On Friday 17th May, the second competition of the FIA Karting European Championship - OK & Junior started on the Genk circuit (BEL) in weather conditions that were particularly difficult to manage. All this because of light intermittent rain that varied grip from moment to moment during Qualifying Practice. The technical choices were influential on the results of this first phase, the consequences of which could have repercussions until the Final. Luigi Coluccio (ITA) finally took Pole Position in OK and Conrad Laursen (DNK) in OK-Junior.
The track was never quite dry or wet, and it was difficult to anticipate the chassis settings, the type of tyres to be used and the most appropriate pressure at the start time. Sometimes slick tyres were the best performers at the start of the session, but also those with the highest risk of accidents. At other times, the rain tyres were the most effective when the rain had stopped. The tension was therefore intense from one end to the other of these Qualifying Practices and staring at the cloudy sky did not help much. In both categories, the differences between the sessions justified the application of the "101% rule" for the overall classification. Drivers were ranked according to their position within each session and not according to their time in absolute terms, a measure designed to reduce inequality.
The particular conditions of Qualifying nevertheless led to sometimes surprising results. The fastest drivers in both categories, for example, saw their fastest time erased for not respecting the limits of the track and losing many places. The Qualifying Heats are likely to give rise to even more struggles than usual with significant upsets a goal for some of the favourites. A good thing for the show, but an added challenge for the Drivers.
Coluccio takes pole in OK
After a penalty for Ayrton Fontcha (ESP) who had crossed the circuit boundaries, Luigi Coluccio (ITA) clinched pole position in the third Qualifying session of the FIA Karting European Championship - OK, with a lap of 1'07''934, about 15'' more than in the dry. Morgan Porter (GBR) took 2nd place, having been the fastest in the second session, ahead of Alessandro Irlando (ITA), leader of the first session. Rasmus Kortelainen (FIN) and Dino Beganovic (SWE) completed the top five. The provisional leader of the Championship, Dexter Patterson (GBR) limited the damage in 12th position, but his direct pursuer Juho Valtanen (FIN) was caught out on slicks and fell to 62nd place. The situation is not very good either for another of the favourites, Gabriele Mini (ITA) in 43rd.
Junior pole position for Laursen
Ken Oscar Algre (EST) suffered the same fate as Fontecha in OK. Sanctioned for having exceeded the limits of the track, he lost the advantage of his best time and found himself 58th. Conrad Laursen (DNK) became the poleman with a lap of 1'02''683 set in the first session, ahead of Nikita Bedrin (RUS) with 1'10''511 in Session 3, and Alfio Andrea Spina (ITA) with a lap of 1'10''760 in the second session. Macéo Capietto (FRA) finished 4th and Marcus Amand (FRA) 5th. Although Thomas Ten Brinke (NLD) did not lose too much in 15th place, the provisional leader of the FIA Karting European Championship - Junior Tuukka Taponen (FIN) was 63rd. Andrea Kimi Antonelli (ITA) finished 25th, while Josep Maria Marti Sobrepera (ESP) was 45th ahead of Ugo Ugochukwu (USA).
Estimated timetable for Saturday 18th May
08:00 - 09:25: Warm-up
09:30 - 18:20: Qualifying Heats
The Genk Competition can be followed on the official FIA Karting Championship app for iOS and Android mobile devices and on the website.