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.