BNL off to the races with packed grids at Genk

Press Release by:
Columns: Races
The opening round of the 2024 BNL Karting Series season got underway under fantastic sunny weather in the first weekend of April, where over 190 drivers from 26 different nations would tackle this iconic 1,360-metre circuit head-on to start their respective campaigns to this year’s RMC Grand Finals.

April , 07 - Genk (BE), 2024 BNL Karting Series, Round 1
by Alex Goldschmidt, picture Michael Melis/Kartphoto

It would also see a fantastic atmosphere for all to be a. part of, where racing and friendship do go hand -in-hand in a championship that has now entered its 17th season of competition, continuing to attract Rotax racing talent from across the globe.

Mini MAX & Mini MAX Rookie:
A very competitive grid comprising of 46 Mini and Mini Rookie drivers would battle it out to be top of the table, but it would see Oliver Warner (#123 - Dan Holland Racing) take the win by nearly 1.6 seconds in the Final, which was also interrupted by a Full Course Yellow just two minutes in.

The Dan Holland Racing driver would win the 11-lap final ahead of fellow Briton Jenson Chalk (#164 – Strawberry Racing), with Poland’s Michal Zajac (#184 – DHR) completing the top three. Belgium’s Victor Ruyts (#176 – SP Motosport) and Estonia’s Nikita Ljubimov (#145 – EST – Bouvin Power) would round out an ultra-competitive top five, who were all very clearly in contention for the win.

The Netherlands’ Ryan Rampadarath would be the best of the Mini Rookie drivers over the course of the weekend, ending 19th in the Final, but is 14th overall in the standings, ahead of Yesse Moonen (#10 – BEL) and Albert Pharaoh (#42 – GBR – Dan Holland Racing) who complete the top three, with the latter taking second in the Final in the Rookie class.
Mini MAX Top five standings:
Oliver Warner – 156 points
Michal Zajac – 155 points
Jenson Chalk – 153 points
Victor Ruyts – 149 points
Nikita Ljubimov – 146 points
Mini MAX Rookie Top five standings:
Ryan Rampadarath – 114 points
Yesse Moonen – 81 points
Albert Pharaoh – 78 points
Noah Steehouder – 57 points
Tristan Abeels – 43 points

Junior MAX:
41 Junior drivers would fight it out over the course of the weekend, but it would see the UK’s Jacob Ashcroft (#222 – DHR) take the win in the Final on Sunday afternoon, even with Strawberry Racing’s Harry Bartle (#273 – GBR) initialling winning on the road before a post-race penalty demoted him to seventh. Ashcroft would lead a DHR lock out of the podium, with Cameron Nelson (#241 – GBR) and Toms Strele (#238 – LAT) completing the top three.
The 13-lap Final saw several drivers in the mix for the eventual win, but also brings a very close battle in the standings after the first round, with Bartle leading the way. Other standout performances included MKC Motorsport’s Lorenzo Giaquinto (#220 – ITA the #201 of Eva Dorrestijn (NED – Kartstore Racing Team) and Trinidad and Tobago’s Naomi Garcia (#204 – KR Sport), with all three drivers regularly featuring in the top ten pretty much all weekend.

Junior MAX Top five standings:
Harry Bartle – 156 points
Jacob Ashcroft – 153 points
Toms Strele – 148 points
Ties Van Wijk – 144 points
Lorenzo Giaquinto – 140 points

Senior MAX:
It was another highly packed field in Senior MAX, which always proves to not only be the most competitive but also the most popular class in Rotax racing circles, with 70 drivers present and correct to race hard but fair around the iconic Genk circuit.

The Final would see the trio of Kai Hunter (#385 – GBR – Hunter Motorsport) and the DHR pair of Jayden Thien (#359 – NED) and recently crowned British O-Plate champion Macauley Bishop (#367 – GBR) be the ones with the spotlight clearly on them. It was a great battle between the trio over 17 laps, where Hunter would pick up the first bit of silverware for the team outside of the UK, winning by almost 1.5 seconds ahead of Thien and Bishop.

It was a battle behind them, with Hungary’s Armand Hamilton (#342 – Strawberry Racing), Belgium’s Vic Stevens (#327 – Bouvin Power) and Czech driver Tereza Babickova (#375 – Hunter Motorsport) being some of those involved. Thien leads the standings ahead of Bishop, whilst Belgium’s Sverre Ubben (#346 – GKS Lemmens Power) is third, after also showing great pace all weekend long, despite a disappointing finish in the final.

Senior MAX Top five standings:
Jayden Thien – 162 points
Macauley Bishop – 147 points
Sverre Ubben – 146 points
Kai Hunter – 143 points
Vic Stevens – 140 points

It was a perfect weekend in the office for Frederik Zebis Christensen and RS Competition, as the young Dane was able to carry out the clean sweep, taking a perfect score in the Heats, Super Heat and an initially dramatic Final. The #433 would win the 17-lap Final by over 4.2 seconds, after a first-lap incident at turn two saw the Belgian pair of Nicolas Guillaume (#491 – SP Motorsport) and Maxim Dirickx (#499 – Schepers Racing Service) out on the spot.
Germany’s Nikita Gense (#407 – Dörr Motorsport) was second, having initially had his own fair share of troubles earlier in the weekend, but would make it count in the Final, taking second on the podium ahead of Latvia’s Tomass Birstins (#411 – MRG Racing). 2023 RMCGF MAX DD2 Champion Ragnar Veerus was on good form in the last race of the weekend, taking second on the road, but would be demoted to ninth post-race after being found to have overtaken under yellow flags.

MAX DD2 Top five standings:
Frederik Zebis Christensen – 165 points
Nikita Gense – 146 points
Maxim Shchurko – 140 points
Jules Cousin – 134 points
Tomass Birstins – 133 points

DD2 Masters:
It was double delight for both Denmark and RS Competition, as Nicolai Kristensen (#508) would also have a fantastic weekend at Genk, winning the class in every single race of the meeting, which also saw him run behind MAX DD2 teammate Zebis Christensen in the first few moments of the Final. Christophe Capitaine (#599 – FRA – RM Concept) would finish second in the class during the Final, where Kristensen was quite clearly in a class of his own.
Multi-time BNL champion Carl Cleirbaut (#540) would secure the final step on the rostrum in the Final, but will leave Genk second behind Kristensen, as the experienced Belgian will look to again go for another championship title.

DD2 Masters Top five standings:
Nicolai Kristensen - 147 points
Carl Cleirbaut – 89 points
Christophe Capitaine – 84 points
Michael Becker – 81 points
Kamil Kubera - 70 points

The next round of the BNL Karting Series takes place between May 24th & 26th, as the paddock will head to southern Belgium at Karting Des Fagnes in Mariembourg, with another fast-paced and technical track that really challenges the drivers, and will the weather bring an additional factor to how the racing pans out?


Press Release by: BNL karting series - 11/04/24

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