The CIK-FIA European Championships kick off this weekend with the OK Junior, OK and KZ classes out at Sarno, Italy to officially kick things off for the CIK calendar. In this preview we’ll take a look at the ones to watch in the OK class.
The OK class is going to be fiercely competitive this year and is almost impossible to call. One of the reasons for that is because six of the top ten in the championship last year have returned. They are:
Pedro Hiltbrand – Reigning European and World Champion
Tom Joyner – Reigning Vice Champion
Karol Basz – 3rd last year
Clement Novalak –WSK Super Master Series Champion
Lorenzo Travisanutto – 9th in 2016
Hannes Janker – 10th in 2016
So, that’s already a very competitive field! Pedro will be desperate to retain his title, but having come close last year Joyner will be looking to make amends this year. Karol Basz looked on for the title before hitting mechanical problems at the last round and as mentioned Novalak has just won the WSK Super Master Series.
Another name worth mentioning is Flavio Camponeschi who has chosen to do the OK class over the KZ class. An interesting decision considering the Italian has focused his attention in the KZ class for the last three years. But for the first time since 2012 he will return with the CRG-SPA team for a full campaign. Flavio was the World champion in KF1 that year so there’s no doubt he’ll be a big contender!
However, one thing the field does contain is lot’s of Juniors with the recent CIK rule changes. Here’s a few of those to look out for:
Dennis comes into the championship this year as one of the highest seed Junior drivers. He was 4th in the Junior championship last year and is racing once again with the super competitive CRG-SPA who are the reigning European and World Champions in the class. He is in the best hands and was quick at the last round of the WSK Super Master Series. Expect him to be on the podium at some point this season.
Ulysse De Pauw
Ulysse had an up and down 2016, but has always showed flashes of brilliance and now seems to have found some consistent form since joining VDK Racing. He was 3rd in the WSK Super Master Series and was the best of the Junior graduates. If he can carry that form into the European’s, he’ll be up there no doubt.
David is once again racing with the Tony Kart Racing Team and was 8th in the Junior championship last year. With teammates including Pedro Hiltbrand and Clement Novalak there’s no doubt the Spaniard will be quick this year. He’s already proven his form in the WSK Super Master Series with 4th in the championship.
Clemet has just come off the back of winning the WSK Super Master Series and was 8th in this championship last year. The Tony Kart Racing Team driver has really improved over the winter and is he about to follow in the footsteps of his new teammate Pedro Hiltbrand by becoming champion?
Tom is of course the reigning Vice Champion and came close to winning the title last year. Although 2nd is still a great result I suspected he was slightly disappointed. He wants to win and could very well do that this year.
Callum didn’t have the best start when moving into the class, but after winning the 28th Trofeo Andrea Margutti he’s grown in confidence and his 7th at Sarno last weekend could be the sign of regular top ten finishes this season.
Fin hasn’t had the winter he would have hoped for. The reigning junior champion became a factory driver for Energy, but with things not working out he’s moved to the Baby Race team ahead of the championship. The Italian team are more than capable of winning races, and Fin’s natural talent should help bring in good results.
Sebastian Alvarez is a bit of an unknown for me. Hailing for Mexico the Forza Racing driver is no stranger to this level of racing and I’m sure will be hoping for constant improvement over the duration of the season.
Written by Chris McCarthy