The first round of the FIA Karting European OK and Junior Championship, held at Genk from 13th to 16th May 2021, was the scene of intense sporting clashes. The changeable weather conditions during the Saturday heats were particularly difficult for the Parolin Motorsport drivers to cope with, despite the proven potential of the Parolin/TM Racing packages. James Wharton showed excellent competitiveness in OK, while Rashid Al Dhaheri and Enzo Deligny returned to the Final top 10 in OK-Junior.
“This second competition in Belgium was rather tough”, said Marco Parolin. “But thanks to the performance of our equipment and the competitiveness of our drivers, the balance of this beginning of the European Championship remains interesting. We are looking forward to meeting again in France in less than two weeks, on the Aunay-les-Bois circuit, to confirm our very high potential. In OK, James Wharton’s overall performance was very satisfactory and Alfio Spina’s debut in our colours was very promising. In OK-Junior, Rashid Al Dhaheri made a great comeback from his 25th in Qualifying by finishing 6th, while Enzo Deligny followed him in the top 10. Anatoly Khavalkin and Maksim Orlov should soon be able to get the results their talent deserves. We are also sorry that Guillaume Bouzar had so many setbacks during this meeting.”
Wharton on the rise
Young Australian driver James Wharton put in a remarkable performance in the OK category in a difficult situation. In the stormy weather on Saturday, he progressed in each heat with great determination. It is a pity that the last heat on Sunday morning did not enable him to continue his climb beyond 14th position. He made an excellent start in the Final and fought his way into the top five. He crossed the finish line in 7th position, a gain of seven places, before being demoted by a spoiler penalty.
Alfio Spina, a newcomer to the team, was quick to appreciate how his Parolin/TM Racing machine worked. He impressed with his 18-position gain during the heats, but an incident eliminated him from the fight at the start of the Final. Jesse Alejandro Carrasquedo Parada showed his speed qualities with a top five in the third heat, but he lacked the consistency to continue to the Final. Arnur Shabdar had a tough challenge and still needs to get used to this level.
Al Dhaheri and Deligny at the forefront of the Junior fight
Enzo Deligny confirmed his talent against the clock by taking 10th position in the Qualifying Practice. The heats were less favourable to him, in particular when he tried a risky gamble with the choice of tyres. Meanwhile, Rashid Al Dhaheri scored three top three finishes and made up 11 places in the heats. Both drivers made a good start in the Final, with Rashid quickly finding himself in a battle for the top five. Enzo joined him before the halfway point and they both maintained a good pace until the finish line despite the intensity of the battles, regaining eight places each. Al Dhaheri finished in 6th position while Deligny was 9th.
Anatoly Khavalkin had started well with his 13th place in Timed Practice, then his 5th position in the first heat. Unfortunately, he had to retire three times and was severely downgraded in the ranking. Maksim Orlov resisted adversity better, but his distant 52nd time did not allow him to reach the Final. Shimo Zhang also lost ground in the heats, while Guillaume Bouzar had the worst weekend of his career.