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Kart: penalties deny James Wharton a happier ending
Reportagem: James Wharton

The FIA Karting European Championship in the KZ2 category came to an end at the Adria International Circuit in north-eastern Italy on the weekend of 15th August. James Wharton wanted to use this event to increase his points tally in the overall standings and end this high-level competition on a positive note. Unfortunately, the young Australian hopeful from the Ferrari Driver Academy experienced a series of setbacks, which did not allow him to confirm his performances during the meeting.

James Wharton, who has been competing in both OK and KZ2, the category using gearbox engines, is continuing to gain as much experience as possible, which will be very useful when he makes his debut in a single-seater very soon. Mostly composed of drivers who are used to this type of event, the KZ2 field remains very difficult to break in to. Each driver defends his position very fiercely which leads to battles with no respite. In this context, James Wharton's competitiveness and speed could have allowed him to stand out, but too many hazards complicated the strategy in Adria with the Parolin Motorsport team.

A series of unfortunate incidents

"The Free Practice was really positive," said James. "We found some really good chassis solutions and the work with our engine builder on the TM Racing engines meant I got faster and faster as the sessions went on. I was still 6th in my group in the last test session, but Qualifying put us in a difficult position. With the race tyres I didn't have the same feeling. I lost more than three tenths per lap in just a few hours! Many drivers and teams complained about the inconsistency of the tyres during the weekend. To be 16th in my group and 48th out of 81 in the standings was really not what I was hoping for."

The Ferrari Driver Academy driver, who is known for his excellent starts and his ability to make great comebacks, remained focused first on his goal of making the 36 finalists, and then continuing his progress to score more Championship points two months after his top 10 finish in the European Championship opener in Germany.

"After gaining five places in the first race, the trouble started when the stewards decided to penalise no less than 10 drivers at the start, claiming that we had moved before the lights went out. In the next two races I gained seven and then six places and I was still hoping to reach the Final. Unfortunately, I was penalised again in the last heat due to an unfortunate race incident. A sportsman has to accept these decisions, but I am obviously disappointed with this end of the Championship where I could not defend my chances until the end of the race. The lap times I achieved on Saturday afternoon were very encouraging. I am now looking forward to taking revenge in the KZ2 International Super Cup in early September at Kristianstad in Sweden."

About James Wharton

James Wharton is a 15-year-old Australian kart driver, currently competing in his first international season in the KZ2 class alongside the OK class, a dual programme with the official Parolin Motorsport team.

James started racing karting in Australia at the age of seven. He then shone in the most important single-brand world challenges before making his debut in FIA Karting competition. 13th in the World Junior Championship in his first season in 2018, he also won the KA 100 Junior class in Las Vegas at the SKUSA SuperNationals.

In 2019, in his first full season in OK-Junior, he achieved top results: 9th in the European Championship, 4th in the Italian Championship and 2nd in the legendary Winter Cup in Lonato. He was again victorious at the SKUSA SuperNationals in Las Vegas in the X30-Junior category.

An official driver for the Parolin Motorsport Srl team, James is involved in the development and tuning of the equipment thanks to a very good rapport with Albino and Marco Parolin. Despite a 2020 disrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic, he has rapidly progressed in the category hierarchy and is aiming for a season rich in results.

Thanks to his competitiveness and fighting qualities, James Wharton was selected to join the prestigious Ferrari Driver Academy. Managed by All Road Management, Nicolas Todt's company, James Wharton will continue his career in karting in 2021, before taking the plunge into single-seater racing in the near future.


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