Highly anticipated by all the best hopefuls of international karting, the 2021 OK European Championship started in Genk, Belgium. James Wharton reached a high level of competitiveness, despite the difficult weather conditions that put the 72 drivers involved to the test. The Australian from the Ferrari Driver Academy was up to 7th in the Final, before being forced to drop to 14th after an unfortunate penalty.
James Wharton appeared more focused and ambitious than ever on the Genk circuit from 13th to 16th May. The Parolin Motorsport team had prepared perfectly for this first round of the European Championship, which remains one of the major events of the season. “The Free Practice session gave us a lot of technical information about tyre operation, the chassis and of course our TM Racing engines,” said James.
Fast in wet and dry conditions
7th in his group and 26th after official Qualifying, James Wharton faced a day of intermittent showers on Saturday. “The track was dry for my first run, which I finished in 6th position and got faster and faster as the laps went by. For the following heats we had to use the rain tyres and I was able to be very comfortable in these conditions.”
James kept a cool head and made no mistakes to finish in 4th and 7th place. Unfortunately, he was involved in a collision on the first lap of the last race on Sunday morning. In the aggregate of the four heats, which determined his place on the starting grid for the Final, the All Road Management driver found himself in 14th place.
Top six within reach
The track was perfectly dry when the drivers set off for the Final. As usual, James Wharton made an excellent start and began the race in a combative and effective manner. He finished the first lap in 9th place. Less than 10 laps later, he was already in 6th position. The opposition was strong, but Wharton stayed on course for several laps. Once again, the Australian was fast, setting similar times to the race leaders.
The fight in the chasing pack was to prove very tough, but he managed to maintain a magnificent 7th place under the chequered flag.
Unfortunately, his #122 Parolin-TM Racing kart was demoted to 14th position due to a penalty for a loose front fairing. “It’s always hard to accept,” James conceded, “but that’s racing. I was able to prove my potential though and I’m looking forward to proving it further at the next race in France.”
James Wharton – Communiqué de presse / Photo © KSP