BNL Preview: 2023 titles set to be decided at the “Home of Champions!”

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Columns: Races
This weekend sees a welcome return of the Rotax roar to the Limburg region of Belgium, as the BNL Karting Series makes its final stop on the 2023 calendar – the world-famous Karting Genk circuit.

The 1,360-metre circuit, which celebrates its 40th anniversary next year, will play host to a grandstand finale for almost 130 drivers from close to 15 different nations. This pivotal weekend will decide the champions in all six classes taking part, with some set to be decided on the very last race of the weekend on Sunday afternoon.

Along with that, five tickets for the 23rd running of the Rotax MAX Challenge Grand Finals are also up grabs, with the recipients heading to the Bahrain International Karting Circuit between December 2- 9. With some of the field already having secured their places earlier this season, it will provide even more drama out on the circuit.

The UK’s Jacob Ashcroft (#122 – DHR) has a considerable 110-point lead in the Mini MAX standings ahead of Northern Ireland’s Rory Armstrong (#166 – Strawberry Racing), which is unsurprising considering the form of the recently-crowned Euro Trophy champion all the way through the year.

Along with Armstrong, there is also further competition from the likes of Lars Lambers (#142 – BEL), Thomas Verheyen (#180 – BEL), Lieke Van Boekel (#185 – NED) and Vic Van Campenhout (#124 – BEL). All of the quartet do have a chance of going for second in the championship, and the pace set by the drivers before qualifying on the Saturday will paint an even more concise picture, as to who will be in form.

15 points separate the two main protagonists in the Mini Rookie class, with Jack Freeman (#193 – GBR – DHR) being untouchable last time out at Ostricourt in mid-August, putting him ahead of young Danish hopeful Finn Albert Jorgensen (#165 – RS Competition).

It also sees a great performance in the class by Maria Ruberto (#152 – GBR- DHR), who has greatly improved in the last couple of rounds, where she is pretty much gunning for a top three finish at the end of the year. Jef Verbeke (#126 – BEL) is only a couple of points behind the British driver, with the duelling between them also set to finish this weekend.

In Juniors, the top four drivers heading into the final round are separated by 28 points, led by JJ Racing’s Kasper Schormans (#240 – NED), who has a slender 3 points advantage over new Junior European Champion Mateja Radenkovic (#296 – BEL – Bouvin Power), who is looking for his second title this season.

Daems Racing Team’s Beau Lowette (#224 – BEL) is looking to fight back to take the title, after he lost the points lead after a difficult spell of luck at the penultimate round, so he could be one to reckon with at Genk. Briton Timo Jungling (#265 – DHR) is also in the mix for the overall crown, sitting fourth in the points ahead of SP Motorsport’s Ralph Van Der Pavert (#286 – NED).

Senior Rotax also has a title fight that could also go right down to the wire, after the UK’s Kai Hunter (#335 – DHR) leads by a mere 16 points in front of two-time champion Sean Butcher (#302 – GBR – KR Sport). Hunter was dominant at Ostricourt and his performance puts him at the sharp end, but will not be under threat from just Butcher, but also Strawberry Racing’s Ethan Jeff-Hall (#397 – GBR) and Germany’s Austin Lee (#372).

Defending champion Kaï Rillaerts (#374 – BEL – Strawberry Racing) also has a chance of retaining his title, even though he has home soil advantage and will battle up to the very last race of the season.

It’s an SP Motorsport 1-2 in DD2, as young chargers Tom Braeken (#418 – BEL) and Enzo Bol (#404 – NED) have been very closely matched this year, having moved on from racing in Junior Rotax in 2022, as the pair are just 13 points apart coming into the final weekend of the season.

Schepers Racing’s Maxim Dirickx (#499 – BEL) is third in the standings, 44 points behind Braeken, but he could be a danger to both him and Bol in the latter stages of the season, where a RMCGF Ticket for Bahrain is up for grabs, but Bol has already secured his through the RMCET this year.

DD2 Masters could see another driver take his fourth title in this class, as newly crowned Euro Trophy champion Nicolas Picot (#537 – FRA) has opted to not take part. Belgium’s Carl Cleirbaut, who was the first Masters champion back in 2010, leads the way, with SP Motorsport’s Dominic Ummels (#577 – NED) being his closest rival.

Denmark’s Nicolai Kristensen (#508 – RS Competition), who won the Kick-Off this year, was not present in France back in August, and could push the two battling over title to help him possibly get third overall in the standings.

Who will become the new BNL Karting Series champions in 2023? Find out by watching all the action live on their official YouTube channel, starting on Saturday afternoon.

Link for Saturday stream (starts 12:00 CEST): https://www.youtube.com/live/yyjpPsc2E9I?si=MpnCeNnpfYMVLfoC

Link for Sunday stream (starts 10:00 CEST):
https://www.youtube.com/live/-KAjS5K5ou4?si=4kV98ER1LQTZ4EFx

Live timing:
https://www.motorsport-events.se/bnllive/

Results:
https://www.motorsport-events.se/bnlresults/index.php?dir=2023%2F05+Round+5+Genk%2F

Press Release by: BNL karting series - 29/09/23

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