Parolin Racing Kart caused a sensation in Zuera with the remarkable competitiveness of its official karts. Rinicella’s pole position in OK-Junior was like a thunderbolt in the Aragonese desert, and the rest of the competition confirmed the Italian brand’s leading potential. The many ups and downs of a very eventful competition then turned the tables, but Rinicella finished 6th in the Final, while Morgatto and Sääskilahti deserved to be congratulated for their formidable comeback in the OK heats.
“We have a lot to be happy about at the start of the European Championship,” said Marco Parolin. “It was a tough competition and there was no shortage of disappointments in the on-track clashes. However, Rinicella’s rise to prominence is a sure sign. He confirmed that his pole position was not due to luck by staying in the top three in the Junior heats. Trentino confirmed our excellent competitiveness with a solid run in the category. In OK, our drivers were not able to confirm in Qualifying the performances they were capable of during Free Practice. Despite this unfavourable starting situation, the fact that Morgatto and Sääskilahti were able to gain more than 20 places each and qualify for the Final is a very good thing for the team. Our objective is to learn from this event and to approach the Sarno meeting with greater ambitions.”
The revelation of Rinicella in OK-Junior
The young Italian driver had already made a name for himself in Champions of the Future, but he took another step forward during the first round of the European Junior Championship. Thanks to good management of the Qualifying session, he was able to show the speed of his Parolin-TM Racing kart by taking pole position with a lead of a tenth. He followed up with four good heats, two wins and two 2nd places. He crashed to 15th at the beginning of his last heat, but managed to regain eight places in four laps. The battle was fierce during the 15 laps of the feature race. Rinicella fought first in the top three, led the race for three laps before conceding a little bit of ground afterwards. His 6th position at the finish and in the provisional standings gives him great opportunities for the rest of the season.
Also fast during Qualifying, Giovanni Trentin has also made good progress since Champions of the Future. After consistent heats, he crossed the finish line in 13th place before dropping four places after a penalty for leaving the lane at the start. Maxwell Dodds was well on his way up from his modest 36th Qualifying position, but had to interrupt his run after the fourth heat. Chilean Nicolas Ambiado was discovering the Junior category after a few European races in 60 Mini in previous years and was completing a strong apprenticeship at European level.
Wharton out, Morgatto and Sääskilahti take over
James Wharton’s 17th fastest time in Qualifying gave the Australian hope of a comeback during the heats. Unfortunately, two unfavourable results out of four races prevented him from reaching the Final. Hugo Sasse also narrowly missed out on the Final, which was decided by an unhooked spoiler penalty.
Matheus Morgatto’s chances looked slim with his 42nd position in Qualifying. However, the Brazilian perfectly exploited the potential of his machine to regain 22 places during the extremely competitive heats and reached 21st place in the Final with a great fighting spirit. The Finnish driver Henri Sääskilahti had a similar scenario, as he brilliantly negotiated his heats in the second half of the field and climbed from 56th to 32nd position in this difficult exercise. Unfortunately, he was forced to retire in the Final.