The sky was blue, the sun was warm and the Kosmic/Vortex karts of the RFM team were very competitive in Sarno. However, the third round of the European Championship did not run smoothly at the foot of Mount Vesuvius. The best and the worst were mixed throughout the weekend until Freddie Slater was capable of winning the Junior Final, but missed the target by a whisker while securing his title chances.
On the technical side, the performance was obvious in the Ricky Flynn camp. All the RFM drivers had the opportunity to shine, each in their own way, during the competition in Sarno, but they all also had their share of worries in the midst of the fierce battles. The temperatures hardly dropped below 30° during the day and the track grip was high.
Sato finally among the best in OK
Rintaro Sato made a big step forward this weekend with a very convincing pace that allowed him to fight at the front. 8th in Qualifying, the Japanese driver got three 2nd places during the heats with two fastest laps. Unfortunately, a contact in Heat 3 forced him to retire. However, he was still competitive in the Final and made up seven places to take the chequered flag in 8th place.
A breathless race for Slater
Leader of the European Junior Championship since the first meeting in Genk, Freddie Slater was on the pace from the very first Qualifying session, although it was difficult to manage. He was in the top three in four of his heats and even took a victory. However, a collision with one of his team-mates caused him to retire twice. 12th on the starting grid in the Final was not what Freddie was aiming for. He was going to have to work hard to rectify the situation with formidable effectiveness during the entire race. He achieved this by taking the lead with four laps to go. However, a last bounce would deprive him of the victory by only two thousandths of a second. Freddie came out of all these events well and strengthened his position in view of the title conquest.
Clausen gets closer to the top 10
Tobias Clausen had his best result ever at European level. Two excellent heats finishing in 4th position, one of them with the fastest lap, compensated in part for his three other less successful races. He had a great Final, setting the fastest lap as he climbed 11 places to 12th. Maxim Rehm followed him in 13th position after having made good progress during the heats and the Final.
Enea Frey was progressing positively during the heats despite a penalty in the last one for not respecting a yellow flag. He managed to make up 12 places in the Final battle and reached 16th position. Edgar Anpilogov managed to narrowly qualify for the Final after a distant Qualifying and made up another 10 places in the Final. Dion Gowda did not have an easy weekend. Delayed by two successive retirements in the heats, his three other successful races allowed him to reach the Final where he was 26th on the finish line.
Salim Hanna’s situation was impacted by two retirements in the heats, and his two good results in the top five did not save him. Finally, Maxens Verbrugge missed his Qualifying and narrowly missed the Final despite solid heats.
Info Kartcom / Photos © KSP