Powell eyes big improvement as karting World Championship beckonsFriday, October 08, 2021
BY SHERDON COWAN
Though a sixth-place finish in the second round of the WSK Open Cup represents a considerable step up from his previous performance, Jamaica's karting sensation Alex Powell believes significant improvements are still needed if he is to challenge for the coveted FIA Karting World Championship title in three weeks.
In fact, unlike previous races where more focus was placed on how to improve the kart, Powell is hoping to use the time on hand to also engage more mental training as well.
Powell, who placed 13th in the WSK Open Cup first round on his return to competitive action from a near seven-week break, said he is aware that mental training increases his ability to concentrate and could also improve his reaction time. But above all, mental training improves his awareness of his abilities.
“There is some mental pressure, especially as the season comes to an end because obviously you want to perform better to end the season on a high,” the American-born driver told the Jamaica Observer from his base in Italy.
“When you win a race that's big boost to your confidence level, but in order to do that you have to have a clear mind, so when you have a bad weekend you have two days to reset and come again so you can perform at your best. That is what I am currently aiming to do,” he added.
Where the kart is concerned, Powell pointed out that like it was for the first round in Lonato, the pace was not what he expected for the 12-lap final at Adria Karting Raceway over the weekend.
As a result of that, the Kart Republic representative said he and his team will be exploring all options ahead of the October 28-31 World Championships in Campillos, Spain. Approximately 112 drivers have been entered in Powell's OK-Junior category to vie for the coveted title.
“Of course, we have been trying to test different things with the chassis and there is the possibility that we can change from a KR1 to a KR2, same team, but different tubing in the chassis.
“So we would want to test that as well to see if we find any pace in that and the time to try would be the weekend before the World Championships because it is definitely important to have these test races so we can maximise when the big races come around. So it will be a two or three-day test so that when we arrive for the World Championship we know what is what and we take it from there,” Powell reasoned.
Reflecting on his performance over the weekend, Powell, who had second- and third-place finishes in the heats and pre-final, rued the missed opportunity to carry that form into the final. He started the final in third position but faded into sixth.
“It was a lot better than we did in Lonato, but still not quite at the level that we needed to be at, especially with the World Championship coming up,” he noted.
“Because of a crash which caused a two-hour delay to the start of the final, we didn't want to try and go for a risk, a lot of other people took risks and we weren't willing to do that.
“But looking back at it maybe we should have to be more ambitious in terms of strategy but we decided to be more conservative and unfortunately that didn't work out for the first four or five laps and I think that is where we lost the race,” Powell shared.
Still, the 14-year-old and his Kart Republic team is intent on making amends, as they hunt what would be a historic podium finish for Jamaica at the World Championship.
“It [the sixth-place finish] was a step forward but we knew that we could have improved the strategy and I also need to improve myself mentally and learning more things about the chassis,” said Powell.
“So as a team, we will be looking at what we can do better. There is a preparation race, Champions of the Future, before the World Championship, so we will be in Spain for about three weeks to test and then contest the prep race.
“We are going there to win. We know we could have done better so we will learn from that and try not to make that mistake again at the World Championship,” he ended.