CONTROVERSY ROBS ALEX OF TOP 3
The final round of the RGMMC Rotax Euro Challenge took place at the Genk Circuit in Belgium. Going into the weekend Alex was 3rd overall in the standings after 3 strong opening performances, attributing to two podiums and a great haul of points.
Prior to the weekend however, Alex had sustained a broken finger in the run up to travelling to Belgium! Meaning preparations had to be made so Alex would be able to race on despite the obvious discomfort that would follow.
The young Cornish kart star put this to the back of his mind as he went into testing for the weekend. Despite the injury, Alex was still competitive, setting the 8th fastest time in Official Testing prior going into Qualifying.
Into Qualifying, Alex was able to make his final lap his best, sadly only enough for 15th in his group after struggling to get the kart dialled in for that one lap performance.
Alex was placed into Group A after the times was amassed together after both sessions. Alex would be starting his three heats from 13th on the grid each time.
The first heat saw Alex make progress up the field despite further kart struggles leaving him to use all his race craft to haul himself up the order to 8th position at the flag.
Heat 2 was another combative affair and a similar outcome for Alex, with the kart seemingly struggling in the current conditions. Alex finished the race in 9th position after being not able to quite fully carve his way through the tightly contested pack this time around.
The final heat saw the rain make an appearance, soddening the Belgium circuit. This seemed to provide an upturn in fortune for Alex, as he was on leaders pace once again, being one of only four drivers in the 1m14s lap time barrier, as he finished in 6th place at the end of the wet heat.
After the heats, the intermediate classification left Alex classified in 12th, despite his recovery drives in his heats. This would be the position he would start here for the Pre-Final.
The start of the Pre-Final can only be described as carnage. A massive amount of loading at the first corners resulted in 7 drivers being knocked clean off the circuit through massive contact, one of them being Alex. The drivers were forced to cut across part of the circuit in order to safely rejoin to avoid contact with the pack of karts. Upon rejoining the circuit, all drivers slowed to allow the pack to catch up, before falling back into their original positions before the first corner.
The effect of the first corner calamities meant Alex was forced to retire on lap 2 of the race, meaning a back of the grid start for the Grand Final.
However at the end of the race, a hugely controversial decision was made to excluded all the 7 drivers who were made to cut the track during the first corner melee. This was despite the fact that all the drivers waiting sufficiently to negate any advantage they may have got through having to cut the corner. The officials deemed it to be safer for the karts to turn around the wrong way around the circuit to rejoin in the place they left the track…
Echoes of the famous Ayrton Senna penalty from Suzuka 1989 were seen here to the outrage of 7 driver camps, feeling a massive injustice had been performed, ruining 6 championship contenders hard work over the Rotax European Championship season.
The decision sparked anger from all parties, as each driver would have to count an excluded round of 0 points to their championship score. Once more the drivers were not given the chance to appeal the decision or race in the Final. This will go down as one of the most debatable decisions in recent karting history.
"Very unfortunate end to a tough European championship!! ME and 6 other championship contenders got penalised and our championships ruined whilst the drivers who hit us off got no penalty! I was 3rd in the championship and now ended in 15th. It is a very disappointing end to the championship, but we will move onto the World Championships in KFJ determined to make ammends." - alex quinn
Alex’s next race will be the biggest single race of the season, the CIK-FIA KF-Junior World Championship race held at La Conca on the 27th September.
The World Championships was were Alex made his mark on the world stage in KFJ last season with a storming drive to 4th position in the Pre-Final, before mechanical gremlins thwarted his chances in the final resulting in retirement.
Alex will be sure to give it his all and go for the biggest prize in Junior Karting onboard his CRG KT2 equipment as a CRG Factory Driver.
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HEAT 1 - 8TH
HEAT 2 - 9TH
HEAT 3 - 6TH
PRE-FINAL - EXC
FINAL - DNS