Champions of the Future 2024 - A grand debut in Slovakia and races full of twists and turns

Published on Monday, June 3, 2024

Champions of the Future 2024 - A grand debut in Slovakia and races full of twists and turns

Rising from the ashes in 2020, the Slovakia Ring provided the backdrop for Round 3 of the Champions of the Future Euro Series, which has now moved into the second half of the 2024 season. The uncertain weather conditions of the first day gave way to incessant duels and intense suspense, under the direction of promoter RGMMC, who managed the organisation of the meeting to perfection. Britain's Joe Turney in OK and Spain's Christian Costoya in OK-Junior emerged victorious from this difficult event, leaving the series wide open ahead of the last two rounds scheduled in Sweden and the UK.
 

In the two CIK-FIA OK and OK-Junior categories, 166 drivers of 42 nationalities were able to discover the racing conditions of the Slovakia Ring, which will be used from 21st to 23rd June for the FIA Karting European Championship. For the teams, there was no shortage of work to adapt their equipment to the winding 1172-metre track, located around half an hour east of the capital Bratislava. For the drivers, too, it was quite a challenge, especially as the changing grip conditions on Friday complicated their objective, both during Qualifying Practice and the first Qualifying Heats. The hierarchy took a long time to emerge and it was not until the final minutes of the race that the drivers on the podium were known.
 

In terms of organisation, the participants were able to race at a high-quality complex with modern infrastructure, while benefiting from the professionalism of the RGMMC group and all the high technology deployed, particularly in terms of race control and streaming. Always ready to listen, all of the staff ensured that the event ran smoothly. The efforts made to promote the series via the YouTube channel, Motorsport TV and social networks continue to be greatly appreciated.

OK-Junior: Costoya wins, Schauffer leads

Managing to make the most of the changing grip conditions, Australian William Calleja (Parolin Motorsport) took pole position. But the lead changed several times, with nine different heat winners: Craigie, Mackie, Sala, Baglin, Costoya, Minns, Coronel, Ochstein and Slater. With three wins, Spaniard Christian Costoya (Parolin Motorsport) moved into 1st place in the intermediate standings and confirmed his position by winning Super Heat A on Sunday morning. P41 in Qualifying, Austrian Niklas Schaufler (DPK Racing) achieved the feat of winning Super Heat B after some superb comebacks in the heats.
 

In the Final, Costoya got off to a perfect start at the wheel of his Parolin-TM and quickly moved into 1st place, while the battle for the podium continued unabated. First it was Germany's Arjen Kraeling (KR Motorsport) who led the chasing pack, before being passed by Britain's Roman Kamyab (RFM). But Britain's Noah Baglin (Prema Racing) went on the attack and overtook his two rivals. Schaufler continued the charge he started in the first heat, taking the final step of the podium and securing his provisional lead in the Euro Series.

At the end of the 22 laps, Costoya took victory ahead of Baglin, allowing the Spaniard to move up to 4th in the Championship. The Final was marked by the superb comeback of Britain's Scott Marsh (Tony Kart Racing Team) from 19th to 4th place ahead of Kraeling and Kamyab. Thanks to the points gained from 7th place, Dutchman Rocco Coronel (Victory Lane) is now 2nd in the series ahead of Dries Van Langendonck, who had a race to forget. Iacopo Martinese crashed out in the collision at the start, before setting the fastest lap of the race.

 

OK: Success for Turney, Ramaekers takes the series lead

A neighbour from the Czech Republic, Jindrich Pesl (Monster Factory Team) took pole position with a time of 49.960, a new Slovakia Ring record. Fresh from the OK-Junior class, Pesl maintained his advantage in the Qualifying Heats with four wins from five races! The other heats were won by Bondarev, Morgatto, Turney, Rillaerts, McLaughlin, Kanthan, Ramaekers and Monteiro. The latter two shared the two Super Heats, but that didn't stop Pesl from remaining in pole position for the Final. The Czech continued his demonstration at the start of the Final, which was marked by a collision involving several karts, forcing the race directors to wave the red flag. This decision allowed almost all the drivers to restart. After the restart, Britain's Joe Turney (KR Motorsport) closed in on the leader and took the lead on lap 10.

A number of other drivers followed suit, including the two VDK Racing team drivers, Belgian Thibaut Ramaekers and Irishman Fionn McLaughlin. Frenchman Jimmy Helias (Victory Lane), who had been making steady progress since Qualifying, led the chasing pack with a series of overtaking moves. He eventually caught up with Turney, before taking command of the race on lap 21. A final incident three laps from the finish brought out another red flag, freezing the positions on the track for good. A final twist dropped Helias back to 5th position because of a penalty for incorrect positioning of the front fairing!
 

Victory went to Turney's KR-IAME at the expense of Ramaekers, the new series leader following the poor performance of Britain's Zac Drummond (Parolin Motorsport) in the Final. Romanian David Cosma Cristofor (KR Motorsport), who started 14th, could congratulate himself on his place on the third step of the podium which had been coveted by Belgian Kai Rillaerts (Sodikart), who had however lost precious places during the opening laps. Ranked 6th and 7th respectively, Sweden's Scott Kin Lindblom (Fusion Motorsport) and Portugal's Tiago Monteiro (KR Motorsport) were among the driving forces in the Final. Frenchman Andrea Dupé (Prema Racing), who underwent knee surgery this winter, finished an encouraging 8th on his comeback. Before retiring, his team-mate Salim Hanna had set the fastest lap of the race.

 

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