Arthur Rogeon had invested great hopes in his last race of the season, also the most prestigious one: the OK-Junior Karting World Championship. The driver from the Pays de la Loioe region of France has been very quick throughout 2020 with the works Exprit Racing Team; and it was the same story on the Portimao circuit in the Algarve in the south of Portugal. Unfortunately, two major race incidents put paid to his chances. But in spite of changeable weather conditions Rogeon was determined to finish his first world championship on a high note as proof of his reserves of potential at the top international level.
Arthur was perfectly honed to tackle the world championship in optimum conditions. He began the first practice session with burning determination and was immediately among the quickest on the dry track. The following day rain reshuffled the cards but this not dent his motivation. He was among the front-runners in the first practice session but saw his performance beginning to tail off. He explains: “My team manager, Patrik Hajek, was considered as a contact Covid-19 case and was confined to his bedroom by the Portuguese authorities. Patrik is a former world champion and he always gives me good advice as well as managing the carburetion. His absence handicapped us. In addition, we probably didn’t select the best gear ratio for the rainy conditions in qualifying. I wasn’t able to recapture a high-enough level of performance and I had to make do with 31st place out of a total of 89 drivers.” It was a position far from his initial target.
In such a high-quality event it’s very important to start at the front. The Frenchman was well aware that he no longer had any right to mistakes, but he was the victim of a collision in the mid-field on the first lap of the first heat. Things got even more difficult in the remaining races. “In the second heat, I was among the five fastest on the track and I was fighting my way to the front when I lost time in a battle with another driver and dropped back to 12th. In the following race I was again eliminated in a crash soon after the lights went out.”
The Exprit Racing Team driver knew that his hopes of a place in the final of the world championship had been dashed. But this didn’t prevent him from salvaging his honour in style with two marvellous comebacks to sixth place, once in the dry (Qualifying heat A-C) and once in the wet (A-B).
“Arthur is capable of being very quick, especially on slicks,” confirmed Ludovic Chevalier from Kart Management who’s known the young coming man for several years. “Throughout the year he was the fastest driver in his team. With all the international experience he’s gathered in Junior over the last two seasons, he deserves to continue at the highest level.”
Time to look ahead to 2021…
Photos by Arnau Vinals