Powell upbeat about chances in FIA Championship despite fifth-placed finish in FranceSunday, June 06, 2021
BY SHERDON COWAN
ALEX Powell may have gradually lost ground on the lead in the FIA Karting European Championship, but the young Jamaican sensation remains confident that he and his KR Motorsport team can rebound following an unfavourable result last weekend in Aunay-Les-Bois, France.
Powell, who placed fourth in the first leg in Genk, Belgium, entered the second round of the championship in good early season form, which he displayed with a series of consistent performances in the early rounds and seemed poised to cop a podium finish at the three-day event.
However, despite securing two wins, one second and two third-place finishes in the qualifying heats, which saw him starting the final in second position, Powell suffered power issues and as such was unable to replicate those performances, placing fifth overall in 48.208 in a field of 36 drivers.
Great Britain's Freddie Slater, who copped the first leg in Belgium, again took the flag in 48.150, ahead of Brazil's Matheus Ferreira (48.158) and Russia's Kirill Kutskov (48.309).
A total of 97 drivers initially graced the track for the opening rounds.
“The qualifying was consistent for the first two days and I could have been on pole [for the final] but, unfortunately, somebody went off the track and then came back on as I was on my fast lap,” Powell told the Jamaica Observer shortly after arriving back at his base in Italy.
“Fifth place wasn't what we wanted but it was still decent when you take the number of participants into consideration. So for me, it was a pretty strong and positive weekend. We struggled a bit in the final but there are a lot of positives to build on and carry over as we look ahead to the next one,” he added.
Though not ideal, the American-born Powell pointed out that his fifth position could still prove critical in the overall title fight at the end of the championships, as he believes current leader Slater can be fallible under pressure.
Powell, who is joint third on 35 points with Belgium's Ean Eyckmans, is 15 points off Slater at the summit on 50 points and a mere two points off second-place Ferreira on 37 points. Kutskov (28 points) completes the top five.
With just two rounds to go in Sarno, Italy and in Zuera, Spain on July 8-11 and July 22-25, respectively, Powell, 13, is cognisant that two good runs in those legs could make things interesting at the end.
“I am in it to win and there is still a chance that I can win the championship – which would be so amazing – so I know I need to do well in these last two rounds to get the maximum points.
“The leader is not too far ahead and things can become even more interesting at some point. So, I will be pushing absolute limits in the next round to try and grab enough points to get even closer to the lead,” Powell noted.
However, in order for that to happen, Powell and his team will have to figure out what went wrong in France and make the necessary adjustments to have both driver and kart perform at their optimum.
“I didn't have that raw speed in the final that I had in the heats to make an impact on the podium finishes so we will be pushing harder to resolve that so that we can have a much stronger performance in the next final, because you could win all the heats and what not, but if things are not in place for the final then it would amount to nothing. So, we will be looking at a few things,” he shared.
Fortunately for Powell, he will have a DKM race in Germany this weekend and WSK Euro Series next weekend to fine-tune preparations both on and off the track ahead of the crucial FIA third round.
“Those will be interesting events because they will be on different tyres than what we race with in the FIA championship, so it is going to be a completely different challenge and we will use it to test engines, among other things, ahead of Sarno, and then the mental and physical work continues off track as well,” the young driver ended.
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