Off and running!
Powell eyes FIA European Karting Championship after positive startTuesday, May 18, 2021
BY SHERDON COWAN
Jamaica's young karting sensation Alex Powell enjoyed a positive start in the FIA European Karting Championship, placing fourth in the opening round of the OK-Junior category to continue his rich vein of form on the European circuit.
Powell's performance in Genk, Belgium, over the weekend followed a stellar run in the WSK Super Master Series in Italy recently, where he placed third overall in the three-race series, after notching his second career win in the opening race in La Conca in March.
Though a podium finish would have been more to his liking, Powell is content with the manner in which he left the gates, as he sits fourth on the leader board on 15 points.
Great Britain's Freddie Slater (34 points), Akshay Bohra (28 points) of Singapore and Belgium's Ean Eyckmans (26 points) currently occupy the top three positions.
“It was very challenging for myself and for the team because for the entire weekend it was between wet and dry and there were a lot of crashes because we were driving with dry tyres, so it was very difficult, but in the end we finished fourth which was quite good considering we started ninth in the final,” Powell told the Jamaica Observer shortly after enduring a 10-hour drive from Belgium back to his base in Italy.
“We came forward well in the final because at that point it was all about maintaining top speed and trying to stay on the track because we didn't know if it was going to rain at some point in the race. But we knew this was going to be a difficult weekend for us and we got through it with a good result,” he added.
With the Round One jitters now out the way, the American-born Powell and his team will use the gap week to assess their prospects a bit more clearly ahead of Round Two action in France next weekend. Third-round action will be hosted in Italy in June, after which the drivers will converge in Spain for the final leg of the championship in July. Last year, the KR Motorsport representative, in his rookie season, ended the European Championships in 10th position on the overall standings on 22 points.
“Last year I finished quite decent considering it was my first year in OKJ, but for sure this year I am looking for a better result and of course the aim is to win,” Powell declared.
He continued: “But it's a long championship and it is all about getting good results and staying consistent the whole way through because this is the really important one, the one that I want to win, not only for myself but for Jamaica and the Caribbean.
“So as long as we stay consistent in the championship I think we will be quite good and I think the tracks for the next three rounds should suit my driving style and the chassis a bit better. So I am looking for more positive results in the next three rounds.”
Despite being only 13 years old, Powell, says the burden of flying the Jamaican flag and by extension, the Caribbean, remains his biggest motivation to add to his early achievements in a nascent career.
“My main motivation is to be the first Caribbean driver to win the European Championship. I know Zane Maloney got close once or twice and he did really well in 2017, so I am trying to not only follow up his results but to better them and win the championship. I know it is going to be a very tough championship but I am motivated by the fact that I carry the weight of the Caribbean on my shoulder,” said Powell, the cousin of former World 100m record holder Asafa Powell.
That said, the young driver also expressed delight about his recent partnership with sports apparel giant Puma to fuel his charge in the hunt for the top European honours and beyond.
“They have done a lot in the past three weeks to a month and the racing suit is on the way, so I am very grateful and fortunate to partner with such a big brand and I am hopeful I can continue with them for the years to come. I also think it is good that they are looking more now to karting and I hope in the years to come more sponsors will come on-board because every sponsor counts,” Powell ended.
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