Champions of the Future: Wherrell and Powell Win the Title in Franciacorta After an Incredible Season
128 drivers in OK-Junior and 104 in OK! The fifth and final round of the Champions of the Future Euro Series was a great success, confirming the quality of the organisation by promoter RGMMC, as well as the choices made to make the competition exciting and attractive for drivers, teams, factories and manufacturers. The finale at Franciacorta was once again very exciting to watch, with perfect weather conditions from Wednesday to Saturday. Lewis Wherrell, who took pole position and led after the heats and Super Heats, claimed a well-deserved victory in OK-Junior to become the new 2023 Champion. In OK, Joe Turney made his mark on his return to the series by winning the Final ahead of Alex Powell, who took the crown. Now it’s on to the FIA Karting World Championship, which all the competitors have prepared for in the best possible conditions!
Valencia in Spain in March, Třinec in the Czech Republic in May, Rødby in Denmark in June, Cremona in Italy in July and Franciacorta in Italy in September. The five circuits chosen by the Champions of the Future Euro Series in 2023, matching FIA Karting, have made for an exciting and interesting year. The efforts made by the RGMMC group have been rewarded: a high quality reception, close relations with competitors and circuit managers, adapted timetables, trophy design, constant improvements to race control, communication around the event and monitoring of the races thanks to optimised live streaming, all benefiting from constant investment. At Franciacorta, a new feature has been added. During the heats and Super Heats, the TV broadcast provided information on the moment when the drivers chose to fit their extra new tyres.
OK-Junior: Lewis Wherrell from start to finish
Already a winner in Denmark, Lewis Wherrell (Forza Racing) added a second very significant victory to his list of honours, as it enabled him to be crowned Champion. The Final at Franciacorta wasn’t all plain sailing, however. Starting from the front, the young Briton soon found himself under pressure from Thibaut Ramaekers (VDK Racing). But the Belgian couldn’t find an opening and succumbed to the comeback of his compatriot Dries Van Langendonck (Forza Racing). Van Langendonck seized the opportunity to attack and take 2nd place.
The weekend’s revelation, Brazilian Augustus Toniolo (KR Motorsport), also made his move, while Ramaekers dropped to 5th place, overtaken a little later by Scott Kin Lindblom (Tony Kart Racing Team). Ramaekers lost another place, despite setting the fastest lap of the race, allowing Van Langendonck to secure the runner-up spot at the expense of his rival.
It’s difficult to list all the drivers who performed well near Lake Garda, but we must salute the comeback of the recent FIA Karting European Champion, Ukrainian Oleksandr Bondarev (Prema Racing), who finished 50th in Timed Qualifying and 6th in the Final, where he gained 16 positions. Fighting for a place on the podium, Spaniard Christian Costoya (Parolin Motorsport) and Italian Iacopo Martinese (KR Motorsport) touched and dropped back to 7th and 8th respectively. Sweden’s Elliot Kaczynski (Ward Racing) ended up in 8th place. The top 10 was completed by Finland’s Sebastian Lehtimäki (Parolin Motorsport), despite the return of Germany’s Taym Saleh (Sauber Academy) from 27th place.
Romanian David Cosma Cristofor (KR Motorsport) confirmed his progress by finishing 6th under the chequered flag. But an incorrect front fairing position penalised him and saw him drop back to 13th ahead of Kirill Dzitiev (Tony Kart Racing Team), the big loser of the day who started 2nd.
Final series standings
1 – WHERRELL Lewis (GBR) (Exprit / TM / Vega) 243 points
2 – VAN LANGENDONCK Dries (BEL) (Exprit / TM / Vega) 192 points
3 – RAMAEKERS Thibaut (BEL) (KR / IAME / Vega) 192 points
4 – MARTINESE Iaccopo (ITA) (KR / IAME / Vega) 166 points
5 – BONDAREV Oleksandr (UKR) (KR / IAME / Vega) 161 points
6 – ANTONOV Stepan (KR / IAME / Vega) 148 points
7 – COSTOYA Christian (ESP) (Parolin / TV / Vega) 127 points
8 – DRUMMOND Zac (GBR) (Parolin / TV / Vega) 114 points
9 – DZITIEV Kirill (Tony Kart / Vortex / Vega) 105 points
10 – ILIFFE Jack (USA) (Parolin / TV / Vega) 97 points
(170 drivers in 2023)
OK: Turney, Powell and the Prema Racing drivers take centre stage
With three weeks to go until the FIA Karting’s big event, the event naturally had a World Championship flavour. But from the start of Timed Practice, the drivers and their teams were fully focused on this final round of the Champions of the Future Euro Series, with the aim of being one of the finalists, or even a place on the podium! Thailand’s Enzo Tarnvanichkul (Prema Racing) took pole position and held on to his place after the heats. But he crashed out in the Super Heat and it was Britain’s Joe Turney (KR Motorsport) who took 1st place on the Final grid.
Turney got off to the best start ahead of France’s Louis Iglesias (CRG Racing Team) and Emanuele Olivieri (Birel Art Racing), who had made considerable progress since the previous rounds. British driver Nathan Tye (Sodikart), who started 5th, was forced to retire with great regret. On the fifth of 24 laps, Iglesias tried his luck on Turney. The manoeuvre benefited Jamaican Alex Powell (Prema Racing) who took the lead in the Final, while Turney emerged victorious from this intense duel with Iglesias.
Just as he was hoping to finish on the final podium of the series, Brazilian Gabriel Gomez (CRG Racing Team) lost all his chances when he tangled with Dmitry Matveev (KR Motorsport). At the front, Turney got the better of Powell again and brilliantly won the Final ahead of Powell, who was delighted to be crowned 2023 Champion. Two penalties handed down by the stewards set back South Africa’s Luviwe Sambudla (KR Motorsport) and Tarnvanichkul, who had finished 3rd and 5th respectively. The British driver Kean Nakamura-Berta (Prema Racing) put in a fine performance at the end of the race to complete the top three ahead of Iglesias and Rene Lammers (Parolin Motorsport), who moved up 10 places.
Behind Olivieri in 6th place, the Czech driver Eliska Babickova (Forza Racing) claimed a fine 7th place ahead of Poland’s Jan Przyrowski (Tony Kart Racing Team) and Latvia’s Tomass Stolcermanis (Energy Corse).
Final series standings
1 – POWELL Alex (JAM) (KR / IAME / MG) 231 points
2 – NAKAMURA-BERTA Kean (GBR) (KR / IAME / MG) 212 points
3 – TURNEY Joe (GBR) (KR / IAME / MG) 190 points
4 – TARNVANICHKUL Enzo (THA) (KR / IAME / MG) 188 points
5 – GOMEZ Gabriel (ITA) (CRG / IAME / MG) 181 points
6 – STOLCERMANIS Tomass (LVA) (Energy / TM / MG) 112 points
7 – PRZYROWSKI Jan (POL) (Tony Kart / Vortex / MG) 112 points
8 – TYE Nathan (GBR) (Sodi / TM / MG) 107 points
9 – POULAIN Arthur (FRA) (KR / IAME / MG) 105 points
10 – PAVAN Sebastiano (ITA) (Tony Kart / Vortex / MG) 102 points
(142 drivers in 2023)
USA Driver Results
Vivek Kanthan – 28th
Jack Iliffe – 29th
Ryan Vincent – DNQ
Preston Lambert – DNQ