FIAKC Keanu Al-Azhari narrowly misses out on FIA Karting European Championship final



For immediate release
Monday, July 11th, 2022


CASTREZZATO (ITALY): Young Emirati kart racer Keanu Al-Azhari overcame weekend-long tyre issues to set some competitive lap times in his qualifying heats at the round of the FIA Karting European Championship on Italy’s Franciacorta circuit.

The Tony Kart Racing Team rookie missed out on Sunday afternoon’s Final by the narrowest of margins on a weekend where high temperatures and tyre wear were important factors.

Al-Azhari said: “I had a weekend with several ups and downs at the final round of the FIA Karting European Championship. I pushed myself for the best results but a lot of bad luck struck over the weekend. I had moments where I could prove I have gained speed and experience but a few incidents set us back in the heats.

“In the final two heats I had massive struggles with my tyres and that put me eight-tenths off the pace and unable to compete against the other drivers for decent positions. I tried to do my best to overcome this issue and managed a P9 result in the final heat but I was seven-tenths off the pace.

“After discussing the tyre issue and providing proof to the FIA and the tyre supplier I was given no choice but to continue with the set of tyres. It’s a real shame because I was not able to qualify for the final and was classified in 37th overall. I did my best and worked well with Tony Kart Racing and, when everything went our way, I was able to display my speed.”

Seventy-one racers eventually took to the circuit for the first of the practice sessions for the weekend’s heats. Al-Azhari complained of tyre issues during his first couple of stints and was classified in 19th and 22nd in his opening two practice heats. He moved up to 37th out of the 51 runners in his qualifying practice session with a hot lap of 47.277 seconds.

“Qualifying practice was much better,” said Keanu. “We used different tyres and they were more normal. Now we need to fine-tune the set-up during the heats since testing was wasted with bad tyres.”

The first series of 12-lap qualifying heats took place in very hot (31°C) and dry conditions on Friday afternoon. Twenty-four karts lined up in Al-Azhari’s opening heat and the Emirati raced impressively to surge through the field and reach the chequered flag in seventh place, 3.567 seconds behind the heat-winning Frenchman Enzo Deligny.

Al-Azhari took part in four further 12-lap heats on Saturday after a warm-up session. As the on-track temperature began to climb, he reached the chequered flag in 13th place in the opening 24-kart heat where the win again fell to Deligny. Unfortunately, he was later demoted to 22nd after incurring a time penalty.

An impressive run gave the rookie ninth position in the second of the heats and he followed that with 15th in the next race before concluding the day’s on-track action with ninth overall out of 23 starters in his final heat. With all the qualifying heats added together, the Emirati was classified in 35th from the 71 OK Senior runners who began the day.

Al-Azhari returned to action on Sunday and was entered in Super Heat A that would determine who went through to the final. Deligny crossed the line to take the win in a heat where Al-Azhari finished 21st from the 35 starters.

When the two Super Heats (A and B) were added together, Al-Azhari was classified in 37th position and missed out on the 36-kart Final by the narrowest of margins.

Keanu Al-Azhari will now prepare for the first round of the WSK Euro Series at Lonato on July 14th-17th.


For further information:
Firas Nimri, Tel: + 962 7 7728 2000, E-mail: firas@nimri.com.



Date issued: 11/07/2022

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