Motorsport News - Karting
Russell guns for second European kart title
14th July 2012
George Russell will fly the flag for Britain next weekend (July 19-22) as he attempts to become European junior karting champion for the second year in a row.
The 14-year-old from Wisbech heads to his home circuit - the PF International track near Grantham in Lincolnshire - ranked second in the CIK-FIA European KF3 Championship after the first event of the two-round series in France back in April. There Russell won the first of the two races, but failed to score after a first-lap pile-up in the second event, dropping him 13 points behind Spain's Alex Palou.
However, there are 50 points up for grabs at PF International next week - a track that Russell knows well from his formative years in domestic karting. What's more, as each driver counts his best three scores from four finals, Russell can discard his no-score from the second race at the Varennes circuit, putting him right back in the hunt.
"We're still in with a chance, and consistency will be the key," says George, who will have to negotiate six heat races and be ranked in the top 34 out of 117 drivers to qualify for the two point-scoring finals. "It's not going to be about pushing hard to win the finals - we've just got to make sure we're there or thereabouts in each race and stay ahead of our main rivals."
Russell conducted pre-event testing at PF International on his factory Intrepid kart last Thursday (July 12), running through several different tyre options ahead of race weekend. The PFi circuit was altered last year, with a new loop featuring an underpass/flyover section as the track turns back on itself, and Russell says the extra section has had an impact on how he sets up his kart for racing.
"After you go under, there's a very long uphill left-hander before you go over, and that puts a lot of strain on the chassis and the tyres, which we have to consider in the set-up," George explains. "We tried three different compounds of used Vega tyres in the test, and we were only a tenth of a second per lap off some of our rivals on new tyres, so we're optimistic for the race weekend."
Russell comes into the European final on the back of similar success in another major international championship, the CIK Karting Academy Trophy. In the opening round in the Portuguese city of Braga last weekend (July 6-8), Russell dominated proceedings, winning all his heat races and the first final before a mechanical problem let him down in the second final.
"We were about to start the second race from pole position and the starter motor packed up," recalls George, who still stands fourth in the Academy table with two weekends of racing to go. "The clutch was just spinning around, so we ended up whacking the starter with a hammer and it made contact with the clutch. By that time we were half a lap down, though, and we could only finish 16th. It was still a good weekend for us with a win and some really good pace right from the start."
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