FIA Cross Car Academy Trophy Battle Heats Up In Prerov

  • Victory for Spanish driver Diego Gonzalez Martinez opens up the title fight at the halfway point of the season
  • Czech newcomer Amalie Zidkova becomes the first female driver in the Academy Trophy for 2023 and throws down the gauntlet to the established stars
  • Emilien Allart of Belgium retains the championship lead with his third consecutive podium

The third season of the FIA Cross Car Academy Trophy crossed the halfway point with an all-action encounter on the fabled ‘mammoth valley’ of Prerov in the Czech Republic this weekend (August 26-27).

Open to drivers aged between 13 and 16 years, who compete in a fleet of identical LifeLive TN5 buggies that are supported the expert Belgian team, the FIA Cross Car Academy Trophy is the first step on the ladder to success in rally, rallycross and autocross competition.

With two rounds gone, the championship leader coming in to the Czech weekend was Emilien Allart. Right behind the young Belgian in the points standings, however, were Italian driver Matteo Bernini and Allart’s fellow countrymen Jordan Genten, Lucas Cartelle and Marius Debuisson together with Spaniard Diego Gonzalez Martinez.

The established front-runners were joined at the top of the timesheets by a newcomer to the series, Czech racer Amalie Zidkova. As the first female driver in the 2023 season and in front of a huge and passionate home crowd, all eyes were on the youngster on the opening day but she swept aside any opening day nerves to end the first round of heats in sixth place among the 11 drivers.

An overnight storm of epic proportions caused the tented village around the Cross Car Academy to collapse amid much damage in the Prerov paddock, which delayed the resumption of racing on Sunday morning. When the action got underway, the first of the Heat 2 races was won by an untroubled Genten.

In the second half of the heat, Gonzalez Martinez got away cleanly while battling Belgians Allart and Debuisson found themselves under attack from Zidkova after she shot away from her second row starting position.

Czech hopes were dashed, however, when the valiant Zidkova was pushed out wide at the end of the second lap. Pressing on hard to make up for lost ground, she then landed awkwardly on Prerov’s celebrated ‘mammoth’ jump and found herself pitched into a lurid barrel roll.

The race restarted without Zidkova, Debuisson slowing almost immediately and leaving Gonzalez Martinez and Allart to race cleanly to the finish.

The third and final round of heats began with Gonzalez Martinez locking horns with a Belgian – this time Genten – while the returning Zidkova delivered a tigering drive in her rebuilt car. After passing Germany’s Bryan Neumayer, she became embroiled in a furious battle with Bernini and Argentinean driver Juan Manuel Grigera which ended by passing both drivers on the same plunge over ‘mammoth’ which had earlier pitched her off the road.

As the tumultuous Czech applause died down, the second half of the field got their third heat underway with Allart pulling ahead of Cartelle and staying there to the finish.

All of this excitement saw Allart at the top of the intermediate table at the end of the heats, followed by Genten and Martinez Gonzalez.

After keeping his nose clean throughout the day, fifth place was held by Monegasque racer Tomas Pregliasco while Zidkova’s heroics catapulted her from tenth to sixth. The only driver not to make the cut for the final was the unlucky Neumayer.

The 10-car grid lined up for the FInal and once again it was Gonzalez Martinez who streaked off the line into a confidently-held lead. Behind him the battle of the Belgians saw Genten finish ahead of Allart and Cartelle, while hard on their heels was Zidkova, who passed Pregliasco and was followed through by Bernini and Grigera.

“I love this circuit,” said a delighted Gonzalez Martinez after claiming victory. “It’s like a crazy rollercoaster. I had a good feeling from the first laps and I worked hard to try and get better in every session. I shall remember this weekend very happily.”

The FIA Cross Car Academy Trophy continues at Maggiora in Italy on September 23-24.


FIA Cross Car Academy Trophy, Round 3

Prerov, Czech Republic


1            Diego Gonzalez Martinez       ESP                     LifeLive TN5                   5m 14.496s

2            Jordan Genten                                          BEL                     LifeLive TN5                    +0.555s

3            Emilien Allart                              BEL                     LifeLive TN5                   +1.139s

4            Lucas Cartelle                             BEL                     LifeLive TN5                   +5.417s

5            Amalie Zidkova                           CZE                     LifeLive TN5                   +9.231s

6            Matteo Bernini                           ITA                      LifeLive TN5                   +9.649s

7            Juan Manuel Grigera                ARG                    LifeLive TN5                   +10.606s

8            Tomas Pregliasco                       MCO                  LifeLive TN5                   +24.419s

9            Alexander Karim Mancusi      ITA                      LifeLive TN5                   -7 laps

10         Marius Debuisson                     BEL                     LifeLive TN5                   -7 laps

11         Bryan Neumayer                        DEU                    LifeLive TN5                   DNS


Points after Round 2 of 5


1            Emilien Allart                              BEL                     97 points

2            Diego Gonzalez Martinez       ESP                     77

3            Lucas Cartelle                             BEL                     76

4            Jordan Genten                                          BEL                     76

5            Matteo Bernini                           ITA                      72

6            Juan Manuel Grigera                ARG                    53

7            Tomas Pregliasco                       MCO                  51

8            Etan Pepujol                                FRA                     50

9            Marius Debuisson                     BEL                     49

10         Alexander Karim Mancusi      ITA                      43

11         Bryan Neumeyer                        DEU                    29