The Russians are coming - How karting works in Russia

Columns: Special
The karting season in Italy is about to begin, and the fastest athletes from all over the world, including Russia, will come to the WSK races. Of course, in the face of the ongoing threat from covid-19, the participation of many foreign pilots is questionable, but the Russians have become a phenomenon in European karting over the past few years.

Their success, especially in children's classes, attracts attention and sometimes even arouses a slight envy of rivals. Do you remember that race where the first seven fastest drivers were from Russia? So, what is the secret of Russian pilots? Perhaps it's all about the mysterious Russian soul, as Russian racers like to joke? Or maybe in some kind of special training? Let's figure it out!
 
Modern sports karting in the form in which we know it now began in Russia in the mid-90s, but there were some talks about Russian pilots abroad only at the beginning of the 2000s. Only on that time the world recognized Sergei Afanasyev, Ivan Samarin, Mikhail Alyoshin. And later came Daniil Kvyat, Sergey Sirotkin, Artem Markelov, Nikita Mazepin, Robert Shvartzman, Alexander Vartanyan, who are famous now, but as many others began their first steps in motorsport, piloting small cars with open wheels. Of course, there was also karting in the USSR. And the national team of the country also took part in international competitions, but exclusively in the countries of the socialist camp. However, much time passed since then, technical requirements have changed, speeds have increased, new fast pilots have appeared. And traditionally they begin their race career with the Academy of the Russian Automobile Federation (RAF) - Micro class.

The RAF Academy is an exclusively Russian invention that has no analogy in the world of motorsport. Young racers who are 6 years old are invited to the Academy. Officially, karting competitions in Russia, as well as in Europe, are prohibited for boys and girls under 8 years old. But in the Academy, they learn to ride the kart as part of the training camp. In addition to racing training, academy participants get theoretical lectures, where experienced professionals teach children the rules of behavior on the track and tell about safe driving. Young athletes study regulations and flag signaling, and then consolidate their knowledge on the track. They train starts, practice correct trajectories and effective braking, prepare for serious races. For many, this is a fairly comfortable way to understand whether a child needs motorsport at all. Having passed the necessary exams, young pilots receive their first racing licenses, and in addition, beautiful racing suits in the colors of the Russian tricolor. All pilots of the RAF Academy have to attend official races and protocol events - briefings, ceremonial formations and the award ceremony in these racing suits. And all racers without exception are awarded at the RAF Academy. Micro class can be attended by the kids from 6 to 9 years old.
 
by Ekaterina SOROKINA
 
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Created by: scorradengo - 29/03/21

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