Fresh off of his ASN Canadian Karting Championship in Rok Shifter, Quebec driver Thomas Nepveu is back in a single-speed kart and has returned to Europe to take on the worlds best in the FIA OK World Karting Championship.
Partnered up with the BirelART Race Team, Nepveu has travelled to Alahärmä, Finland, home of the Mika Salo Circuit, and will compete against a massive 95 drivers in the OK category, the most prestigious single-speed category for Senior drivers, featuring efforts from all of the major chassis and engine manufacturers.
Nepveu is no stranger to the international karting scene, competing many times over the past two seasons with the BirelART Race Team in many high profile European events. Last year he competed in the OK-Junior division of the FIA World Karting Championship and finished inside the top-fifteen amongst 113 competitors.
He has also taken part in the Rotax Grand Finals a number of times, standing on the Mini-Max podium in 2016 in Italy, as well as racing to a fourth-place finish last year in Brazil in Junior Max.
We caught up with Nepveu as he arrived in Finland to ask him what it means to compete on the worlds biggest karting stage and represent his home country.
“Every World Championships or Final is second to none, but the FIA OK World Championship is definitely the pinnacle of karting, where all the best drivers and equipment competes for karting’s biggest honours. Last year I scored a top-fifteen after coming from back in the OK-Junior category. I hope to bring Canada a good finish again this year, now in the Senior ranks.”
The PowerPark Circuit is a very unique 1200 metre track, that features some very fast sectors as well as a bridge and tunnel section. Getting his first impressions of the track yesterday, Nepveu was quick to note the challenges he will face this week.
“It is a beautiful circuit but certainly tricky with a lot of bankings, a bridge and an overpass. Definitely different than North American tracks but still very nice.”
With free practice underway today, the event has been thrown another curveball as wet weather has arrived in Alahärmä, disrupting those trying to get valuable track time.
“We’ve also been challenged by weather since our arrival, going from wet to dry every other session. The forecast is calling for more of that all week long. So let’s see what happens.”
The weekend races will be live-streamed through the CIK FIA social media pages and results from the official sessions can be found on the CIKFIA.com website.