Karting sensation Alex Powell hopes to rebound in FIA World Championship

Sport

Karting sensation Alex Powell hopes to rebound in FIA World Championship

BY SHERDON COWAN
Observer staff reporter
cowans@jamaicaobserver.com

Thursday, September 24, 2020

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Jamaica's young karting sensation Alex Powell is confident he can recover from his recent performance dip and come back stronger with hopes of producing a flawless showing at the FIA World Championship in November.

Though driving at his best, Powell's immense potential has not been reflected in his more recent performances, as he suffered a series of unfortunate events at the OK-Junior FIA Karting European Championship in Wackersdorf, Germany, two weeks ago and again at South Garda Karting in Italy over the weekend.

At the Prokart Raceland circuit in Germany, Powell, who opened the three-day event with a fast 48.381-second clocking to become the first driver from Jamaica or the Caribbean to claim pole position at a FIA championship, endured a number of setbacks ranging from engine failure, among others, leading up to and in the final. He eventually finished the final down the track in 24th position.

Meanwhile, his run in Italy also ended badly, after a broken rim while progressing through the field, denied him the opportunity of finishing higher than 15th.

However, with those events serving as a dress rehearsal of sorts for the November 5-8 FIA Karting World Championship in Portimao, Portugal, Powell believes those experiences will strengthen his resolve, as he looks ahead to the main event.

“If those unfortunate events had not happened, we could have had another top 10 finish, but you never know, sometimes things happen and it is out of your control. So hopefully we will have better race results in the future because two weeks ago we were on pole and the result wasn't what we wanted,” said the American-born Powell.

“So it would be great if I can continue or improve on that very first run of great speed and determination in Germany, for the next couple of races until the end of the year, so the work continues,” he told the Jamaica Observer from his Florida base on Tuesday.

Having placed himself in the reckoning in the junior category with his historic pole position achievement, Powell, 12, who was one of the youngest competitors at the European championship, has heightened expectations for future success.

While aware that some mechanical issues and other misfortunes that occur during races are beyond his AKM Racing team's control, Powell, who is still in his rookie season, said they will be doing everything in their power to ensure all goes well at the World Championships.

As such, Powell and his team will be visiting the track in Portugal for some practice runs to dot the i's and cross the t's, after which they will be back at South Garda Karting to fine-tune ahead of the World Championship test race late next month.

“We are starting to test from this week, so we are going to Portugal on Thursday and we will test all materials, engines and chassis from now, so we can try to have the upper hand with the best material for the World Championship. I am sure all the teams are preparing for that because it is the big one and the one you want to do well in,” Powell noted.

“I would also love to do well in that South Garda race because I am also representing Jamaica in that one. I am sure we will get everything sorted and do our best in that one to boost my confidence to go into the World Championship,” he added.

With his father John being a veteran rally driver and his cousin Asafa Powell, the sub-10 king and former World record holder in the 100m, young Powell's need for speed has earned him the nickname “Jamaican Rocket”.

It is only fitting that a driver with such a moniker looks the part and a renewed contract as the ambassador for SPARCO and a member of the Mercedes-AMG junior team, has ensured that Powell continues his push to realise his dream of joining the professional ranks.

In that vein, he knows how significant a win or podium finish at the World Championship would be.

“It was an honour when we got together and partnered with SPARCO. I just got a new suit from them and I also got a new lively (Kart design). So hopefully we can keep moving forward onwards and upwards and keep getting better and better results and hopefully a good result or even a win in the World Championship. That would be such a great achievement,” Powell stated.

“So I have high expectations for the World Championship and I know as long as I do my best anything can happen. You can't predict what will happen in a race, so if I do my best then that's the most that I could ask for,” he ended.


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