On the dry track of Kristianstad, the battle was intense, both in the lead and in the pack, during a day devoted to Qualifying Heats with no less than 24 starts. In addition to the quality of the equipment and the talent of the Drivers, the race strategy and the technical choices played an important role in the results for the 157 participants of the third Competition of the FIA Karting European Championship - OK & Junior. Dexter Patterson (GBR) and Tuukka Taponen (FIN) respectively are the best positions of the two categories before the last Heats remaining on Sunday morning.
The weather that prevailed on Saturday, 1st June over Kristianstad was finally better than expected. Overcast in the early morning, the sky gradually cleared in the wind to ensure a sunny afternoon which was very pleasant for everyone. The layout of the Åsum Ring offered a superb setting for the 24 Qualifying Heats of the FIA Karting European Championship - OK & Junior. The consideration of the slightest weather changes by the technical teams was one of the keys to performance.
Strenuously fought races
Kristianstad's Qualifying Heats were, from the beginning, the scene of many close battles, both in the lead and in the heart of the pack. The sometimes overwhelming enthusiasm of a few young Drivers resulted in incidents and a large amount of penalties. It was naturally in Junior that the problems were most frequent, causing several major twists in the provisional classification. The differences were more measured in OK, with more experienced Drivers.
Taponen takes the advantage in OK-Junior
The winner of the first Competition in Angerville Tuukka Taponen (FIN) lined up an impressive four-race winning streak and took the lead on Saturday night against poleman Andrea Kimi Antonelli (ITA). Three-time winner Nikita Bedrin (RUS) was back in the top three well ahead of Philip Victorsson (SWE) and Jamie Day (ARE), who made a very convincing comeback from 14th position. Among the delayed faster Drivers, Thomas Ten Brinke (NLD) and Karol Pasiewicz (POL) were notable examples, while the underperformance of Robert De Haan (NLD) continued after Qualifying Practice.
Patterson confirms in OK
Four times victorious in four heats, Dexter Patterson is more and more claiming his grip on the OK category. After Gabriele Mini's (ITA) less successful last race, Lorenzo Travisanutto (ITA) is the most serious rival to Patterson. The return of Pedro Hiltbrand (ESP) to the lead group is worth noting, with Luigi Coluccio (ITA) and Harry Thompson (GBR) also making very good recoveries. The most spectacular progression was, however, to the credit of Joseph Turney (GBR), 29th in Qualifying Practice and now in view of the top 10.
The Qualifying Phases will continue again on Sunday morning with six Heats on the programme, one per Driver, before the revelation of the final list of 34 qualified for each of the Finals in each of the two categories.
Timetable for Sunday, 2nd June
10:45 - 12:40: Qualifying Heats
13:40 - 14:25: Junior Final
14:40 - 15:30: OK Final