The 1st Round of the FIA European Championship, which took place on the Valencia track in Spain, has been a very positive weekend for the CRG Racing Team. Gabriel Gomez was among the absolute protagonists of the OK category, conquering the Pole Position in Qualifying and later winning all the Heats and the Super Heat, so as to also take Pole for the Final. Thanks to this domination in the qualifying stages, the Brazilian driver got his first 50 Championship points, as the 2023 regulation assigns them after the Heats, based on the intermediate classification and also on the results of the Super Heat, apart from the points that are usually assigned in the Final. Unfortunately, in the Final, Gomez lacked a bit of performance in terms of race pace and finished P4 just a whisker from the podium, maintaining in any case the leadership of the Championship with 69 points against 66 for René Lammers, who follows him in 2nd position.
The balance of the weekend, even if we missed the podium in the Final, was nonetheless very positive and gives the team a strong motivation for the following Championship appointments in the Czech Republic and Denmark, before the decisive Round, which will take place in Italy on the Cremona track. The performances in OK category were positive for all CRG drivers and not only for Gabriel Gomez, who appeared in top form on the Spanish track. In fact, Francisco Macedo, who has always been among the fastest drivers on track, also qualified for the Final with the top 36, as well Olin Galli and Mark Dubnitski. Also in the OK Junior class the CRG colors stood out, in particular with the Brazilian driver Gabriel Koenigkan, who conquered P25 on the grid with solid performances in the qualifying stages and then ended the Final in P17, also bringing home a good haul of points. Klara Kowalczyk was more unlucky: she had two contacts in the Heats, that prevented her to make it to the Final, however she could gain a lot of experience in what for her was the first race under the aegis of the FIA.
The next appointment with the FIA European Championship is scheduled for May 21st in the Czech Republic. All the results are available at www.fiakarting.com
CRG drivers’ post-race reactions:
Gabriel Gomez (OK): “We had an almost perfect race weekend. We were fastest in all qualifying stages and also in Sunday morning’s Super Heat; everything worked well in our chassis-engine package and obviously we were all very optimistic to be able to do well also in the Final. It is difficult to say what was missing in Sunday afternoon’s race and it is not easy to understand it immediately, but in essence we lacked a bit of speed, nothing serious, but enough not to allow us to fight for the victory. We will need to analyze the telemetry data and the engine and setup choices we made, to understand what we could have done better, but in any case our balance sheet remains exceptional and the Championship leadership is the most important thing at the moment. We are more aware of our potential after this weekend and we can prepare the next races with lots of useful technical information. The team did a perfect job, as did BM Engine which manages the Iame engines on the track”.
Gabriel Koenigkan (OK Junior): “I have mixed feelings after this 1st Round of the European Championship. On one hand, I’m happy with the speed we had in the qualifying Heats and with having conquered the Final, an objective that cannot be taken for granted in an event with almost 100 drivers and such a high level. On the other hand though, I think we had the potential to finish in the top ten and a few unfortunate episodes didn’t allow us to get the best result. In any case, if we have to draw up a balance, I think we have to be satisfied with the final result and also optimistic for the next races in which we can certainly raise our expectations and fight with the best on equal terms”.