Wright Scores Breakthrough Euro Victory

press release

Luke Wright scored a dramatic debut victory at the opening round of the Italian Open Masters series at Lonato in Italy last weekend (29/30 March).

In only his first full season of international karting, the 15-year old delivered on his early promise with a gutsy drive to victory in Sunday’s KF2 final.

His weekend started reasonably enough, with 5th place in Timed Qualifying. Although a little disappointed not to be further up the order, the JRP driver would start on the third row of the grid for his heats.

The teenager promptly won his first heat, and was never headed once he’d assumed the lead. In the second race, he enjoyed a tussle with James Thorp - and despite finishing 2nd at the chequered flag, was awarded the win after Thorp’s motor was declared to be illegal.

Disaster struck in Luke’s third heat when he was involved in an unavoidable collision with two other drivers. Rejoining in last place, Wright showed his characteristic grit to climb back up the order to finish in 9th place and secure 3rd place on the grid for the Pre-Final.

A solid drive saw Luke hold 3rd spot from start to finish and give him his best grid position for a Final this year - “We’d been about two tenths off the pace and my mechanic, Riccardo said to me before the start - ‘You’ve got to get in front, get into the lead. If you’re passed, fight back and re-take (the place)’ - because I just wasn’t fast enough to be able to chase down someone if they made a break and open up a decent lead.”

He heeded the advice. Poleman Matteo Ghidella initially led, but Luke quickly passed the Italian to commence a battle royal. As the pair fought tooth and nail through every corner, Thorp ghosted up from 12th place to join the fray. Eventually Ghidella succumbed to the relentless pace and dropped back, allowing ‘Giaguaro Nero’ (an Italian driver racing under a pseudonym) to make it a three-way fight again. As the race entered the last lap, Luke’s mechanic waved his index finger backwards and forwards to indicate ‘go for it’. Luke responded and gave it his all, only to approach the finishing line and not see the chequered flag. He explains: “Someone must’ve made a mistake in counting the laps because the data-logger on my steering wheel showed that I’d finished the race - but as no chequered flag appeared, I just kept racing”

He held on for a hugely deserved victory by the slenderest of margins. It also came as welcome relief after a run of bad luck in recent events: “I was beginning to think ‘what do I have to do?’ - this win is a monkey off my back.” He added: “I would like to thank Mark (Berryman, boss of JRP), my mechanic Riccardo (Messana) and Gordon Finlayson (of GFR Engines) for their massive contribution to my success.”

In past years, the Italian Open Masters has seen Robert Kubica win the Championship twice, whilst Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton have also competed in it. Despite hoping to follow in their wheeltracks all the way to F1, Luke’s hero is Kimi Raikkonen - “Although I respect Hamilton, Kimi let’s his driving do the talking and away from the track, he’s more ‘rock ‘n’ roll’.”


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