Following last weekends’ warm up event at the Kartódromo Internacional do Algarve in Portimao, Portugal, Alex Dunne returns to the same venue this weekend for the biggest race of his career so far, where he will be Ireland’s only representative at the FIA Karting World Championship.
The Portimao event sees the fourteen year old from County Offaly tackle his first Senior Karting World Championship. Racing in the ‘OK’ Category, for drivers from fourteen years old and upwards, Alex will drive for the works Energy Kart team, as their sole senior driver at World Championship level, against an experienced field of eighty drivers from twenty six countries.
Last weekends warm up event saw Alex working with the Energy Kart team for the first time at a race weekend and both he and the team treated it as testing and preparation for the World Championship. Having started off with a strong qualifying performance, the team then worked through a variety of chassis settings in order to find the optimum set up for this weekend. Despite not running the same settings two races in a row, the Clonbullogue teenager still managed a string of good results to qualify tenth for the pre-final.
Problems in the pre-final, which would decide the grid for the final, dropped Alex down the order and left him with a major task, as he would start thirtieth for the deciding race. Having made a good start the Irish driver then lost valuable track time when he went off on the first lap, avoiding an incident between two other drivers, damaged his Kart and had to retire from the race.
Speaking about his preparations for the World Championship, Alex was happy with the progress made on his first trip to the Portuguese track. “Looking at the results it seemed like an up and down weekend, but it was actually very positive as we were trying loads of different things on the Kart to see what would and would not work. I learned loads and I now have a very good idea of which way to go on set-up for this weekend.
We had good speed in last Friday’s qualifying and the first heat, and the set-up we initially used, along with the changes we tried, will make me a strong contender this weekend. The atmosphere in the team is really good and I know that everything is now in place to have a really good run this weekend and I’m going back to Portimao aiming to win the World title.”
Alex Dunne’s progress through the three days of the World Championship can be followed on the FIA Karting website and social media channels, as well as through the event livestream on Saturday and Sunday. For more information on Alex and links to the event timing and livestream see www.alexdunneracing.com.
You can follow Alex’s progress through four days of Champions of the Future competition at the Kartódromo Internacional do Algarve, in Portimao, Portugal.
The event begins with practice on Thursday followed by qualifying and the first of four heats on Friday. The remaining three heats run on Saturday with the last chance race, pre-final and final on Sunday.
LIVE TIMING – Friday, Saturday & Sunday
LIVESTREAM – Saturday & Sunday
RESULTS – Friday, Saturday & Sunday
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Irish Kart Racing star Alex Dunne, from Clonbullogue, will be back in action over the coming weeks as he tackles two events over two weekends at Portimao, the 2020 Portuguese Formula One Grand Prix venue, to finish off his shortened 2020 season.
Ireland’s only International Karting competitor will tackle the ‘OK’ World Championship from November 5th to 8th at the Algarve track, following a warm-up ‘Champions of the Future’ event the previous weekend at the same venue. The former European Junior Karting front runner is looking to use the Portuguese double header to get back to the front of the pack as he completes his first year in senior Karting competition.
The shortened 2020 season has seen the Offaly teenager compete in just two European Championship events, with strong showings in both. Despite his limited running, Alex’s performances led to him being offered a drive with the Energy Kart team for the two end of season races. His first experience of the team came at a recent, very successful, test in Italy and he will now line up as an Energy Kart factory driver at the Future Stars and World Championship events.
2020 is Dunne’s first year in Senior racing and at just fourteen years old he will be one of the youngest drivers competing in the ‘OK’ World Championship. Senior racing classes are contested by drivers from fourteen years old and upwards and many of the drivers the Irish racer will compete against are much older, full time professional Kart racers, with years of experience under their belts.
Alex has previously raced against many of this seasons’ world championship line-up, in the OK Junior category, and knows that he can compete at the front, having taken wins in heats and finals against similar opposition. Being part of the factory Energy Kart team has given the Senior racing rookie some new motivation and he is looking forward to getting back to the form that saw him challenge at the front throughout the 2019 European Karting Championship.
“It’s great to be going back to a World Championship Karting event for the first time since 2018, especially having missed out on so many races this year due to the global pandemic”. Said Alex on the announcement that he would be joining Energy Kart in Portugal. “I’m very happy to have linked up with Energy for these two events and I’m going there looking to repay them by challenging for the World title. I have to thank the team and all of my supporters who have helped to make this happen, particularly Reynolds Logistics, VTL, Artisan marble and NEA designs for sticking with me during such an unusual season.”
Alex’s progress in Portugal can be followed on livestreams from both events. Updates on his progress and links to results and live timing will be available here on his web site during the events.
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.