This is the fifth time in eight years that Ricky Flynn Motorsport has won the European Junior crown, with Lando Norris in 2013, Enaam Ahmed in 2014, Fin Kenneally in 2016, Paul Aron in 2018 and now Freddie Slater in 2021.
The new FIA Karting European Junior Champion had taken the lead from the first race in Genk and never relinquished it. However, his journey has not been easy. Penalised in Aunay-les-Bois, delayed by a retirement in a heat in Sarno, he found his way back to victory in Zuera. But he had to fight like never before to triumph in Spain.
Although the result sheets recorded a series of five heat victories after a 13th place in Qualifying, the reality was more complex. Making a great start from 5th place every time, avoiding the frequent incidents and going on the attack to take the lead in just six laps was not a challenge to be taken lightly. Of course Freddie didn’t have to win everything to be crowned Champion, but that was the goal he had set himself. He set three fastest laps in his heats. Although he started the Final from pole position, he was soon caught by some fierce rivals. He even found himself in 4th position shortly after the halfway point. Back in 3rd place in view of the finish, Freddie avoided a collision and took the lead in the very last lap. Mission accomplished, he became European Champion with an incredible victory.
Not all of Slater’s team-mates were as successful. Edgar Anpilogov put in his best performance of the year, finishing in the top ten after a solid performance that started with a good 9th place in Qualifying. Maxens Verbrugge lost time in the heats and qualified in 35th place. He then had a great Final and finished 13th with a gain of 22 positions. Maxim Rehm started the meeting well and was 14th on the grid in the Final, but crashed on the first lap and retired. Enea Frey had made up 24 places during the heats despite a retirement, but he narrowly missed out on 37th position and was the first non-qualifier. Dion Gowda lost all his chances due to a DNF in the last heat. Neither Tobias Clausen nor Salim Hanna were able to reach the Final.
Rintaro Sato, the only OK driver in the British team, made progress in the Timed Qualifying session, finishing 9th, and continued in the heats. With a 3rd place and a fastest lap, he qualified in 8th position. Delayed three times in the battles, he never became discouraged and reached the finish in 19th position after frequent passes. A dropped spoiler finally sent him back to 28th.