At the end of a tough weekend in Portugal, success rewarded the efforts of the Ricky Flynn Motorsport team with the title of FIA Karting World Champion – Junior which crowned the talent and determination of young British driver Freddie Slater. The joy of a new world victory softened the harshness of a competition held in demanding weather conditions that were not favourable to all the RFM drivers.
The 2020 season, interrupted for four months by the pandemic, didn’t allow the British team to prepare its young drivers as it usually does. The technical mastery of the Kosmic chassis and the competitiveness of the Vortex engines prepared by One Engines were still very present, but the lack of driving throughout the year may have been a problem. In this less favourable context, the world title of Freddie Slater is all the more appreciated after the title won by Thomas Ten Brinke last year.
The climate in Portimao was very changeable at the beginning of November, with sunny days alternating with long periods of rain. The rain, itself very variable in intensity, caused grip conditions that were often difficult to understand, both for the drivers and for the technicians. The peak was reached on Sunday for the last Qualifying Heats and the Final, where drivers had to face a wet track.
More than ever, the selection was made through race incidents: penalties, crashes or retirements. As early as the Qualifying Heats, which were held in light rain, four of the eight RFM drivers distinguished themselves. Dion Gowda took 6th place, Coskun Irfan was 11th, Freddie Slater 17th and Rintaro Sato 23rd among the 89 participants. The sun quickly dried the track on Saturday and the Qualifying Heats were hectic with many contacts.
Slater wins a second world title in a row for RFM
After just missing the pole position, Freddie Slater started an exceptional course, each time climbing into the top four without making any mistakes. He finished on Sunday morning with a 2nd place and took 3rd place in the classification of the heats with a gain of fourteen positions. He was then able to fight for the victory from the second row of the grid. With his usual determination, he made a very good start in the lead and broke away quickly. But he was caught at the end of the race and had to fight a heroic battle to keep the advantage on the finish line. The battle was won decisively, Freddie Slater was crowned World Champion, a year after the victory of Thomas Ten Brinke.
Coskun Irfan had some solid heats before fighting bravely in the pack of the Final. By avoiding the traps, he managed to regain some ground and was close to the top 10 at the finish, which is a very strong result considering the conditions. Dion Gowda had only just qualified and was eliminated at the beginning, caught in a massive crash on the first lap that led to the “slow” procedure.
It was a disappointment for Rintaro Sato who had performed so well the week before on the same circuit during the Champions of the Future series. The Japanese driver managed to win a race while setting the fastest time, but a series of retirements prevented him from reaching the Final. Morgan Carson, Edgar Anpilogov, Tobias Clausen and Lucas Fluxa Cross had started too far back after Qualifying to be able to reduce their gap in the heats.
Info Kartcom / Photo © KSP