• Info & photos: FIA Karting / KSP

The competition was formidable from 13th to 16th May in Genk, where the track is famous for its selectivity. The weather added an extra difficulty on Saturday with several brief showers. Fortunately, the sun took over on Sunday and the Finals were held on a completely dry track. The battles were superb at all levels and the show was exciting right to the end.

With its high attendance and very high standard of competitiveness, the 2021 FIA Karting European Championship – OK/Junior got off to a very good start. The MG tyres fulfilled their mission well while the very professional organization of the event enhanced the image of international karting. The second event will take place in a fortnight in France on the Aunay-Les-Bois circuit, in Essay.

Camara Rafael, OK, (BRA), KR / IAME / MG, KR Motorsport SRL, European Championship, GENK, International Race, © KSP Reportages

OK: Camara beats Lindblad in the Final

The last two Qualifying Heats held on Sunday morning in dry conditions did not change the ranking. Arvid Lindblad (KR/IAME) confirmed his domination by adding a fourth victory to his score while Rafael Camara (KR/IAME) was his closest rival ahead of Juho Valtanen (KR/TM), Ariel Elkin (KR/IAME), and Andrey Zhinov (Tony Kart/Vortex).

Valtanen and Camara attacked Lindblad on the third lap of the Final. Camara took the lead two laps later, while Lindblad regained second. The Briton had realized early on that he would not be able to catch the Brazilian on a regular basis and that he had to secure second place. The battle was raging among their opponents. Edoardo Ludovico Villa (Exprit/Vortex) and Martinius Stenshorne (Birel ART/TM) made their presence felt, but it was Nikola Tsolov (KR/IAME) who managed to catch up with the leaders.

Lindblad let himself be passed and Tsolov managed to finish in the wheel tracks of the undisputed winner Camara. However, the Bulgarian hopeful dropped back to fifth place following a penalty for an incorrectly positioned front fairing and Lindblad took the second step of the podium, followed by Villa, while Camara triumphed. The performances of the other top ten drivers, who were delayed in various ways over the weekend, suggest that the rest of the Championship will be a battle.

OK standings after the first round in Genk:

1- Rafael Camara (BRA) – 34 points
2- Arvid Lindblad (GBR) – 30 points
4- Juho Valtanen (FIN) – 21 points
4- Edoardo Ludovico Villa (ITA) – 19 points
5- Nikola Tsolov (BGR) – 16 points

Slater Freddie, OK-Junior, (GB), KOSMIC / VORTEX / MG, Ricky Flynn Motorsport, European Championship, GENK, International Race, © KSP Reportages

Junior: Slater concludes with a big win

On Sunday morning, three Qualifying Heats remained to be contested in the Junior class on a dry track. Ean Eyckmans (Kosmic/Vortex), Freddie Slater (Kosmic/Vortex), and Akshay Bohra (KR/IAME) were the respective winners and ended up in that order in the Heat rankings.

Slater, the reigning FIA Karting World Junior Champion, was slightly delayed at the start of the Final, but he soon took first place on the fourth lap. He increased the gap as the laps went by and took a very nice victory, almost 2.5 seconds ahead of Bohra, while Eyckmans secured third position against Alex Powell (KR/IAME) and Harley Keeble (Tony Kart/Vortex), three drivers who had recovered well. The first half of the race was very lively with frequent overtaking at all levels and a few incidents. Few penalties were applied, which contrasted with the bubbling behavior of the Juniors in the previous stages.

Junior standings after the first round in Genk:

1- Freddie Slater (GBR) – 34 points
2- Akshay Bohra (SGP) – 28 points
3- Ean Eyckmans (BEL) – 26 points
4- Alex Powell (JAM) – 15 points
5- Luka Sammalisto (FIN) – 15 points

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