Dion scores Top 10 at WSK Euro Series Finals
12-year-old karting ace Dion Gowda repeated his Top 10 finishing form from Round 1 of the WSK Euro Series at South Garda Karting, Italy, to come home 21st and 10th in Sunday’s two Finals.
Due to the condensed nature of the race season this year, both Rounds 2 and 3 of the Euro Series were held together across five days of racing at the Lonato circuit. Dion capitalised on his strong pace to qualify 6th and 5th overall of 61 entries, having featured amongst his fellow CIK FIA Karting Championship front-runners all week long in the pre-race test sessions.
Looking back on a strong start to the weekend, Dion said:
“We struggled a little bit in practise, but I think as the week progressed, we found pace both within the kart and myself. I had high hopes for races; I really wanted to do well because [South] Garda is like a home track to me. It’s where it all began! Round 2’s Qualifying went better than I could have hoped with how tight the grid was. The same goes for Round 3; obviously 5th is not as good as a pole, but it was the best we could achieve.”
The first of six Heat races began on Thursday morning and it just so happened to be Dion’s worst result of the weekend, retiring from the race on the opening lap after coming together with another driver.
Not to be shaken by this experience, Dion fought to achieve two solid results in Heats 2 and 3; 10th and 7th respectively. Further analysis and changes to his kart would reveal Dion was fighting against issues that limited his pace in these opening rounds.
Come Friday, Dion capitalised on a second row starting position to score results that more accurately reflected his potential; 4th, 6th and 9th, qualifying the young Indian 5th for the all-important Round 3 PreFinal race event.
On the Heats, Dion said;
“We were starting in the front for the Heats, so it looked very promising. In terms of my own development, I don’t think we could have had a better set of Heats driving-wise. There were a few elements outside of my control, and I learned to accept that, and get on with my job which was driving the best I could no matter the conditions. We fought hard and managed to secure grid 13 for the Round 2 PreFinal, and grid 5 for Round 3. Thankfully the team worked their magic on the kart, so we looked very strong in the [PreFinal] warm-up. Game on!”
Sunday’s Finals proved very much to be a battle of attrition for Dion, as his Friday pace disadvantage re-emerged in the final sector of the South Garda circuit. Battling hard from 28th in Round 2’s Final, he gained several places on the opening lap before settling into a race-long fight for a Top 20 finish. He crossed the line 21st, having defended hard for the latter half of the race.
Basedo n Dion’s feedback, Ricky Flynn Motorsport made some final changes to his Kosmic kart’s setup, and the young driver was able to capitalise on a strong starting position in Round 3’s Final to place 4th at the end of the opening lap.
This Final proved to be far more eventful than the earlier race with 17 laps of aggressive overtakes, off-track incidents and fast rivals to contend with. Undeterred, Dion focused on producing a near-perfect drive to ensure a Top 10 finish amongst his OK Junior peers.
Reflectingon the final races of the weekend, Dion said:
“The PreFinals went as well as we could hope, I don’t think we could have done better. Given the pace differential to the front-runners, I had to accept that the win might not be possible. This was difficult, but we had to focus on my driving and performance more than positions. We raced well in Round 2’s Final, gaining a total of 8 positions. For Round 3, we were starting in a solid position to have a shot at the podium, but I was solely focused on my personal objectives for this race. We crossed the line P10, which ultimately was the best we could have done given my pace. Unfortunately, it was factors that were outside of my control which stopped me challenging at the front. On the plus side, I have learned so much from this weekend. It will pay off in future races, for sure.”
With all points from the three WSK Euro Series rounds totalled, Dion ranks 15th of over 70 entrants.
Focusing now on his CIK FIA World Karting Championship efforts, Dion heads to Portugal for the RGMMC Champions of the Future event at the Portimao Circuit on 29th October – 1st November, followed a week later by the FIA event itself at the very same venue.
Dion Gowda is supported by Strawberry Star Group, Ricky Flynn Motorsport, Kokoro Performance and Minus 273.