The first Competition of the FIA Karting European Championship - OK & Junior has benefited from dry and hot weather in Angerville. The performances were very close between the contenders and the victory rewarded the most consistent at the front of the Competition. In the end, Tuuka Taponen (FIN) won the Junior Grand Prix and Dexter Patterson (GBR) won an exemplary OK race.
After a day full of adventures on Saturday, the last Qualifying Heats contested on Sunday morning decided the hierarchy and determined the 34 finalists in each category. Several prominent Junior Drivers, however, fell during this last phase, while the late morning was quieter for their elders.
Junior: the Taponen revelation
Tuuka Taponen (FIN - Redspeed / Iame / Vega) was a big hit with Team Kohtala Sports. He took the lead after the Qualifying Heats against James Wharton (AUS - FA Kart / Vortex / Vega) while Tymoteusz Kucharczyk (POL - Parolin / TM Racing / Vega) was back in 3rd place after his 13th time in Qualifying. Wharton was caught in a clash with poleman Macéo Capietto (FRA - KR / Iame / Vega) and retired immediately after the start of the Final. Taponen escaped in front of Kucharczyk and Ugo Ugochukwu (USA - FA Kart / Vortex / LeCont). The latter was then attacked by his teammates Thomas Ten Brinke (NLD - FA Kart / Vortex / LeCont) and Conrad Laursen (DNK - FA Kart / Vortex / LeCont), and then Josep Maria Marti Sobrepera (ESP - Tony Kart / Vortex / LeCont ). Starting 11th following a retirement in the last Heat, Jamie Day (ARE - Exprit / Vortex / Vega) started a strong recovery that took him to 3rd place. Taponen won 6'' ahead of Ten Brinke, with Sobrepera and Ugochukwu completing the top five.
Provisional classification of the FIA Karting European Championship - Junior after the first Competition in Angerville:
1- Tuuka Taponen - 35 points
2- Thomas Ten Brinke - 25 points
3- Ugo Ugochukwu - 18 points
4- Tymoteusz Kucharczyk - 18 points
5- Jamie Day - 16 points
Patterson marks his territory in OK
With the 2nd fastest time of Qualifying Practice, the Sauber Karting Team Driver Dexter Patterson (GBR - KR / Iame / LeCont) was then extremely dominant. He did not take any risks by finishing 4th in his last heat, still knowing he was the leader in the OK category. He started the Final in pole position and kept his lead over the 26 laps. Juho Valtanen (FIN - Redspeed / Iame / LeCont) recovered his 2nd position after a more difficult start from the outside line and tried to narrow the gap but to no avail. He crossed the finish line seven tenths behind Patterson while Gabriele Mini' (ITA - Parolin / TM Racing / LeCont) set the fastest lap and came within three tenths. The leading trio was the same as in the Heats. Taylor Barnard (GBR - KR / Iame / LeCont) came in 4th against Dilano Van T'Hoff (NLD - Exprit / TM Racing / LeCont). Kas Haverkort (NLD - CRG / TM Racing / LeCont) and Lorenzo Travisanutto (ITA - KR / Iame / LeCont) gained several places, finishing respectively 6th and 7th, which allowed them to stay in contact in the Championship standings.
Provisional classification of the FIA Karting European Championship - OK after the first Competition in Angerville:
1- Dexter Patterson - 35 points
2- Juho Valtanen - 29 points
3- Gabriele Mini' - 24 points
4- Taylor Barnard - 19 points
5- Dilano Van T'Hoff - 18 points
The next FIA Karting European Championship Competition - OK & Junior will take place from 17th to 19th May in Belgium at the Genk circuit.