The 2021 FIA Karting European Championship - OK & Junior ended in Spain with a highly spectacular competition. In a fine display, Italy's Andrea Kimi Antonelli in OK and Britain's Freddie Slater in Junior were crowned after winning their respective finals. The way in which they each managed their European performance is a testament to their great talent with great promise for their future careers.
The final day of racing on the 1699m Zuera circuit was at least as spectacular and competitive as the previous days. All four European Championship events have been extremely selective since May, with the conclusion on Spanish soil reaching a peak of intensity.
Slater wins with panache
Before the final, the Junior drivers all had to compete in a final qualifying heat on Sunday morning. Freddie Slater (GBR - Kosmic/Vortex/MG) had to fight hard for a fifth victory against Ean Eyckmans (BEL - Kosmic/Vortex/MG). This ensured that he would start the final from pole position with Matheus Ferreira (BRA - KR/IAME/MG) alongside him, Alex Powell (JAM - KR/IAME/MG) and Douwe Dedecker (BEL - KR/IAME/MG) following on the second row.
Powell followed closely behind Slater at the start of the Final, but it was Tomass Stolcermanis (LVA - Energy Corse/TM Racing/MG) who threatened him. On the third lap, a collision occurred between several karts including those of Ferreira and Harley Keeble (GBR - Tony Kart/Vortex/MG). The positions in the leading quartet tightened and Stolcermanis took the lead ahead of Eyckmans, Powell and Slater. Slater had nothing to fear for the title, but he was not satisfied with his position. Between Eyckmans and Powell, the second place in the championship was at stake.
Stolcermanis lost ground from lap 9 onwards, Eyckmans took the lead and Slater was back in the battle. The gaps were small as the finish approached. The last lap was epic. Slater managed to get ahead of Eyckmans on the wire and gave his Ricky Flynn Motorsport team an incredible victory, while Powell and Stolcermanis retired after contact. Maksim Orlov (RUS - Parolin/TM Racing/MG) took third place after a 14-place climb. James Egozi (ITA - Tony Kart/Vortex/MG) finished 4th with 11 places recovered and Rashid Al Dhaheri (ARE - Parolin/TM Racing/MG) took 5th position. Despite his retirement at the beginning of the race, Ferreira managed to keep second position in the Championship.
2021 Final FIA Karting European Championship - Junior standings
1- Freddie Slater (GBR) 99 points
2- Matheus Ferreira (BRA) 65 points
3- Ean Eyckmans (BEL) 60 points
4- Alex Powell (JAM) 58 points
5- James Egozi (ITA) 44 points
Antonelli above the fray in OK
The last two qualifying heats on Sunday morning confirmed the leadership of Andrea Kimi Antonelli (ITA - KR/IAME/MG) despite the victory from Ugo Ugochukwu (USA - KR/IAME/MG). Rafael Camara (BRA - KR/IAME/MG) showed his ambitions by winning the other heat. Nikola Tsolov (BGR - KR/IAME/MG) was to start on the front row next to Antonelli, with Arvid Lindblad (GBR - KR/IAME/MG) and Tuukka Taponen (FIN - Tony Kart/Vortex/MG) sharing the second row of the final grid.
The nervousness of the finalists of the FIA Karting European Championship - OK at Zuera was clearly perceptible with two false starts before the race could really get underway. Immediately after the lights went out, a collision between several karts led to the launch of the 'slow' procedure. At the restart, Antonelli was in the lead despite pressure from Lindblad. Taponen was third, and Camara had to wait until lap 7 to recover his 6th position on the grid. Antonelli accelerated as usual as the race approached the halfway point and disappeared from the horizon of his rivals. Lindblad distanced himself from the threat of Taponen while Camara moved up to 4th position, a situation that allowed him to overtake Lindblad in the Championship. Antonelli savoured his and his KR Motorsport team's triumph by winning the race by more than 5.5" to be crowned European OK Champion for the second time. Behind Lindblad, Taponen and Camara, Matheus Morgatto Alvarenga (BRA - Birel ART/TM Racing/MG) reached fifth place after a 16-place climb.
2021 Final FIA Karting European Championship - OK standings
1- Andrea Kimi Antonelli (ITA) 103 points
2- Rafael Camara (BRA) 80 points
3- Arvid Lindblad (GBR) 80 points
4- Nikola Tsolov (BGR) 55 points
5- Artem Severiukhin (RUS) 38 points
The results of the Zuera competition are available on the official FIA Karting Championship app for mobile devices and on the website.