Kirill Kutskov and Dries Van Langendonck became World Karting champions on Sunday at Franciacorta after a dramatic day of racing. Here’s a rundown of the weekend’s action in direct drive karting’s biggest event
In the senior OK class just 0.3 seconds covered the top 35 in practice, with factory Tony Kart driver Kai Rillaerts setting the pace. Mercedes-AMG Formula 1 junior Alex Powell was second fastest, 0.079s behind, while Alpine junior Kean Nakamura Berta and factory CRG driver Mark Dubnitski were 0.099s back in joint third.
Factory Parolin driver Miguel Costa was only 38th fastest, Nathan Tye and Luigi Coluccio were 45th and 46th, European championship runner-up Gabriel Gomez was way down in 63rd and reigning world champion Matheus Morgatto was 78th fastest but only 0.597s off the pace.
Dubnitski was quickest in qualifying, with Parolin’s Rene Lammers 0.006s behind in second place. Olin Galli was third fastest overall but sixth in the combined classification as he was in the same group as Dubnitski, with the other group toppers being VDK Racing’s Fionn McLaughlin and GRG pair Gomez and Louis Iglesias.
Rillaerts was fifth in his group and 22nd overall, just ahead of Joe Turney, while Costa was 44th, Tye was 45th and Morgatto was 69th in the combined classification. Morgatto was 14th fastest in his group, 0.664s off McLaughlin’s pace.
Nakamura won four of the heats, with McLaughlin winning three, Galli, Gomez, Lammers and Arthur Poulain all taking two and the remaining wins going to Ean Eyckmans, Tomass Stolcermanis, Kutskov, Powell, Jan Przyrowski and Enzo Tarnvanichkul.
Turney won superheat one, and Lammers claimed superheat two, but it was Nakamura who had pole for what would be a chaotic final.
Tony Kart lost three of their factory drivers, including Rillaerts, to crashes on the opening lap while Nakamura led McLaughlin and Turney. Lammers dropped from second to 11th.
McLaughlin went to pass Nakamura on lap two but ran him deep and Turney slipped by both. He quickly began to pull away, and was 0.779s clear on lap six after Gomez had passed Nakamura and then McLaughlin to get into second.
Powell demoted Nakamura to fifth on lap seven, and Kutskov passed him on the next lap while Powell moved past McLaughlin.
On lap nine Powell crashed out after the lightest of contact with McLaughlin. Kutskov passed Nakamura to get into third, and Lammers recovered to fifth by passing McLaughlin later in the lap.
More drama was to come, and Gomez took the lead from Turney on lap 10. Turney got back past the next lap but then squeezed Gomez and it resulted in a collision that sent both into retirement. Turney was then struck on the ankle by another karter driving past as he tried to get his kart going again.
The race was red flagged on lap 12, with Kutskov (who had started 13th) now the surprise leader ahead of Nakamura, Lammers, McLaughlin, Tarnvanichkkul and Anatonly Khavalkin.
After a 13-minute break it was decided to restart the race from the end of lap 10, but with the lap 12 order. One lap was completed under yellow flag conditions, then racing resumed.
Nakamura was all over Kutskov, and McLaughlin managed to go around the outside of Lammers for third. Those places swapped on lap 14 when McLaughlin retired with a mechanical issue, with Dubnitski, Costa and Oscar Pedersen also exiting proceedings in a crash.
Kutskov meanwhile was holding on up front, and on lap 16 Lammers passed Nakamura to become his closest rival. There were no attempted passes though, and Kutskov became world champion by 0.184s.
Nakamura and Red Bull junior Tarnvanichkul followed them home, and Poulain was a distant fifth. Eyckmans had been fighting Mattia Colnaghi for sixth until a last lap crash, and just behind Jules Caranta and Galli also collided.
Colnnaghi still finishes sixth, but the others retired and Khavalkin and Iglesias were promoted from 10th and 12th to seventh and eighth on the final lap. Iglesias had started in 31st place.
Only 14 drivers finished, and Prema’s three-four result helped earn it the European title for teams.
The top 22 were covered by 0.301 seconds in practice for the junior class of direct drive karts, with Forza Racing’s Lewis Wherrell setting the pace by 0.07s with a 48.690s lap. Factory Parolin driver Christian Costoya was 15th fastest, but moved to the front when it came to qualifying.
He was fastest by 0.042s over Kohtala Sports’ Joel Pohjola, with Kart Republic’s Lewis Francis third fastest overall but sixth in the combined classification as he was second in Costoya’s group. Ahead of him were the other group toppers: Sauber junior Taym Saleh, Kart Republic’s Noah Monteiro and Ward Racing’s Jabob Micallef.
Wherrell ended up 21st in the combined classification, having gone fifth fastest in Costoya’s group, but he was the first driver of the weekend to win a race and did so from sixth on the grid.
However he won no more heats, while Costoya won four, factory Tony Kart driver Scott Lindblom won three, Saleh, Forza Racing’s Dries Van Langendonck and Ricky Flynn Motorsport’s Filippo Sala got two each and one apiece went to Leclerc by Lennox Racing’s Noah Wolfe, Kart Republic’s quartet of David Cosma Cristofor, Iacopo Martinese, Christopher El Feghali and Lewis Francis, VDK Racing’s Thibaut Ramaekers and Monteiro.
Sala beat Costoya to victory in the first superheat, and Lindblom held off Wherrell to win the second.
With all of those results combined it formed the grid for the final, with Costoya and Sala on the front row. Van Langendonck and Saleh were behind them, then Lindbolm, Cosma Cristofor and Augustus Toniolo.
Race control opted to give the 36-kart field two formation laps to prepare themselves for the biggest race of the year, but a false start meant they got a third.
Costoya held the lead through lap one but was passed by Van Langendonck on lap two. From there the victory was sealed, as the Belgian pulled away to win by 2.15s.
Lindblom made a strong move on Saleh for fourth on lap three, and passed Sala on lap five to complete the podium. Cosma Cristofor relegated Sala to fifth on lap nine, then there was an ongoing battle between Sala and Kart Republic’s Stepan Antonov and Toniolo for that position. Antonov won that battle.
Wolfe sent Ramaekers and Wherrell crashing out three corners into the final, and on lap eight Francis and Saleh had a big race-ending crash too.
Williams junior Sasha Bondarev had an early incident that dropped him to 31st, but he recovered to 14th.
OK final (24 laps)
1 Kirill Kutskov DPK Racing 34m43.536s
2 Rene Lammers Parolin +0.184s
3 Kean Nakamura Berta Prema +0.708s
4 Enzo Tarnvanichkul Prema +1.461s
5 Arthur Poulain AKM Motorsport +3.272s
6 Mattia Colnaghi CRG +6.049s
7 Anatoly Khavalkin Parolin +8.157s
8 Louis Iglesias CRG +8.621s
9 Dmitry Mateev Kart Republic +8.800s
10 Jan Przyrowski Tony Kart +10.319s
Fastest lap: Khavalkin, 47.494s
OK-Junior final (20 laps)
1 Dries Van Langendonck Forza Racing 16m23.695s
2 Christian Costoya Parolin +2.150s
3 Scott Lindblom Tony Kart +2.769s
4 David Cosma Cristofor Kart Republic +3.955s
5 Stepan Antonov Kart Republic +4.332s
6 Augustus Toniolo Kart Republic +6.792s
7 Filippo Sala Ricky Flynn Motorsport +7.785s
8 Joel Pohjola Kohtala Sports +8.134s
9 Andy Consani Shamick Europe +11.498s
10 Davide Bottaro Tony Kart +11.752s
FL: Van Langendonck, 48.714s