While there have already been many test sessions in northern Italy since the beginning of the year, the first competition of the season took place on the last weekend of January in Adria. The Ricky Flynn Motorsport team had eight drivers at the start of the WSK Champions Cup in cold weather for karting, though quite dry.
Victory did not reward the excellent performance of the FA Kart / Vortex karts from the British team this time, but there were several reasons for satisfaction. Firstly, the newly homologated Vortex engines have already demonstrated their strength in the hands of the tuner One Engines.
Two new Junior drivers, Ugo Ugochukwu and Laurens Van Hoepen, joined the team while Kai Askey moved up to the top category. He ensured a good performance for his first race in OK, running at the front with great consistency before finishing 8th. The 2018 European Vice-Champion Harry Thompson took the lead of the category after the heats, but lost all his chances in a clash at the end of the Prefinal.
Fast-paced Australian James Wharton confirmed his form from the WSK Final Cup last November, making him a long-time favourite as a result of his pole position and four heat wins. A solid 2nd in the Final, he was demoted to 5th in a scramble near the finish. It was the Dutchman Thomas Ten Brinke, until then fighting in the top five, who took the opportunity to mount the third step of the podium, completing an ascending course throughout the weekend. Remarkable in his first OK-Junior event, Ugo Ugochukwu of the United States resumed racing after a promising performance in 60 Mini in 2017. He set the 3rd fastest time in Qualifying and recovered from a retirement in the first heat with a 5th place in Prefinal A. Ugo was a brilliant 6th in the Final before dropping to 9th because of a spoiler penalty.
The 20th-fastest driver, Conrad Laursen of Denmark, constantly regained places, 15th at the end of the heats and 12th in the Final. The Dutchman Laurens Van Hoepen quickly took the measure of his new team and achieved two fastest laps in his heats. He gained another five places in the Final by finishing 13th. Finally the young Chinese Singaporean Christian Ho revealed a significant progress since his debut with RFM at the WSK Final Cup. 23rd out of 50 in both Qualifying and the heats, he came back to 16th place.
Info Kartcom / © Photo KSP