Bondarev, fresh OKJ Euro Champion: to hell and back

Columns: Close Up
The young Ukrainian driver becomes Champion at the end of a year spent largely in the hospital recovering from a very bad accident. Here is an excerpt from the long interview he gave exclusively to Vroom for the next issue of the Magazine…(fm)

Primarily, the weekend you became Champion: it might seem like a formality but Ramaekers at one point was scary. What happened in qualifying?
«In qualifying we were just at the wrong place at the wrong time. Almost everything that could have gone wrong, went wrong. But it’s good that I had a great package from the team to save us from that. But on the other hand we had some extra exciting moments for everyone from both sides, mine and Thibaut’s , cause the intrigue was kept till the end of the final race.»

You could have been champion already in 2022 but that nasty crash in Zuera completely turned your plans and your life upside down. How long did it take you to recover to the extent that was
necessary to get back on track?

«Yes, that was a nasty accident in the end of April last year just 3 days after in turned 13. Even though we all know the risks of this sport, believe me none is prepared enough that one day your life will change this way. I had an open fracture and my foot was turned 90 degrees to the other side. I was taken to the hospital and had a first surgery right away. Doctors had to save the foot, and i think we actually were not realizing how serious this trauma was. Later I was moved to the profiling hospital in Barcelona where i stayed for 3 months and had more 9 surgeries. Well, the doctors were fighting for my bones, skin and nerves, saying they can’t promise that i will ever walk again, not saying about racing. But i was very honest and straight with them, saying that i don’t need this foot back if i’m not able to race, so as soon as i will be able to press the pedal, I’ll race again. Now i’m sending them pictures after every win with words of gratitude. I came back on track 5 months since the accident first for practices, and it took me almost a month, and than finally for a WSK race. That 2022 season I’m finished on a podium in Valencia, being second in Le Cont Trophy. I was a bit relieved, but kept working hard and still do. Foot rehab, physical and mental
preparation is an essential part of my every day routine. We traveled all over the world to find the best professionals that help me now.»

About his karting future, the message from Oleksandr is clear: « rivals have to freak out»

See you with the full interview on September - October issue of Vroom Karting Magazine...


Created by: fmarangon2 - 02/08/23

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