By George – what a debut

KART racing prospect George Russell had mixed fortunes in his debut drive for the Italian-based Intrepid Driver Programm at the weekend.

The 12-year-old from Tydd St Giles, a student at Wisbech Grammar School, was at the Lake Garda circuit in Italy – and was the youngest starter in an entry of 104 drivers.

Showing good form in all his races, George and his team went into Sunday’s final hoping for a podium finish. But a starter fault with his kart on the grid effectively put him out of contention although he still finished in a highly creditable 10th place.

Watched by his parents Steve and Alison Russell, George produced three fastest laps in his five qualifying heats when finishing 6th, 12th, 7th, 2nd and 5th. However he was disqualified after taking a “short cut” to re-join the field in the rolling-up lap in his final race, when his engine was playing up.

That set-back dropped George to 28th place in the pre-final grid of 36 drivers, but in the 20-lap race he showed a lot of composure and skill to finish 7th.

“At that stage he was really hoping for a good finish in the final,” said Alison, “but once again on the grid when he pushed the button the kart didn’t start.

“It was so disappointing and it meant he had to start at the back 36th on the grid, but he still did really well to get through to 10th place.”

George, who had his 13th birthday yesterday, was driving against racers from all parts of the world in the 13-17 age group of the European K3 Winter Cup Series; his next drive for the team will again be in Italy next month.