Watt crushes the opposition in OKJ
Noah Watt should have had a worthy opponent in Sami Taoufik at Round 1 of European OKJ at Zuera but the Morroccan had engine problems in the Prefinal and no one else could get close.
Changing schedules published at the end of Friday played a trick on drivers who were not aware that Qualifying for the OK-Junior European Championship in Zuera was about to start. And Victor Martins, Xavier Dias, William Bertrand and Martin Herencia couldn’t get into the Parc Ferme in time for the first session, while Giuseppe Fusco, Alejandro Lahoz and the Schimpf Mateos brothers suffered the same fate in the second group.
Sami Taoufik (FA Kart / Vortex) was the fastest of the first session with 61.558s, ahead of Hampus Eriksson (Tony Kart / Vortex), Noah Watt (Tony Kart / Vortex) and Fin Kenneally (FA Kart / Vortex ). Esteban Muth (CRG / Parilla) set the fastest time of Session 2 – 61.767s – against Illya Morozov (Tony Kart / Vortex) and Caio Collet (Birel ART / Parilla). The fastest lap of Session 3 went to Isac Blomqvist (Tony Kart / Vortex) with 61.708s ahead of Ugo De Wilde (Kosmic / Parilla) and Niklas Kruetten (FA Kart / Vortex).
Taoufik (RFM) therefore took pole position ahead of Eriksson and Blomqvist (Ward Racing), Watt (Baby Race) 4th, and Muth (CRG Spa) 5th.
10 heats were on the programme of the day at Zuera for the European Championship for OK-Junior. The races were not very exciting, although the young drivers were sometimes overexcited in their approach to racing. We have to say that the front fairing fasteners no longer have as much of a deterrent role as last year and the number of spoilers dislodged at the finish is increasing. The CIK-FIA is looking at the subject. Drivers hindering their opponents by closing the doors were not unusual, ruining the sporting quality of the event.
The fact remains that the battle was intense between the leader Watt, the poleman, with Taoufik and Blomqvist as close rivals. The difference was very small between these three drivers. Kenneally and David Vidales (Tony Kart / Vortex) completed the top five.
Among the noteworthy performances: De Wilde stayed in the top 10 ahead of Morozov, Muth was 14th, Mikhail Simonov (Tony Kart / Vortex ) 16th, Gabriel North (Tony Kart / Vortex) 22nd. However others met their share of annoyances like Dennis Hauger (CRG / Parilla) only 19th, Eriksson 23rd due to a retirement, and Ulysses De Pauw (Birel ART / Parilla) off the pace with his 37th position.
There was good weather and strong wind at Zuera on Sunday morning for the two Prefinals in the OK-Junior European Championship. Watt had escaped early in Prefinal 1, but Blomqvist was able to join him and deny him the lead. Watt, however, reacted and won the race. Ivan Shvetsov (Tony Kart / Vortex) emerged from the chasing group to ensure his 3rd position ahead of Charles Milesi (Tony Kart / Vortex) who fought hard to finish 4th in front of Pavel Bulantsev (Tony Kart / Vortex). Hauger, with the best time, yielded 6th position to Mizzudin Musyaffa (DR / TM) returning from 17th place on the grid. There was a great recovery of 10 places for De Pauw in 9th. Tucked up in the top 10, Adam Eteki (Tony Kart / Vortex) dropped back at the end along with Rasmus Lindh (Ricciardo / Parilla).
Prefinal 2 was marked by the engine problems encountered by the leader Taoufik from the second lap that forced him to retire three laps later. Collet took over the controls, but Kenneally and Timothy Peisselon (FA Kart / Vortex) quickly attacked. Muth joined the leading group in 4th position ahead of Simonov.
The start of the OK-Junior Final was uneventful with Watt in the lead ahead of Blomqvist. Collet attacked Kenneally quickly to gain 3rd place. Shvetsov and Milesi passed Peisselon. Watt then escaped alone in the lead, more than a second ahead of Blomqvist while the battle raged in the chasing group. Collet took over 2nd place at halfway, when Watt’s lead reached 3s with a succession of fastest times. Blomqvist yielded to Kenneally and Shvetsov, then retrieved his 3rd place. Watt kept up his torrid pace to the finish line to win without real competition, with a gap of 3.7s to Collet, then Blomqvist and Kenneally. Peisselon finally finished 5th, followed by Shvetsov and Milesi.