After the long interruption due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the FIA Karting Competitions will finally be able to resume with the first of the three FIA Karting European Championship - OK & Junior Competitions organised in Spain, on the Zuera circuit from 31st July to 2nd August, 2020. The entry list, with more than 180 names, is a testament to the motivation of the Drivers and teams to get back on track.
The FIA has set the general framework for the resumption of racing in this post-lockdown period. Health and safety is the keyword, with the result that the rules are simple and must be strictly adhered to. As with all FIA Karting Competitions this year, wearing a protective mask and physical distance will be the basis of the new protocols to be adopted during the race weekends. Only the individual awareness of everyone will lead to the collective effectiveness of these measures, with the short term future of Karting Competitions being at stake.
European racing is therefore preparing to make its big comeback to Zuera after last visiting in 2016, but we have to go back to 2014 for the last CIK-FIA European Championship for direct drive karts to take place on this circuit. It will therefore be a new experience for the vast majority of Drivers. The contenders at this highly anticipated event are of an excellent level, both in number and quantity. 183 Drivers, 88 in OK and 95 in Junior, have registered for the FIA Karting European Championship - OK & Junior. They represent 43 nations and four continents, and hopefully all of them will have the opportunity to travel to Spain for the occasion, as international travel is still subject to some restrictions depending on country of origin. Italian manufacturer LeCont will be the exclusive tyre supplier for both categories.
OK: the eternal clash between the younger generation and the experienced Drivers
For some time now, the specialists in direct drive karting have seen their supremacy often challenged by young Drivers eager to show their talent. The 2019 FIA Karting European Champion and World Champion - OK Lorenzo Travisanutto (ITA) and the 2016 CIK-FIA World Champion - KF Pedro Hiltbrand (ESP) will have to face a pack of young opponents who are beginners or only have limited experience in the OK category. Taylor Barnard (GBR), Harry Thompson (GBR), Juho Valtanen (FIN), Matheus Morgatto (BRA), Dilano Vant'hoff (NLD), among others, have already shone last year and remain on the list of favourites in 2020 as does like Joe Turney (GBR). Of the rookies, we will have to count on the 2019 FIA Karting World Champion - Junior Thomas Ten Brinke (NLD), as well as Andrea Kimi Antonelli (ITA), the reigning FIA Karting European Champion - Junior, Marcus Amand (FRA), Nikita Bedrin (RUS), Jamie Day (ARE), and Rafael Chaves Camara (BRA), to name just a few.
Multiple young talents in Junior.
Drivers aged between 12 and 14 years during the year can race in the OK-Junior category for a maximum of three seasons. The difference is not always made by the number of years of practice, as there are more and more young talents. Tuukka Taponen (FIN), Ugo Ugochukwu (USA), Tymoteusz Kucharczyk (POL), Alfio Andrea Spina (ITA), Martinius Stenshorne (NOR), Arvid Lindblad (GBR), Brando Badoer (ITA) and Igor Cepil (CZE) have shown excellent competitiveness since last year. Among the newcomers in 2020, youngsters like Coskun Irfan (SGP), Freddie Slater (GBR), Douwe Dedecker (BEL) and Nikola Tsolov (BGR) seem to have assimilated the characteristics of the category well. However, one of the attractions of Junior is its ability to reveal new talents, and surprises are always possible.