“With my father as a mechanic, we found the right balance”.
A 14 year old Latvian driver on the front row of an FIA Karting World Championship, and in the top three of a European Championship event, is not a common event! However, this is what the young Tomass Stolcermanis achieved in 2021 in the OK-Junior category with his father assisting his kart. A beautiful family story that continues this season in OK with further encouraging performances.
When did you start karting?
I already had a steering wheel in my hands at the age of three and a half, I loved it! I must say that my father was a kart and car driver in the past, he is a real enthusiast. I was six years old when I took part in my first Rotax Micro Max race. I raced a lot in my country, Latvia, where we are lucky to have several kart tracks, some of them good. I won my first National Championship in Mini at the age of eight. I participated in a few international brand challenge finals. I only moved up to OK-Junior in 2021 and I made the decision to move up to OK in 2022 which required different organisation. I travel more and I chose to continue my education by correspondence.
What do you think of the equipment used in FIA Karting categories?
I really like these high performance karts with a lot of potential. They allow you to keep the speed throughout the turn. It’s not easy to get the most out of it, but that’s what’s interesting. It’s important to use the full power of the engine at every point on the circuit. This means defining the best set-up, both for the chassis and the engine. To do this, you have to give your mechanic and your team the best information, know how to translate your sensations and have a good feeling. The more the driver feels comfortable with his equipment, the more he can make the difference with his driving and therefore mentally.
What did you think of the competition when you arrived in OK?
The standard of the drivers is very high, it’s a constant battle to reach the top places. You have to overcome your stress and keep a cool head to be able to give 100% at every moment of the race. It is important to be fast in Free Practice, but the most difficult thing is to confirm it as soon as the race starts, first in Timed Practice, then in all the heats and of course in the Final. Not all drivers deal with pressure in the same way.
What was your assessment of the FIA Karting World Championship in Campillos?
5th place in such an event is a good result, but I was left wanting more. I was very fast in the dry, I earned my place on the front row of the grid in the Final and I was hoping to fight for victory. I took my revenge at the Rotax Grand Finals in Bahrain, which I dominated from Qualifying to the Final. Already during the 2021 season I have had the opportunity to win an IAME Euro Series event in Italy in my first experience in the X30 Junior class. This season I am aiming for the podium in the European and FIA Karting World Championships in OK.
Within the teams, it is now rare to find fathers supporting their sons. How do you feel about your situation?
Personally, I must admit that it goes very well. My father is known in the industry as an excellent mechanic. We have a very good relationship and he has the advantage of knowing me very well. He knows when I am less fit or when I make mistakes. From the trackside and in the pits, he knows how to analyse the situation quickly, which helps us to make the right decisions. We share a lot of things. Of course, sometimes he gets angry. But in the end, I make progress with him and I continue to get better. When you have good results, the emotion is stronger when you share it with someone in your family. With the Energy Corse team, my team manager Mick Panigada and my father, we have found a perfect balance.
Info FIA Karting / Photo © KSP