-les-Bois rounds thanks to three very convincing wins. Artem Severiukhin (RUS) confirmed his potential with two wins and a second place, while poleman Rafael Camara (BRA) remained in the leading pack with two wins and one sixth place. The consistent performances of veteran Yannick De Brabander (BEL) allowed him to get back in contact with the leaders, while hopeful Ugo Ugochukwu (USA) made a good progression from the timed sessions. Evan Giltaire (FRA) remained in a good position as the best representative of the host country.
Information subject to change after the publication of official results.
Programme of the Aunay-les-Bois event
Sunday 30th May
09:00 - 10:40: Warm-up
10:45 - 11:00: Handikart Prefinal
11:05 - 12:40: Qualifying Heats
13:00 - 15:35: Finals