2014 EUROPEAN KARTING CHAMPION
WINNING WITH STYLE & SPEED
A sunny day in Grantham, England, poured more sunshine into the rapid and rising career of 14-year old Enaam Ahmed. In the fourth and final round of the ultra-competitive CIK-FIA European Junior Karting Championship, held at the PF1 circuit, the London lad took control of his championship destiny by winning the pre-final race in Ricky Flynn Motorsport prepared FA (as in Fernando Alonso) kart.
Leading from La Conca
Ahmed signaled his intention for championship glory from the start of the season in May at La Conca karting circuit in Italy. After stepping on the third step of the podium in pre-final, he stormed to victory in the final event of the weekend over two young American drivers who would stay in the championship hunt throughout the season; Logan Sargeant, the Boca Raton racer was second, and Devlin Defrancesco, also from Florida, was third.
Victory gave Ahmed lead in the championship. The elated but exhausted young driver said after the race, “It was a really tough race. It was long and tiring, physically as well as mentally. The heat did not help. My opponents were very close, there was no relief. I was as happy as was exhausted.”
Mick Jr, son of seven-time F1 world champion Michael Schumacher, was placed seventh in the final race at La Conca.
The second round of the championship trail took the young guns to Zuera in June, the longest track of the season in the Aragon region of Spain. Ahmed kept the championship charge in top gear by taking third place in the final race after an amazing recovery and improving 15 positions. Second was fellow Brit Daniel Ticktum, Swede Anton Haga was the winner.
Kristianstad in Sweden hosted the penultimate round of championship in July. It was the only event where Ahmed did not make a podium appearance, but importantly for his championship hopes, he still finished ahead of his American challengers. The race winner was Italian Lorenzo Travisanutto, Dutch kid Bard Verkroost was second with Mick Jr third.
The focus now was on the final event of the 2014 CIK-FIA European Karting Championship (Junior) at the English PF1 circuit on August 31. Going into the final round Ahmed led the standings with 53 points. Ticktum was second on 48 points. Defrancesco third with 46 points. Mick Jr was fourth on 43 points.
With intense pressure bearing down on him from several contenders, Ahmed was in a winning class of his own throughout the weekend. Early Sunday morning he won the Warm-up Pre final after setting the fastest lap of the race.
In the Pre final he started seventh for the 11-lap race and was in second after only three laps. He relentlessly pursued race leader, German pole sitter David Beckmann, and grabbed the lead on lap 9.
The grand finale was a 19-lap event with Ahmed on pole position, and sharing the front row with him was Beckmann. Mick Jr, hoping to carry on the family tradition of championship success, qualified on the second row in fourth.
Ahmed led the first five laps before Beckmann took the lead and the same lap saw his fellow German, Mick Jr, also pass Ahmed for second. On lap 9 Ahmed sailed past Mick Jr and the next lap he moved past Beckmann for the race lead.
On lap 14 Russian racer Alexander Vartanyan took the second spot from Beckmann and mounted a challenge for the lead. He closed the gap to Ahmed on the penultimate lap to .2s but Ahmed was not going to be denied his race and championship victory on home turf. His teammate Max Fewtrell also joined him on the podium after passing Beckmann on lap 16. On the final lap Beckmann was pushed back to fifth place by American Juan Correa.
Earlier in the year Ahmed also aced the WSK Super Master Series in the Junior category.
F1 Weekly will feature on our next podcast an interview with Enaam Ahmed, recorded last month at Oschersleben karting circuit where he was competing – and extended his lead – in the German Championship.
– Nasir Hameed