FIA Karting - Danilo Albanese and Freddie Slater are the new European Champions in Sarno

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The temperature rose a few more degrees at Sarno on Sunday as the Finals of the FIA Karting European Championship - KZ & KZ2 supported by got underway. Gradually set up during the Super Heats, the scenario unfolded without a hitch until the end of the Finals with Gustafsson (SWE) winning and Albanese (ITA) crowned in KZ, while Slater (GBR) took victory and the title in KZ2.

This time the thermometer reached 36° on the Circuito Internazionale Napoli in Sarno on a sunny Sunday at the foot of Mount Vesuvius. The competition continued at the sustained pace that characterises the KZ and KZ2 categories. The suspense accompanying the races finally confirmed most of the favourites by crowning the best competitors of the weekend. 

KZ: Gustafsson takes victory and Albanese the European title

Danilo Albanese (ITA-KR/IAME/LeCont) largely dominated the competition until he definitively took the lead in the Championship without really trying to get ahead of Viktor Gustafsson (SWE-CRG/TM Kart/LeCont) in either the Super Heat or the Final. The Swede came back well during the Qualifying Heats, but posed no threat to the Italian in his bid for the title. Despite being very fast, Senna van Walstijn (NLD-Sodi/TM Kart/LeCont) was no longer really in contention for the title after his 9th place in the Super Heat following a penalty for an incorrectly positioned front fairing. It was Jérémy Iglesias (FRA-CRG/TM Kart/LeCont) who was still top of the standings at the start of the Final despite a disappointing Super Heat. His two-point lead was far from sufficient in the face of Albanese's competitiveness. Albanese followed Gustafsson, who had started very well, closely throughout the Final, sometimes threatening, but he didn't need to take any unnecessary risks to achieve his goal.

Ideally placed 3rd at the start of the Final, Paolo Ippolito (ITA-KR/IAME/LeCont) could have protected his team-mate from a possible comeback by a rival, but he didn't need to do so. Van Walstijn set the fastest lap on his ascent from 9th to 4th position, but Iglesias finished 2nd in the Championship with his final 5th place. Gustafsson and Ippolito returned to the top five thanks to their performances. Matteo Vigano (ITA-Birel ART/TM Kart/LeCont) and Emilien Denner (FRA-Sodi/TM Kart/LeCont) were unable to repeat their excellent performances in Zuera in Sarno. 10th and 16th in the Italian Final, they finished 6th and 10th respectively in the Championship. Francesco Celenta (ITA-Parolin/TM Kart/LeCont) had the top five in his sights when he was involved in an eliminatory collision mid-race. Pedro Hiltbrand (ESP-Birel ART/TM Kart/LeCont) was well up in 4th position when a puncture forced him to retire.

Jérémy Iglesias remains leader of the KZ category of the FIA International Karting Ranking (IKR) ahead of Senna van Walstijn and Danilo Albanese.


Final 2023 FIA Karting European Championship - KZ standings

1- Danilo Albanese (ITA) - 126 points

2- Jérémy Iglesias (FRA) - 118 points

3- Senna Van Walstijn (NLD) - 110 points

4- Viktor Gustafsson (SWE) - 78 points

5- Paolo Ippolito (ITA) - 70 points


KZ team rankings after Sarno

1- CRG - 199 points

2- KR Motorsport - 196 points

3- Sodikart - 158 points

4- Birel ART Racing - 105 points

5- Parolin Motorsport - 87 points


Slater crowned at 14 in KZ2

Freddie Slater (GBR-Birel ART/TM Kart/LeCont) achieved a unique feat when he won the FIA Karting European Championship - KZ2 in his first season in a gearbox kart at the age of just 15. World Champion in 2020 and European Champion in 2021 in the Junior category, the British prodigy has a bright future in motorsport. Daniel Vasile (ROU-Birel ART/TM Kart/LeCont), aged 22, continued the best of his seven seasons in KZ2 by taking 2nd place in the Final and in the European standings. Cristian Bertuca (ITA-Birel ART/TM Kart/LeCont) left the OK category this year to devote himself entirely to KZ2. After a dazzling start to the season, he was unsuccessful in Zuera, but made up for it in Sarno. His 3rd place in the Final was a superb hat-trick of wins for the Birel ART Racing team and enabled him to finish 4th in the Championship.

Another young driver, 16-year-old Tomass Stolcermanis (LVA-Energy/TM Kart/LeCont) took 4th place in the Final and 3rd in the Championship, while at the same time occupying 4th position in the FIA Karting European Championship - OK before the final round. A long way off the pace in Spain, Paavo Tonteri (FIN-CRG/TM Kart/LeCont) bounced back well in Italy to take 5th place in the Final. Egor Nosov (IPK/TM Kart/LeCont) made a remarkable appearance at the top of the rankings, moving up 10 places to 6th place in the Final. Although Alex Powell (JAM-KR/IAME/LeCont) did not enjoy the success he had hoped for at the end of an event which finished in 24th place, he nevertheless finished 5th in the Championship.

Cristian Bertuca took 1st place across all categories in the FIA International Karting Ranking (IKR). Freddie Slater climbed 21 places to 11th and Tomass Stolcermanis made a spectacular 30-place jump to 43rd in KZ2.

Final 2023 FIA Karting European Championship - KZ2 standings

1- Freddie Slater (GBR) - 150 points

2- Daniel Vasile (ROU) - 105 points

3- Tomass Stolcermanis (LVA) - 87 points

4- Cristian Bertuca (ITA) - 84 points

5- Alex Powell (JAM) - 70 points


KZ2 team standings after Sarno

1- Birel ART Racing - 281 points

2- Prema Racing - 130 points

3- CPB Sport - 108 points

4- Energy Corse - 91 points

5- Modena Kart - 89 points


Next round at Cremona (ITA) from 27th to 30th July 2023

FIA Karting European Championship - OK & Junior - 4/4

FIA Karting Academy Trophy - 3/3


The results of the Sarno event can be found on the official FIA Karting Championship app for mobile devices and on the website.