Powell's return in WSK Open Cup marred by pace issue; focus now on FIA World ChampsSunday, September 26, 2021
BY SHERDON COWAN
A 13th-placed finish in the first round of the WSK Open Cup was not what Alex Powell had hoped for on his return to competitive action, but the young Jamaican karting sensation was somewhat at ease, considering he was coming off a near seven-week break.
In fact, Powell, who tends to grade himself hard on performances, regarded this one as a proverbial pipe-opener in his build-up to the more prestigious FIA Karting World Championship now scheduled for October 28-31 in Campillos, Spain.
The American-born Powell was among the 250 drivers from 50 countries who graced the South Garda Karting circuit in Lonato, Italy, for the recently concluded WSK Open Cup first round.
As such, all the main protagonists of the season were on hand to ensure some amount of excitement for an international-level season's finale in the four categories — MINI, OK-Junior, OK and KZ2.
Powell's OKJ category was won by American Luis James Egozi in a post-to-post effort ahead of his Tony Kart Racing teammate Harley Keeble of Great Britain, with United Arab Emirates's Rashid Al Dhaheri in third.
“The break was quite nice and relaxing, especially after the stacked season we had earlier on, but I also used the time to work on physical fitness and mental preparation as well. But it was a difficult weekend on return to competition for me, as we again struggled for raw pace when it mattered most.
“The speed was really good in practice. All the sessions, we were there or thereabouts in terms of readiness — whether it was wet or dry conditions — so it was looking positive until the final on Sunday. Things just didn't go as we expected as we were lacking in pace,” Powell told the Jamaica Observer from his base in Italy.
“So it was very confusing but I did what I could with what I had in the situation. I came forward pretty decently from 20th to 13th and I was lucky not to hit anybody too hard. So for what it is worth, it was a good run,” he added.
Powell, who also celebrated his 14th birthday on Saturday during competition, pointed out that work has already started to resolve issues with the chassis, as their focus shifted to the second round scheduled for September 29 to October 3 in Adria, Spain.
“It wasn't the best birthday, racing wise, given the results but I'm still grateful; and we continue to work on improving all areas of our race. We are still not sure what caused the lack of speed so we are definitely going to look into that for the next race because it was definitely a big problem,” he shared.
“We did some testing on Wednesday to practise for the second round, so we are working really hard and close with the engineers because we are definitely looking for our feet again. The aim is to get a good result to start back the second half of the season but for that to happen we definitely have to find out what the issue was, because we were quick in practice but lacked pace in the race,” he reiterated.
And while the WSK Final Cup grand finale set to take place in Adria on November 18-21 is also on Powell's radar, his main target is the FIA World Championship, which was initially set to be held in Brazil but was moved to Spain due to concerns associated with the novel coronavirus pandemic.
“That [World Championship] is obviously the one to win so now that I have whetted my feet from the break, we know the next few races will be more important.
“So yes, we didn't get the results we wanted in the first round but it is what it is. We can't change the pastbut we can use it to improve as we go forward — and we know what we need to work on for the rest of the year,” Powell ended.