The 2021 FIA Karting European Championship in the OK category is about to come to an end from 23rd to 25th July in Zuera, Spain. The organisation of a major international event on this same circuit, just one week before, represented a full-scale rehearsal that should not be missed. As usual, James Wharton worked hard with the Parolin Motorsport team to improve his kart and adapt to the difficult track conditions. His fighting spirit carried the Australian through to the Final of the second round of the Champions of Future series, although he was unable to make as much progress as he would have liked.
The 1,700 metre Zuera circuit in the Aragon region, close to the city of Zaragoza, was somewhat daunting for James Wharton at the start of the meeting. With its high average lap time and fast corners, it favours smaller drivers and did not allow the Ferrari Driver Academy driver to show his full potential. “Clearly, the meeting was not easy. With the team we were looking for performance throughout Free Practice and the races,” said James.
Another place in the Final for James Wharton
Fortunately, the young Australian has a warrior’s mentality and never admits to being beaten in advance. After setting the 38th time in the official Qualifying Practice (out of a total of 54 drivers), he studiously applied himself to progress in the hierarchy during the Qualifying Heats. “I’m starting to get some experience of the big international events and I know that I can move up the order by being consistent and strong in the battles. Of course, when you’re racing in the middle of a field of the world’s best drivers, gaining places often becomes a tricky mission, but I was keen to take on this challenge with plenty of motivation.”
In the first race, James Wharton gained four places after a hard-fought battle. In the final laps of the second heat, he gained a place from his starting position, despite his still poor performance. In the third and last heat, he made another excellent start: a kind of habit for the Australian… After some more good overtaking, he improved by seven positions and just won his place for the Final phase, without going through the Repechage. Unfortunately, he could not improve on his 30th place on the Prefinal grid due to an early retirement. In the Final, he crossed the finish line in 27th position, after a more difficult race than expected.
“During the entire meeting we tried different technical solutions in preparation for the European Championship, which is still a positive point. I didn’t have much to gain in this Champions of the Future series, but I still tried to get the best result possible to thank all the people who support me. Driving my Parolin-TM Racing-MG Tires kart, I have the opportunity to be part of the All Road Management structure and to wear the colours of the Ferrari Driver Academy, which pushes me to do my best. I hope to be able to do well in the fourth and final round of the European OK Championship, even though the Zuera circuit is not really favourable to me. The weather this week is still looking very dry and even hotter, so that will be an extra factor to deal with.”
James Wharton – Press release / Photo © KSP