FIA European Championship: Hotly Contested Qualifying Heats at Rødby
The competition was fierce during the Qualifying Heats on the new circuit in Rødby, Denmark. Kean Nakamura-Berta (GBR) and Alex Powell (JAM) occupied the top two positions in the OK category, while Iacopo Martinese (ITA) took the lead in OK-Junior. The selection will continue on Sunday morning during the Super Heats, while two Qualifying Heats are still to be contested in the FIA Karting Academy Trophy. Santino Panetta (ARG) and Vasileios Apostolidis (GRC) are currently level on points at the top of the standings.
Under generally clear skies on Saturday, the Rødby Karting Ring revealed its true character during the races. There were plenty of opportunities to overtake, but also to fight back, and the show was intense throughout the Qualifying Heats. Because of the proximity of the sea, the presence of a thin layer of sand off the racing line added a touch of suspense to the competition. The hierarchy has been shaken up in all three categories since Qualifying.
Martinese takes the lead after the OK-Junior heats
A number of outsiders made it back to the top three places in the Junior Qualifying Heats at Rødby. Iacopo Martinese (ITA) took two wins to move up from 8th to 1st place ahead of Tiziano Monza (SGP), who also won twice and moved up 14 places. Thibaut Ramaekers (BEL) moved up 10 places to 3rd ahead of provisional Championship leader Oleksandr Bondarev (UKR). As for poleman Christian Costoya (ESP), a retirement in his third heat cost him his lead, despite three wins. Stepan Antonov, another double winner, moved up from 9th to 6th place ahead of Zac Drummond (GBR). Lewis Wherrell (GBR) climbed from 18th to 8th place, finishing ahead of Oliver Kinmark (SWE) and Dries van Langendonck (BEL). Niklas Schaufler (AUT) was 12th and Kirill Dzitiev 14th.
OK-Junior Qualifying Heats standings
1- Iacopo Martinese (ITA) – 235 points
2- Tiziano Monza (SGP) – 229 points
3- Thibaut Ramaekers (BEL) – 220 points
4- Oleksandr Bondarev (UKR) – 215 points
5- Christian Costoya (ESP) – 208 points
OK: Identical score for Nakamura-Berta and Powell
Starting from outside the top 10 in Qualifying, the two team-mates Kean Nakamura-Berta (GBR) and Alex Powell (JAM) followed a parallel progression to share the lead of the intermediate OK ranking with two wins for the former and three for the latter. Rene Lammers (NLD) also racked up three wins to hold on to 3rd place ahead of Tomass Stolcermanis (LVA), a one-time winner. Poleman Maciej Gladysz (POL) remained in the top five. Joe Turney (GBR) moved up nine places to 6th, while provisional Championship leader Gabriel Gomez (ITA) moved up 19 positions to 7th. He was ahead of his two compatriots Miguel Costa (BRA) and Matheus Morgatto (BRA). Kirill Kutskov, 5th in Qualifying, rounded off the top 10.
OK Qualifying Heats standings
1- Kean Nakamura-Berta (GBR) – 229 points
2- Alex Powell (JAM) – 229 points
3- Rene Lammers (NLD) – 226 points
4- Tomass Stolcermanis (LVA) – 223 points
5- Maciej Gladysz (POL) – 213 points
Academy Trophy: Santino and Apostolidis level on points
Four of the six Qualifying Heats of the FIA Karting Academy Trophy took place this Saturday at Rødby. These were the most hotly contested and spectacular races of the day, with constant changes of leadership and battles at every level. Poleman Rocco Coronel (NLD) was unable to maintain his position in this phase and ended up 18th. 2nd in Qualifying, Santino Panetta (ARG) took 2nd place and a win, just like Vasileios Apostolidis (GRC) who started from 9th position. These two drivers currently have a total of 94 points at the top of the standings. Three other contenders finished with the same score of 82 points: Arthur Broughan (NZL), Max Walton (AUS) and Markas Silkunas (LTU), who started from 20th position. The surprise came from Angola when Lorenzo Campos won the B-D heat, a first for his country at this level. Provisional leader of the Trophy, Marius Barry-Berg (NOR) remains in a waiting position outside the top five, along with Hugo Marti (ESP) and Sebastian Garzon (COL). Klara Kowalczyk (POL) climbed back into the top 10, while Lisa Billard (FRA) and Karel Staut (CHE) lost ground. The last two heats take place on Sunday morning.
Provisional programme for the Rødby event
Sunday 18th June
08:30 – 09:55: Warm-up
10:05 – 10:40: Academy Qualifying Heats
10:45 – 12:20: OK and OK-Junior Super Heats
13:50 – 16:10: Finals
The Rødby event can be followed on the official FIA Karting Championship app for mobile devices and on the www.fiakarting.com website.