On their first expedition out of Italy this season, the 60 Mini drivers discovered the French circuit of Angerville at the second round of the WSK Euro Series. Again well represented in the 8-12 age group, the Parolin chassis again demonstrated outstanding performance as the weather complicated the grip of the track. Al Dhaheri was on the podium in 2nd and Al Azhari finished 4th. Gabriele Mini’ did not have an easy weekend in OK, but he managed to maintain his position in the WSK Euro Series standings.
Intense battles in Junior and OK
The month-long series of races at Angerville, from the FFSA meeting to the WSK Euro Series via the FIA Karting European Championship, caused some dissatisfaction in OK and OK-Junior. In the Junior category, the Brazilian Vinicius Tessaro was the only one to defend the colours of the Parolin Racing team. After some very complicated Qualifying Heats – two retirements and a penalty – he climbed 10 places to finish 21st in the Final. Gabriele Mini’ was fighting at the forefront in the OK category as always with his 4th place at the end of the heats, but the Finals were less successful and he was 8th in the Final while maintaining his provisional ranking in the WSK Euro Series.
More remarkable performances in 60 Mini
Giovanni Trentin set an excellent time at 4 hundredths off the pole of his group and took 4th place overall in 60 Mini Qualifying. After setting the 10th fastest time, Keanu Al Azhari was three times fastest in his heats and climbed to 3rd position before the Finals. Maxime Verbrugge came back from Qualifying with good heats and reached 4th position in his Prefinal. He confirmed his form by crossing the finishing line of the Final in 10th place before being demoted to 18th by a spoiler penalty. With another fastest lap in Prefinal A, he lost his 4th position because of a penalty.
Meanwhile, Rashid Al Zhaheri won Prefinal B and long fought in the top three of the Final before taking 2nd place in a last-ditch effort. This excellent result allowed him to move up 10 places in the ranking where he is now in 3rd position.
Peter Bouzinelous again qualified for the Final and gained 12 places to finish 22nd. Qualified thanks to 10th position in the Prefinal, Valerio Rinicella made a good start to the Final in the top 15, but then gave up ground before the finish. Finally, Shimo Zhang reached the Finals for the first time after some complex heats to handle for the young Japanese driver.
“The WSK Euro Series had very different conditions compared to the two previous meetings at Angerville and the competition proved difficult,” explained Marco Parolin. “Gabriele Mini’ did not regain his usual level of performance, but he managed to maintain his position in the Championship. We were very much present in 60 Mini with half of the grid equipped with our chassis. Several fastest laps in the race and four drivers in the top five proved the quality of our products once again. I’m glad that Al Dhaheri was able to finish 2nd and get closer to the top of the standings. Al Azhari was very fast while Verbrugge was finally able to express his talent. The other drivers of the team continued their progress despite changing grip conditions. Zhang gave us great satisfaction in qualifying for the Final in his second meeting in Europe. “
The next meeting of the FIA Karting European Championship will take the Parolin drivers to Belgium, to the Genk circuit, from 16th to 19th May.
Gabriele Minì and the Parolin Racing team learned their lessons from the Angerville French Championship meeting to prepare for the first round of the FIA Karting European Championship – OK, which was held on the same circuit two weeks later. Thanks to his extremely effective equipment, the Sicilian driver was able to avoid the pitfalls of this difficult race to wisely finish in 3rd place in the Final and the provisional classification.
“It’s comforting to be able to count on the composure of a driver like Gabriele,” commented Marco Parolin. “He was very calm while the event was fraught with risks, he showed that he perfectly understood the strategy for a Championship with four events. Very fast, he set several fastest laps in the race including the Final, which allowed him to reach the podium. Thanks to him, we have scored significant points for the rest of the European confrontation. As for the Juniors, I want to highlight the performance of Kucharczyk of Team Baby Race who demonstrated the quality of the Parolin chassis with two wins in the heats and 7th in the Final, which earned him 4th place in the Championship”.
It was not just a question of pure performance at Angerville. The event was fraught with risk, as was shown by frequent incidents and the high number of penalties. In addition, the differences were small between the fastest drivers and the French track was not conducive to overtaking. However, it was easy to lose everything during a collision.
Very convincing performance in OK
Being able to count on top equipment, Gabriele Mini’ excelled in these particular conditions. After setting the fastest time of his group, he was 5th out of the 66 participants in this European Championship. He had three fastest laps in his five Qualifying Heats and returned to 3rd on the starting grid. The positions froze quickly and despite all his efforts he could not attack his rivals, even though he finished less than three tenths of a second behind with another fastest lap in the race.
A positive event for the Championship
With the 24 points scored in France, Mini has made sure Parolin is not outdistanced and can continue the European competition with the highest hopes while many favourites have already fallen behind. The second round of the FIA Karting European Championship – OK will take place at Genk, in Belgium in less than a month.
Difficult weekend in Junior
Undaunted by the specifics of the Angerville circuit, Brando Badoer and Martinius Stenshorne experienced a complicated European opening round after a disappointing Qualifying. Their efforts to come back in the Qualifying Heats came up against various incidents and penalties that did not allow them to qualify for the Final.
Despite all their talent and constantly competitive equipment, the Parolin Racing team drivers have not been able to achieve results that matched up to their expectations during the first event of the WSK Euro Series at Sarno. The intensity of the races that took place at the foot of Vesuvius this weekend was accompanied by various setbacks that sometimes weighed heavily in the results. However, there were good performances to the credit of the Parolin drivers.
Constant presence at the front in 60 Mini
Always very well represented among the youngest drivers, the Parolin chassis chosen by many teams once again showed extremely convincing results. Five of them were in the top 10 in the Qualifying sessions before winning five victories with eight fastest laps in the Qualifying Heats. In the Prefinals as well as in the Final, the win and the fastest lap were achieved at the wheel of a Parolin chassis. The Italian brand ultimately placed six drivers in the top 10 of the provisional ranking of the WSK Euro Series, including the leader.
Return to the top five for Al Dhaheri
Keanu Al Azhari was the only official Parolin driver to score well in Qualifying, as he was 2nd by 5 thousandths from pole position. He continued with very good runs in the top three with two wins and took control on Saturday night. It became more complicated for Keanu in the final stages and he had to settle for 14th place, but still took 7th place in the overall standings. Rashid Al Dhaheri did not achieve the expected performance in Qualifying. From 21st, he made up part of his deficit in the heats. Penalised in the Prefinal, Rashid gave the maximum to make up no less than 18 places in a magnificent Final where he finished in 6th position.
The other Parolin Racing drivers had different setbacks, penalties or incidents on the track, which slowed down their progress. Valerio Rinicella lost all the benefit of his successful heats during a collision on the first lap of his Prefinal. Giovanni Trentin met with many hazards and penalties, which denied him access to the Final. Not always spared after his 33rd place in Qualifying, Maxens Verbrugge reached the Final and regained 10 places to finish 18th, his best result to date. Among the two new drivers of the team, the Australian Peter Bouzinelous made a remarkable debut. He made a superb comeback in the heats despite a penalty and was able to improve by taking another seven places in 6th position in his Prefinal. Penalised again for an unhooked spoiler in the Final, he unfortunately dropped to 29th. Finally, the Japanese driver Shimo Zhang took the measure of the category for his international debut in 60 Mini.
Increasing performance among the Juniors
Penalties and skirmishes also afflicted the three Parolin drivers in OK-Junior. They did however complete a very positive event in terms of performance. Martinius Stenshorne started with some very convincing heats as he was 13th on Saturday night. Sent back to 23rd in the Prefinal after a crash on the first lap, he managed to qualify 11th, achieving a magnificent rise of 12 places. His Final was interrupted after five laps by a collision.
Vinicius Tessaro was the best performer of the weekend despite somewhat disappointing heats. He recovered and reached the Final thanks to a remarkable nine-place rise to 11th in his Prefinal. The young Brazilian continued his momentum by finishing 18th with a gain of four positions, his best result of the season.
After an incredible dark series during the four heats in which he only crossed the finish line once, Jesse Carrasquero missed his qualification by less than 2 tenths of a second after a superb progression of 11 places which showed good potential for the upcoming events.
Nice effort from Mini’ to return to 6th in the OK Final.
Gabriele Mini’s meeting was marked by a concentration of bad luck. After setting the 7th fastest time in Qualifying, he gave up after a contact on the last lap of the first heat. He could have more easily compensated for this handicap if the small size of the category had not changed the rules. In this case, the order of starts for the following heats used the finishing order of the previous heat. Gabriele had to start from the back of the grid to take 12 places in the second heat. Things were not so good in the last heat as he was 26th after a penalty. The Sicilian regained control in the Prefinal, 17th with a gain of nine places, then in the Final where he finished in an unexpected 6th place after a further progression of 11 positions.
The next important event in OK and OK-Junior will take place in France, at the Angerville circuit for the first meeting of the FIA Karting European Championship from 19th to 21st April.