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It’s the event that will officially kick off the International Karting Calendar and is a chance for everyone to see which transfers have taken place over the winter and who is in good form going into the WSK Super Master Series which kicks off at the same track (Adria) next weekend.
In this preview we’ll take a look at some of the big movers, ones to watch and a look at all seven Brits who have entered the event.
OK Junior – 65 entries
Despite the recent CIK rule changes the grids in the Junior class are still very healthy and are just five short on numbers compared to last years Champions Cup. However, what it has done is really open things up. With most of the experienced Junior drivers now being forced to move up it has opened the door for less experienced drivers in the class to take podiums and maybe even wins!
Most, if not all, of the top 15 from last years WSK Super Master Series are absent or have moved up the OK class. Perhaps the highest seed is Ilya Morozov who finished 15th in last years championship. The Ward Racing driver could be considered a favourite due to his experience, but he’ll have some young hard chargers to worry about.
Last years 60 Mini Vice Champion, Francesco Pizzi has moved up to the Junior class and could be one to watch. Viktor Gustavvson, entered with the Tony Kart Factory Team may cause one or two surprises and Leonardo Marseglia has a year experience in the class with Tony Kart. Now with Chiesa Corse he may shoot up the order.
Harry Thompson (Ricky Flynn Motorsport)
It’s hard not to get excited about Harry Thompson. With reigning European Champions, Ricky Flynn Motorsport, everyone in the UK will be keen to see how he gets on. I don’t want to expect too much too soon so I think a top 10 would be a very impressive result!
Zak O’Sullivan (Ricky Flynn Motorsport)
Zak will be Harry’s teammate this year and has experience racing abroad in the BNL Karting Series. I think this will be a learning year for him although the Kartmasters Champion last year could pull out a surprise or too. I think an A Final appearance would be a great start for him.
Jonny Edgar (Forza Racing)
Jonny has had minimal testing in the OKJ, but ended last year very strong in the Mini Max class. He’s had experience in Junior X30 and a World Final appearance which should help and is in good hands with Forza Racing. I hope to see him in the A Final.
Dexter Patterson (BirelART)
I don’t know how well prepared Dexter is for the event, but he’s making the same jump up that Jonny is. The chassis did very good in the hands of Caio Collett, but I’m not expecting those kind of results straight away. If he stays out of trouble he should get a decent result.
Joseph Taylor (Fullerton)
Joseph has entered the event on the Fullerton chassis as a Privateer. It’s something that has taken me by complete surprise, but I’m a fan of Joseph and the Fullerton chassis. It’ll be it’s first outing so I can’t predict how he’ll do but I can only see him improving as the week goes on.
Luca Griggs (Evokart SRL)
Luca is experienced in the WSK Championship in the 60 Mini class. Now in the quicker OK Junior’s he’ll have the upper hand with track knowledge, his result will just depend on how quickly he can adjust to the class.
OK – 49 entries
If the plan for the recent CIK rule changes were to improve the Senior grid then it hasn’t worked just yet. It’s an improvement on the 38 entries last year, but it’s far from what some people may have expected.
The class itself looks very exciting though! There are some big hitters entered for this weekend including our International Driver of the Year Pedro Hiltbrand who has moved to Tony Kart from CRG. Karol Basz may be his toughest opponent, but there are lots of Junior graduates who could be race winning contenders.
World Champion, Victor Martins has entered with VDK Racing. Other Junior graduates include, David Vidales, Isac Blomqvist, Noah Watt, Sami Taouvik, Caoi Collett, Ivan Shvetsov and Dennis Hauger. However, my personal one to watch is Adam Eteki, I think the French Driver could cause one or two surprises this weekend.
Fin Kenneally (Energy Corse)
Reigning European Junior Champion, Fin Kenneally has jumped up to the Senior class for 2017 and has moved away from the Ricky Flynn Motorsport Team. Fin has now teamed up with the Energy Factory Team in a bid to take back to back titles in two different classes. The Energy Team was largely absent from major European Championships in the OK classes last year and didn’t have much to shout about until fellow Brit Teddy Wilson came along and impressed at the World Championship. However, if there’s one driver that can take it to the top of the podium then I think that driver is Fin!
Kiern Jewiss (Forza Racing)
Kiern took the WSK paddock by storm when he won on debut in the Junior class last year. Could history repeat itself this weekend? Well Kiern does like to do things in style and I think a top 10 finish could be on the cards at the very minimum.
Clement Novalak (Tony Kart Racing Team)
Clement ended his European season with a win at Genk last year and will aiming to pick up where he left off this weekend. He’s already proven he can beat the likes of Hiltbrand and Basz, with a bit of luck I think he could do it again this weekend.
KZ2 – 30 entries
KZ2 is yet again a very hard class to call this year. If I was putting money down it would go on Matteo Vigano. A fantastic 2016 season has seen him signed to Tony Kart and I think that partnership will be very successful.
Felice Tiene has moved to BirelART which will be an interesting one to watch. Rick Dreezen is also with a Birel Team. Talking brothers the Pex brothers (Stan & Jorrit) and Lorandi Brothers (Leonardo & Alessio) are top 5 contenders at the very least.
Other drivers that can’t be ruled out are Flavio Camponeschi, Alexander Schmitz, Davide Fore and Jeremy Iglesias.
Tom Joyner (Chiesa Corse)
Tom Joyner is the sole Brit entered into the sole Brit into the class. He’s always a race winning contender whatever he races in and this weekend will certainly be no different.
60 Mini – 107 entries
By far the biggest class this weekend is the 60 Mini Cadet category. With over 100 entries qualifying is going to be crucial if you’re looking to get into the Final come Sunday. The biggest presence comes from the Baby Race and Ward Racing Teams who have 6 and 9 drivers entered respectively. I’ll be interested to see how the first ever Tony Kart Racing Team 60 Mini driver goes, Andrea Kimi Antonelli.
The sole Brit entered into the class is Bray Kenneally. Finishing 4th and 3rd in the Super One and LGM championships last year, Bray is one of the best Cadet drivers this country has to offer, but how will he fair against foreign opposition? I personally think Bray can win the event if he stays out of trouble. He may need some time to get used to the Energy chassis, but if he’s able to do that quickly he’ll be a force to be reckoned with!
Things will kick off with Practice on Thursday and Friday and during Friday afternoon all drivers will take part in Qualifying with the first set of heats taking place straight after. Saturday will be a day full of heats with the Pre Finals and Finals following on Sunday.
We’ll be bringing daily updates on #kartingmag over the weekend including links to live streams. A full report will be posted next week with all the videos from the finals also being posted to our website.
Written by Chris McCarthy