14 year old George Russell from Wisbech celebrated his birthday week by winning the opening KF3 Kart race of the season on Sunday at Lonato, Italy. Racing for the Italian Intrepid Driver Program for the second consecutive year, Russell started as he finished 2011 on the top spot of the podium.Qualifying 6th overall from a field of 108 European and world drivers, meant Russell started 2nd on the grid for all of his 5 heats. His first and only heat on Friday saw him claim the victory. He won his next heat on Saturday, however was given a 10 second penalty for going over the start line in front of the pole man. Two 3rds and a 2nd followed in the remaining heats. These results gave Russell 5th spot on the grid for the pre-final on Sunday watched by a crowded grandstand, including F1 driver Paul Di Resta.Tricky conditions with light rain during practice on Sunday morning made the track difficult for getting the set up right for the kart. Russell adapted well and came through from 5th to take the lead. With two laps to go his carburettor failed momentarily going down the straight, causing him to lose 1.8 seconds. This allowed Swedish driver Robin Hanson, who came 2nd to Russell in the European Finals at Zuera to take advantage and potentially a win. Russell kept cool and after adjusting the carburetion settings on the last lap he made a bold manoeuvre to take the win.
Starting on pole for the final it was vital Russell had a good start. Russell took control of the field and tactically hung back on the rolling up lap. He took the lead in front of a strong field of experienced drivers knowing that one error could be the difference between success and failure. His focus and sheer determination for victory meant that Russell led from start to finish, winning by 5.5 seconds. A brilliant and well deserved win for Russell who is still one of the youngest in the junior category.