WISBECH’S George Russell (pictured) made history on Sunday by becoming the first driver to win the KF3 European Championship two years running.
The 14-year-old karting sensation dominated both points-scoring races in the final round of the championships at the PF International circuit in Lincolnshire to complete a successful defence of the title.
With three wins from the four rounds of the series, and with each driver’s worst score discarded, Russell registered a maximum 75 points in the final standings – a whopping 27 points clear of Spaniard Alex Palou and Frenchman Dorian Boccolacci.
Although he had already confirmed his standing as favourite with a win at the first round of the championship in Varennes (France), Russell became victim of an errant driver in the second final scoring zero points. Not only was Russell under pressure to retain his title at his home circuit, there was no room for error and the weekend in Lincolnshire was far from plain sailing for the Forza Racing team.
Russell had to fight back after suffering severe tyre issues in the rain-hit qualifying session on Friday morning: “For some reason our tyres weren’t working and we were three seconds off the pace,” explained George. This placed him in a lowly 30th position after qualifying and he would have to start all of his five heats back in tenth place and on the more difficult outer side of the grid. Fortunately weather conditions changed from rain to sunshine and the team were then switched to slick tyres for the remainder of the weekend.
Top-five finishes in all five of Russell’s heats – including one win – put him seventh on the grid for the first of the two point-scoring finals. With home advantage on his side, Russell stormed into the lead in just five laps and promptly pulled away to beat Boccolacci by almost two seconds.
A delighted George said: “I had to put in a lot of good laps to pull away and build up a lead, I did so well that I was able to ease off towards the end and save my tyres for the second final.”
That win gave Russell pole position for the title decider, and after a heated fight with Croatia’s Martin Kodric in the early stages, George was again able to stamp his authority on the rest of the field.
“Kodric fought hard because he knew that if I got a bit of a lead, I’d be gone,” said George. “I managed to get ahead of him, and then he got caught up with the drivers behind, and that gave me the opportunity to pull away.”
That second win secured a second European title for Russell, and sets him up nicely to challenge later in the season for the other big prizes in junior karting, such as the CIK-FIA Karting Academy Trophy and the KF3 World Cup.
George added: “It feels amazing to win the title again, and I’m really happy to have done it at home in England too. Now we have to go on to try and win the KF3 World Cup at Zuera in Spain in September - we have an event there (in the WSK Euro Series) next month where we can try to get some testing and get ourselves ready.”
To keep track of one of Britain’s most promising motorsport talents, visit georgerussellracing.com.