On the occasion of its second event, the FIA Karting European Championship - OK & Junior will head east to the Czech Republic for its second round and its first taste of the Třinec International Steel Ring. The FIA Karting Academy Trophy will also make its debut on this new circuit from May 19-21.
It is a track brand new to hosting FIA Karting competitions. The 1232m long Steel Ring of Třinec is particularly twisty and hilly in a semi-natural and semi-industrial setting. The races are expected to showcase pure driving skills.
A strong multinational entry list
A total of 233 drivers representing 59 nations are entered for Třinec. The participants competing in the full FIA Karting European Championship - OK & Junior are complemented by 29 wild cards in a total 93 OK and 95 OK-Junior drivers. The FIA Karting Academy Trophy will start with 45 drivers.
MG Tyres is the supplier of the "Prime" tyres for the OK category, while Vega supplies the "Option" tyres for the OK-Junior category and the Academy Trophy. Adopted since the start of the FIA Karting season, the 100% sustainable P1 Racing Fuel will help reduce the carbon footprint of the event.
The competition promises to be close in OK
The winner in Valencia, British driver Joe Turney has a high profile for the second event of the FIA Karting European Championship - OK. The Italian-licensed Brazilian Gabriel Gomez will be aiming to consolidate the top position he currently holds in the Championship standings. Alex Powell (JAM) and Kean Nakamura-Berta (GBR) are likely to find a field to match their ambitions. The rookies Rene Lammers (NLD), Nathan Tye (GBR) and Jan Przyrowski (POL) will challenge their elders Tomass Stolcermanis (LVA) and David Walther (DNK) who respectively occupy the top two positions of the FIA's International Karting Ranking (IKR).
Provisional FIA Karting European Championship - OK 2023 standings before the 2nd event:
1- Gabriel Gomez (ITA) - 69 points
2- Rene Lammers (NLD) - 66 points
3- Joe Turney (GBR) - 56 points
4- Jan Przyrowski (POL) - 54 points
5- Alex Powell (JAM) - 47 points
The situation could change in the Juniors
The unique layout of Třinec should allow new drivers to shine in the FIA Karting European Championship - Junior. While Belgian Thibaut Ramaekers heads the Championship standings, Ukrainian Oleksandr Bondarev arrives in good form in the Czech Republic as he tops the FIA International Karting Ranking (IKR). The terrain could also be suitable for Britain's Lewis Wherrell. Dries van Langendonck (BEL), who has changed his equipment, is one of the favourites for the event with his strong ambition to move up the rankings. The Czech event could give drivers like Iacopo Martinese (ITA), Noah Wolfe (GBR), Alfie Slater (GBR), Zac Drummond (GBR) and Christian Costoya (ESP) the opportunity to move up in the provisional rankings.
Provisional ranking of the FIA Karting European Championship - Junior 2023 before the 2nd event:
1- Thibaut Ramaekers (BEL) - 71 points
2- Oleksandr Bondarev (UKR) - 62 points
3- Taym Saleh (DEU) - 58 points
4- Elliot Kaczynski (SWE) - 56 points
5- Lewis Wherrell (GBR) - 45 points
The Academy Trophy gets down to business
It is difficult to predict the hierarchy that will be established at the end of the weekend between the 45 drivers in the FIA Karting Academy Trophy, as they have not yet met on track. Lithuanian Markas Silkunas and Bulgarian Aleksandar Deshkov are the only drivers to take part in this competition for the second time. Five women are entered in the 2023 edition: Gracie Grantham (BHR), Lisa Billard (FRA), Yeva Ivanou (ISR), Laura Bubenova (SVK) and Klara Kowalczyk (POL), under the colours of the FIA Women in Motorsport Commission.
The FIA Karting Academy Trophy is a formula unique in the world, aimed at training and detecting young talents who compete on equal terms. The OTK Group has been entrusted with the management of the identical Exprit/Vortex OK-Junior karts, which are allocated by drawing lots. The young drivers will be able to discover their equipment during two test sessions on Thursday 18th.
As a partner of the FIA Karting Academy Trophy, Formula Medicine will, as in the past, provide specific training for the young competitors, including two one-hour physical training sessions on Wednesday 17th and Thursday 18th May.
The provisional program for the Třinec event:
Thursday 18th May
10:30 - 16:20: Academy test sessions (3x20')
Friday 19th May
08:15 - 13:55: Free Practice
14:00 - 15:48: Qualifying Practice
16:40 - 19:55: Qualifying Heats
Saturday 20th May
08:30 - 09:56: Warm-up
10:02 - 18:57: Qualifying Heats
Sunday 21st May
08:30 - 09:40: Warm-up
09:45 - 10:20: Qualifying Heats Academy
10.25 - 12.00: OK and OK-Junior Super Heats
13:15 - 15:50: Finals