Olin Galli had the chance to fight for the podium last weekend in Zuera (Spain) in the last round of the FIA European Championship OK & OKJ, but a contact in the last heat on Sunday morning relegated him down to the starting grid of the Final from P5 to P10. His race became even more complicated when a contact in front of him at the first corner forced him to drive on the dirty side of the track and he finished the first lap only P18. Despite some excellent lap times and a recovery of 7 positions (he finished the race in P11 under the checkered flag), it was impossible for him to fight in the top 5, like it was the potential he had expressed throughout the weekend.
Apart from the final result, we bring home the positive work done over the weekend and all the useful information gathered in view of the FIA World Championship, an event that Galli will attend, whether it is confirmed in Brazil or if it is moved to Europe.
Also in the OK class, Ksenia Phoenix made a lot of progress, coming close to qualifying for the Final, showing an excellent speed throughout the entire weekend.
A very negative chapter for the team is what happened in OK Junior instead, where only Simone Bianco took part in the race as Gerasim Skulanov had already used his wild card in Sarno. After the 2nd heat the Italian was excluded from the event because according to the Stewards, after the checkered flag, he would have tried to put the front spoiler back in its correct position; but the images clearly show how the driver only touched the spoiler to check its conditions, by lowering himself for a few moments only and, above all, that it was already in its correct position. The measure taken by the Stewards appeared unjustified and not commensurate to the size of the disputed fact. But unfortunately during the race nothing was enough to change the Stewards’ minds.
The 2021 European Championship ended with Andrea Antonelli and Freddie Slater crowned as European Champions, respectively in the OK and the OKJ categories. Now the entire direct drive class paddock is awaiting confirmation of the venue for the FIA World Championship, which will represent the most important event of the season.
The full results of the race and the Championship standings are available on www.fiakarting.com
Drivers and team’ post race reactions:
Olin Galli (OK): “I didn’t know the Zuera track and in the first race I have attended here last week I had to find the right feeling in some sectors of the circuit. We also had some engine problems that slowed us down. During this FIA Euro weekend, on the other hand, everything went better and, if I hadn’t been involved in an accident in the last heat, I would have started 5th in the Final, definitely competing in a different race. In turn 1 I also had to drive on dirty side of the track and on lap 2 I was far behind. After that we recovered up to P11 and I also set some excellent times, but I stil regret the fact of not being able to manage a race in the top 5, as we deserved. I have to say that I was feeling very comfortablel with the chassis and I think we will be able to do an excellent race with this technical package at the World Championship”.
Simone Bianco (OKJ): “The episode the Stewards are contesting me did not occur, at least how they think it was, and therefore we are talking about an unfair exclusion. The video denies what the Steward of the parc fermé said (who was at least 10 meters far away from me) that he saw me putting back the spoiler in place; this can also be seen from the video, which among other things shows me from a long way off. The truth is that the spoiler was damaged but fixed in the correct position and the only thing I did after getting out of the kart was to check how open it was in the front, lowering myself to see the underside and maybe for a split second I have touched it with my hand. For non -professionals it must be said that a 13-year-old boy cannot place back a spoiler to its place by touching it for a second. In any case, I want to leave this negative experience behind and look ahead”.
Marco Angeletti (Team Coordinator): “Performance in karting is the result of the sum of 4 priority factors: the ability of the drivers, the ability of the technical staff, the effectiveness of the engine part, the effectiveness of the chassis part. Referring to the 5 categories that our racing department manages (Mini, KZ, KZ2, OK and OKJ), in the OK and OK Junior classes we started the season with a gap in at least two of these sectors. At the same time we have focused many of our resources on the KZ and Mini classes, which are categories with more direct repercussions in what is our core business, while promotional activities related to direct drive classes are more complex and above all do not only involve the skills of our racing department and the results of the FIA races. This is because some one-make series are most popular in the world and therefore we must manage specific development programs at the same time. In any case, the drivers and technical staff have worked hard and we have made a lot of progress, even there is stillo ne step needed to close the gap and fight for the podium. An experienced driver like Galli has helped us a lot this weekend and we believe we know where we need to work on to be ready for the World Championship, as well as to better prepare the 2022 team on which we will already start working from September”.