Alex Dunne completed his 2019 European OK-Junior Karting Championship campaign with another highly competitive performance at Le Mans, France, over the weekend of July 19th to 21st. Ireland’s top International Kart Racer once again showed great pace as he ran at the front throughout the event, to pick up another heat win and two more podium finishes, before being heartbreakingly pushed off the track on the last lap of the final. Despite his non-finish at Le Mans the Clonbullogue youngster still collected an impressive seventh place in the final European Championship standings.
The Le Mans weekend started well with Alex just over a tenth of a second off the fastest time in qualifying to give him a second row start for all five of his heats. Getting away strongly in his first race the Newbridge College student continued his strong form and was challenging for the top spot on lap two when the leader moved across on him taking both drivers out of the race and effectively ending Alex’s hopes of lifting the title, as the youngster explains. “I went into the weekend with the possibility of winning the Championship but I really needed to score as many points in qualifying as I could and start on the front two rows of the final to be in with a chance. The incident in heat one reduced my chances of scoring points during qualifying and meant a lower starting position for the final race leaving second place as the best I could achieve.”
Starting race two the Irish driver knew he needed a strong finish to make up for the opening heat and made short work of moving up to second place before taking the lead at half distance and holding on for his fifth heat win of the year. Race three took place on a very wet track and with Alex knowing he could not afford another non-finish, he took a steady approach to finish third, while a number of his rivals crashed out. Heat four saw Alex straight into the lead when the flag dropped, but he was caught and bumped down the order at half distance before fighting back strongly to finish a very close second.
Sunday mornings fifth heat saw Alex take the decision to start on used tyres, saving his last new set for the final. Initially this put him down the order as the drivers on new tyres battled to grab the remaining places in the final. Having run as low as eighth, Alex then drove a mature race to climb back to fourth and clinch twelfth on the grid for the final, a fantastic achievement considering his heat one non-finish.
With the final being almost double the length of the heats, Alex stayed out of trouble in the early laps, dropping back to fourteenth, before picking his rivals off one by one and tagging onto the back of the group fighting for fourth place going into the final three laps. As the Offaly youngster made his move on the final lap he was pushed off by an overly defensive move by his rival, ending his 2019 championship assault before the chequered flag.
Despite the disappointment of his non-finish in the final, Alex left the French round very happy with his progress across the season. A superb second place at round two, along with a tally of five heat wins among thirteen podium finishes, marked the Irish youngster as one of the strongest performers in the series and kept him in contention at the top of the championship standings right up till his exit from the Le Mans final.
Speaking after the completion of the European series Alex said “We had great pace once again this weekend and I was delighted to pick up another race win and three more podiums. I knew it was going to be difficult once I had the non-finish in race one, but my performances after that showed just what could have been with a little more luck. Crashing out of the final due to someone else’s mistake was disappointing but overall the weekend has left me feeling good about my chances for the remaining races this year including the World Championship.”
With the European Championship now complete Alex Dunne will turn his focus towards the build up to the OK-Junior World Championship which takes place in Alahärmä, Finland in early September.
Teenage Irish Karting sensation, Alex Dunne, continued to impress as he tackled round two of the European OK Junior Championship in Genk, Belgium, over the weekend of May 17th to 19th.
The Offaly youngster put together his strongest weekend yet, taking three wins from five heats before fighting his way to second in the final, to move to third in the championship standings as the series reaches its half way mark.
Racing at the Belgian track for the first time, Dunne was in contention from the start as he took fifth place in qualifying, from a field of over ninety drivers, to ensure he would start from the front row of the grid in all of his heats. A flying start to his first heat saw Alex move into the lead on lap one and then hold on to take a lights to flag victory.
At the start of heat two the Newbridge College student dropped back to fourth, but he soon reasserted himself and was back in the lead by half distance, from where he took a comfortable second victory. Heat three was one of the toughest for the Clonbullogue resident and having led initially he got bumped back down the order to third. Another determined performance saw him fight back to second but he ran out of time in the short nine lap heat and had to settle for the runner-up spot.
The fourth heat once again saw Alex get away in the lead group and he gradually picked up places, moving into second spot in the closing laps. light rain began to fall with two laps to go making conditions very tricky for the drivers, who were all on slick tyres. Alex had settled for getting safely home in second but a downpour during the final lap caught out the leader and most of the rest of the field, as Alex used all of his skill to keep his Kart on track and survived to take his third heat win of the day.
Going in to Sunday’s final heat Alex knew that a top six finish would be enough to get a front row start for the final. With many of his rivals pushing hard for final places, the thirteen year old drove a mature race, allowing his rivals to battle for the win while he picked up fifth to secure second on the grid for the final.
Having had an excellent set-up on his Tony Kart throughout the heats Alex went into the extended, nineteen lap final, full of confidence. A superb start saw the Irish driver sitting second for the first four laps before he made his move for the lead. Taking over at the front at the beginning of lap five, Alex then pulled out a comfortable advantage which he maintained for much of the race. As the laps counted down however Alex’s Kart set up, which had worked so well all weekend, left him unable to maintain his pace for the longer race distance and he lost the lead with just two laps to go.
At the flag the youngster was obviously disappointed at missing out on his first European Championship win but was still very happy with his weekends work. “I have to thank my team for giving me such a great Kart all weekend” said Alex after the final. “The set up we had enabled me to take three heat wins and a front row starting position for the final. I know now that working with the Tony Kart team my first win is not far away. We are in a great position in the championship now, so we’ll move on to the next round in Sweden and hopefully go one better and take the win.”
The next European Karting championship outing for Alex Dunne is in Kristianstad, Sweden, from May 30th to June 2nd.
Ireland’s only representative in the FIA European Karting Championship, Offaly based teenager Alex Dunne, achieved his best finish so far in the hugely competitive series at the opening round of the 2019 championship at Angerville, France over the weekend of April 19th -21st. Following a heat win and two more podium finishes Alex drove brilliantly in the final to climb from twelfth on the starting grid to seventh at the finish.
Racing in the OK Junior category, for the works Tony Kart team, the young Irishman continued his International Karting progress, with third place in Friday’s qualifying to ensure that he lined up on the front row of the grid for all of his heats.
The first of five nine lap heats, on Saturday morning, saw the Clonbullogue resident get his weekend off to a strong start as he took second place following a race long battle. His second outing was looking likely to produce a similar result as he again sat second, until a crash while challenging for the lead put him out of the race and left him needing some strong results in his remaining heats if he was to make the all important final.
Heat three saw the Newbridge College student back on top form as he took his second European Championship race win. Having led for the entire race distance and built a gap of over a second, Alex was able to ease off in the final couple of laps to take a comfortable victory. The Irish youngster backed his win up next time out, in the last of four heats on Saturday, with another podium finish, before a steady fourth place in Sunday morning’s last heat, saw him safely through to the decider.
A strong start to the final saw Alex making up places straight away as he avoided the first corner carnage to sit ninth. By lap two the Irish star had moved up to seventh and by the end of lap four he was sixth. Despite making up places early on, Alex was unable to maintain his progress through the highly competitive field over the remainder of the twenty one lap final and finished up a slightly disappointed seventh at the flag.
Speaking after the FIA European season opener Alex said “I’m really happy to have taken another race win and my best ever European Championship finish but it could have been even better. This championship is really tough as the best young Karters in the world are all here. Making up any places in the final is really tough as we are all so close in terms of performance, so I was delighted to make it from twelfth to seventh. I felt that I was driving well and team gave me a strong Kart but that one non-finish was disappointing as it just makes fighting for the podium so much harder. Overall we have to be happy with eighth in the championship as it gives us a good start to build on over the remaining three rounds.”
Alex Dunne will return to FIA European Karting Championship action in five weeks time in Genk, Belgium but his next outing is in the WSK Euro Series, once again in Angerville, next weekend.
Offaly based teenager Alex Dunne made an impressive start to the 2019 European Karting Championship at the Sarno circuit in southern Italy this weekend, as he took three wins from his four heats, fastest race lap and second in the Pre-Final. Unfortunately for the young Irish racer he was taken out in the final, bringing a premature end to his very positive weekend.
Friday’s qualifying saw Alex right on the pace as he continued to get used to his new Tony Kart team. On only his second event with the Italian outfit he finished fastest in Group 1 with second quickest time overall, to put him on the front row of the grid for all of his heats.
Friday’s first race saw the Clonbullogue resident start from pole and he was never headed as won by almost a second. For race two Alex sat second on the grid, behind the fastest driver from qualifying. Away from the lights the Irish driver was comfortable in second place and stayed there until lap three when he moved past to take a lead he would hold onto until the chequered flag.
Heat three saw Alex again leading from lights to flag, this time building up a huge winning margin by Karting standards of 2.5 seconds. Alex also initially led the fourth heat but on lap four he was overtaken for the first time all weekend and dropped to third. The Tony Kart driver was soon back to second and fighting for the top spot but a small mistake on lap eight, while right on the tail of the leader, saw him run off the track and drop to twentieth at the flag.
Dunne’s heat four finish meant a third row start for the Pre-Final. Once the lights changed to green the teenager once again showed his ability as he battled back to second by the flag to line up fourth for the final.
The final started well, with Alex running strongly at the tail of the lead group. As the leaders battled, the field began to close and Alex was caught by the leader of the chasing pack, who on closing the gap, immediately attempted an impossible overtaking manoeuvre, knocking the Irish driver out of the final.
Despite failing to finish the final Alex Dunne left the European Championship opener with his best ever position in the standings, as his points from the Heats and Pre-Final were enough to leave him seventh overall. Next up for the youngster is the CIK European Championship opening round at Angerville, France, on April 18th – 21st.
Racing in the Winter Cup in Garda, Italy, rising Irish Karting Star Alex Dunne had another very positive weekend as he builds towards his second season in the European Karting Championship. Having shown excellent pace throughout the event the teenager left the track with renewed confidence, despite failing to finish the final, where he was knocked out of the race while challenging for a podium position.
The Dublin born teenager who now lives in County Offaly had one of his strongest weekends of his Karting career so far, as he qualified on the front row of the grid for his four heats. Racing in a very competitive field, Alex started steadily in each of the qualifying races before battling his way up to second place in the first three races and then hitting the top spot in the final heat.
The Newbridge college students’ performances in the heats left him second of the almost ninety drivers taking part, giving him pole position for Super Heat two, the results of which would be added to the heat results to decide the final grid. Alex’s Super Heat started well, as he led the opening couple of laps, but it soon became obvious that he was struggling as he was constantly defending his position. Eventually the pressure told and one by one his rivals found a way past as he dropped to tenth place due to a down on power engine.
With a new motor installed for the final, Alex was looking strong again and was in the thick of the lead battle straight away. Initially up to fourth, the Clonbullogue youngster was pushed back to fifth on lap two but remained firmly in contention. As he lined up a move back to fourth place at the end of lap three, a coming together between the two drivers in front of him saw one spin across the road into his path, taking Alex out of the race.
Despite his non-finish Alex was delighted with the way the weekend went, saying “The weekend was really good right up until the final. I went well in qualifying and drove consistently well through the heats so there are lots of positives to take away from the event. The engine problem in the Super Heat dropped me back a bit for the final, but I was feeling really good and ready to move towards the front when I was unlucky to get caught up in someone else’s accident. We’ll be back here in less than a week for the second round of the Super Masters Series and I aim to be right back at the front once again.”
The opening round of the WSK Super Masters Series, at Adria in Italy, was a tough one for Irish Karting star Alex Dunne. Having been fastest in pre-event testing, his race weekend was almost ruined by mechanical issues and contact from his rivals, before a brilliant recovery drive nabbed him eighteenth place in the final.
Qualifying took place in the wet, meaning a change of Kart, and Alex was not as happy with the wet weather chassis as he had been with his normal one, leading to seventh fastest time for the Offaly teenager. The opening heat also took place on a wet but drying track and Alex performed well in the difficult conditions to climb as high as fourth before eventually finishing fifth. Similar conditions in heat two saw Alex again run as high as fourth, but towards the end of the heat he began to struggle for pace and dropped down to eighth at the flag. Alex’s drop off in performance was later explained when the team found that his chassis had broken, meaning a quick repair was required before the third heat.
Heat three was the turning point of the weekend for the Offaly racer as a non-finish, caused by being rammed from behind, interrupted his string of competitive performances and damaged his chances of a good starting position in the pre-final. The heat three non-finish meant Alex went into the final heat with an untried set -up on his Kart and despite initially making progress he once again dropped down the order as he adapted to the different feel of his chassis, eventually finishing fourteenth.
When the heat results were combined the Irish youngster was left in thirtieth place and with a lot of work to do from the eighth row of the grid in the pre-final. With his Kart now adapted to the conditions, a strong performance in the pre-final moved Alex up the order to ninth putting him safely into the all important final.
The last race of the weekend was the most competitive of all for the Clonbullogue native. A steady start was ruined on lap four when contact from behind put him off the road and down to twenty third position. A brilliant recovery drive, which included sixth fastest race lap, moved him back to thirteenth place on the road but a penalty for non conforming bodywork, caused by being hit from behind, dropped to eighteenth at the flag.
“That was a tough weekend” said Alex after the event. “We usually have good pace in the wet but I was struggling to keep my pace up in the opening two heats until we discovered that the chassis was broken. We got the Kart back in good shape by the pre-final and my strongest run was in the final. I had the pace of the front runners and I was confident I could have finished in the top five if I hadn’t been knocked off. It was an up and down weekend but my performance in the final was very positive so I can only look forward now to my next outing in two weeks time.”
Alex will be back in action in a non-championship race at Lake Garda in two weeks, before returning to Adria for round two of the WSK Super Masters Series the following weekend. To keep track of Alex’s progress see his web site www.alexdunneracing.com where you can find links to live streams and results from all of his races.