There was no shortage of surprises during Qualifying for the second round of the FIA Karting European Championship – OK and OK-Junior in Spain. The search for slipstream left several favourites out in the cold. Two new drivers have put their names at the top of the rankings: Guillaume Bouzar (LUX) in OK-Junior and Luis James Egozi (ITA) in OK.
True to its reputation, the Zuera circuit and its 1,699 m length did not make the task of the participants in this event any easier. Management of the Vega tyres in OK-Junior and MG in OK only leaves a short window to use their potential, which is reached during the first one or two laps. The configuration of the Spanish track creates the need to be able to take advantage of a good draft to hope to achieve the fastest times. The exercise is all the more difficult as it has to be done in a very short time.
Fortunately, the weather was very favourable on Friday 29th April, with a dry track and temperatures that exceeded 20° in the Aragon sun. Immediately after the Qualifying Practice, the drivers started to compete in the Qualifying Heats, fifteen per category, i.e. five per driver, in order to determine the intermediate classification on Saturday evening. The results of the Qualifying Heats suggest that the races will be very lively at all levels.
Bouzar takes first place in OK-Junior
After Dmitry Matveev’s pole position in Portimao, it was another Koski Motorsport driver who was the fastest in Qualifying for the FIA Karting European Championship – OK-Junior in Zuera. Guillaume Bouzar from Luxembourg, who was used to French competitions in his early career, wasted no time in making his mark in the first session. Almost all the drivers of this group started at the very last moment and completed only one flying lap. Bouzar proved to be the most efficient in this perilous exercise, notably with a very good second sector, and finished with a time of 1’02”347. Two British drivers followed him closely, Lewis Wherrell at 36 thousandths and Nathan Tye at 42 thousandths. The next two sessions were slightly slower. Fifth in the Championship, Thomas Strauven (BEL) did a good job leading the second session, just a tenth off the pole position, while Arthur Dorison (FRA) led the third session at 0,152”. The top five was completed by Wherell and Zac Dummond (GBR). Provisional Championship leader Dmitry Matveev was only 24th, while runner-up Anatholy Khavalkin was unable to travel to Spain this weekend. Third-placed René Lammers (NLD) was 16th and fourth-placed Nathan Tye (GBR) seventh.
Guillaume Bouzar explained his session: “I didn’t start too fast to let my tyres warm up without overheating them too early. I deliberately left a gap to the drivers in front of me so that I could catch them and take advantage of a good slipstream. Everything went as I planned. They fought a bit in front and that bothered me a bit at the end, but in the end the lap was good. I’m happy to have got this pole position for the rest of the competition and also for the Koski Motorsport team who always work very hard to provide us with the fastest karts.”
Egozi reaches the top of the OK Qualifying
Luis James Egozi has made a solid start to the season so far with the Tony Kart Racing Team in the Italian colours in his move to OK. He set the fastest lap in the first timed session of this FIA Karting European Championship – OK event with 1’00”327, followed by Enzo Deligny (FRA) at 42 thousandths and Alex Powell (JAM) at 6 hundredths. Brazilian Gabriel Gomez took second place in Qualifying thanks to the fastest time of the third session, 0.176” from the pole and British Kean Nakamura-Berta, currently fifth in the Championship, was third as leader of the second session 18 thousandths further back. Deligny finished fourth ahead of Evan Giltaire (FRA), third in the Championship. Second in the provisional championship standings, Joe Turney was ninth in Qualifying, with his direct competitor Oscar Pedersen (SWE) only 46th against the clock.
In the words of the poleman Luis James Egozi:
“I am of course very happy with the way my Qualifying went. The first lap was a good one, as I was already in fifth. Then, on my second lap, I set all the purple sectors to take pole position. Then I saw that I couldn’t improve on the third lap. I went back to the pits before the end of the session. The meeting is starting well.”
Programme for the Zuera race
Saturday 30th April
09:00 – 10:13: Warm-up
10:20 – 18:15: Qualifying Heats
Sunday 1st May
09:00 – 10:05 : Warm-up
10:10 – 11:45 : Super Heats
13:15 – 14:40 : Finals
The Zuera event can be followed on the official FIA Karting Championship app for mobile devices and on the website www.fiakarting.com with live-timing and live-streaming.
FIA Karting – Press release / Photo © KSP