The 1st edition of the Winter Series of the Champions of the Future by RGMMC, which took place in Franciacorta, has ended with a positive balance for the CRG Racing Team, even if, the event organized by the promoter of the FIA Championships, was heavily influenced by the many penalties for race actions inflicted by the Stewards after the race. Among the CRG drivers, a time penalty was assigned to both Gabriel Gomez in OK, who had finished a solid weekend in the top ten and to Nikolas Roos in OK Junior, who also did an excellet job all weekend.
This event was the first for international karting on the Franciacorta racetrack which, in July, will host a European Championship race and for this reason for many drivers it was a track to be discovered or that they had the chance to know a bit during some winter testing sessions only. This was also the reason of some drivers’ mistakes in the race, but the most important point was to guess the best set-up with little data available, in addition to the fact that the track from Thursday to Sunday improved a lot in terms of grip.
The races were as exciting and spectacular as international karting is used to, even if the 5 CRG drivers attending the event on the track lacked a bit of luck. CRG lined up 3 drivers in the OK category and Gabriel Gomez was among the fastest since free practice, as he had already shown he could do last year at the FIA World Championship in Portimao. The Brazilian driver scored P5 in qualifying and then P7 in the general ranking after the heats. The podium was well within his reach, but as mentioned before, a race contact not only delayed him on the track, but also cost him a penalty of 10″ and drove him out of the top ten. Again with regard to the OK class, Viktor Gustavsson‘s weekend went on the rise: after some difficult qualifying tests, he managed to move up to P13 in the general ranking, after the heats. Unfortunately, the Swedish driver was immediately involved in an accident in the Final and was forced to retire. For the Spanish driver Adrian Malheiro, who missed the qualification by only one point after the heats, it has been a weekend of apprenticeship with the team, as well as a chance to improve his synergy with the CRG squad.
In OK Junior both drivers showed great potential, but also in this case a penalty for a race contact relegated Nikolas Roos to the Final, while Sebastian Garzon Orozco (who had set the fastest lap in the Super Heat) went out of the track on the first lap of the Final, after an excellent weekend.
After this event, the Champions of the Future Series will come alive with the 4-round Championship that will be used by the team to prepare for the European Championship and which will feature the OK and OK Junior classes. The first appointment is scheduled in Portugal in Portiamo on 27th March.
CRG drivers’ post-race reactions:
Viktor Gustavsson (OK): “It had been three years since I last took part in a competition in OK and I had to find my pace especially in the race, but despite my weekend being with many ups and downs, the balance is positive because we had a good speed and collected a lot of useful data on the chassis and the engine set-up. This year I will take part in the FIA Karting races also in OK, as well as in KZ and after this race I have a lot of confidence in the results we can achieve. The potential of the 2022 chassis proved to be high and I believe we will be much more competitive already in Portiamo at the end of March”.
Gabriel Gomez (OK): “From the first days of free practice I felt good with the chassis and tires, as the World Championship weekend had been for me. At many points of the race the tussle on the track was high and in the Final due to a contact I lost the chance to stay with the leaders and try to fight for the podium. The pace in the race was very good and from this point of view we took a step forward with the management of the set-up; now we can say that we have a truly competitive chassis-engine package”.
Nikolas Roos (OK Junior): “I started the weekend with a bit of pressure because I didn’t know the track and this was my first international race of the season, after the winter break. My performance has improved and in the final stages we were really fast, both me and my team-mate Sebastian. I am very happy with the weekend’s performances, I could have easily closed the race in the top ten and we made some basic set-ups that will be very useful during the season”.