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Kart: a great protagonist of the opening of the European Championship
Reportagem: James Wharton

Highly anticipated by all the best hopefuls of international karting, the 2021 OK European Championship started in Genk, Belgium. James Wharton reached a high level of competitiveness, despite the difficult weather conditions that put the 72 drivers involved to the test. The Australian from the Ferrari Driver Academy was up to 7th in the Final, before being forced to drop to 14th after an unfortunate penalty.

James Wharton appeared more focused and ambitious than ever on the Genk circuit from 13th to 16th May. The Parolin Motorsport team had prepared perfectly for this first round of the European Championship, which remains one of the major events of the season. "The Free Practice session gave us a lot of technical information about tyre operation, the chassis and of course our TM Racing engines," said James.

Fast in wet and dry conditions

7th in his group and 26th after official Qualifying, James Wharton faced a day of intermittent showers on Saturday. "The track was dry for my first run, which I finished in 6th position and got faster and faster as the laps went by. For the following heats we had to use the rain tyres and I was able to be very comfortable in these conditions."

James kept a cool head and made no mistakes to finish in 4th and 7th place. Unfortunately, he was involved in a collision on the first lap of the last race on Sunday morning. In the aggregate of the four heats, which determined his place on the starting grid for the Final, the All Road Management driver found himself in 14th place.

Top six within reach

The track was perfectly dry when the drivers set off for the Final. As usual, James Wharton made an excellent start and began the race in a combative and effective manner. He finished the first lap in 9th place. Less than 10 laps later, he was already in 6th position. The opposition was strong, but Wharton stayed on course for several laps. Once again, the Australian was fast, setting similar times to the race leaders.

The fight in the chasing pack was to prove very tough, but he managed to maintain a magnificent 7th place under the chequered flag.

Unfortunately, his #122 Parolin-TM Racing kart was demoted to 14th position due to a penalty for a loose front fairing. "It's always hard to accept," James conceded, "but that's racing. I was able to prove my potential though and I'm looking forward to proving it further at the next race in France."

About James Wharton

James Wharton is a 15-year-old Australian kart driver, currently competing in his first international season in the KZ2 class alongside the OK class, a dual programme with the official Parolin Motorsport team.

James started racing karting in Australia at the age of seven. He then shone in the most important single-brand world challenges before making his debut in FIA Karting competition. 13th in the World Junior Championship in his first season in 2018, he also won the KA 100 Junior class in Las Vegas at the SKUSA SuperNationals.

In 2019, in his first full season in OK-Junior, he achieved top results: 9th in the European Championship, 4th in the Italian Championship and 2nd in the legendary Winter Cup in Lonato. He was again victorious at the SKUSA SuperNationals in Las Vegas in the X30-Junior category.

An official driver for the Parolin Motorsport Srl team, James is involved in the development and tuning of the equipment thanks to a very good rapport with Albino and Marco Parolin. Despite a 2020 disrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic, he has rapidly progressed in the category hierarchy and is aiming for a season rich in results.

Thanks to his competitiveness and fighting qualities, James Wharton was selected to join the prestigious Ferrari Driver Academy. Managed by All Road Management, Nicolas Todt's company, James Wharton will continue his career in karting in 2021, before taking the plunge into single-seater racing in the near future.


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