Caldwell shows rapid pace in Rotax International Open

KR Sport Euromax driver was denied a spot on the podium in a frantic final at the one-off European event

Rotax Euro Challenge
October 10, 2016

Although the end result wasn’t what Olli was hoping for there were a lot
of positives to take away from Adria and it’s fair to say Olli will be a
real threat at the Grand Finals.

Throughout practice Olli was one of the quickest drivers an at many times the quickest! So heading into qualifying on Friday afternoon he became a driver everyone wanted to follow.

There was only six minutes of qualifying with each driver getting three or four flying laps to put a time in and unfortunately Olli found himself delayed in at least one sector each lap. This led him to end up 9th in the session although his combined sectors would have put him 3rd!

However, in some ways this was good. It meant Olli would have to work on getting through the field quickly, something he may be tasked with
at the Grand Finals. He drove fantastically in all three heats to finish 3rd in each one. In all of them he found himself in at least the lead battle or even leading the race. He was going toe to toe with Euro Challenge rivals Axel Charpentier and Mark Kimber and in one heat pulled off a brilliant move to go around the outside of the pair to take the lead!

The three 3rd places put Olli on the front row for the Pre Final. Heading into the race rain had just started to fall but everyone made their way onto the circuit on slick tyres. This meant Olli was in the worst place possible and suffered badly at turn one with everyone clattering into him. It was a disastrous start, but thankfully the organisers were quick to notice the carnage and red flagged the race.

A full restart would take place with everyone now on wet tyres. It was the first time it had been wet all week meaning Olli would have to learn his way round very quickly. Overall he did a very good job, he made some mistakes which cost him time, but he finished 4th place which was a very good effort indeed!

The only bad thing about Olli’s starting position was that he was on the outside which had been proven tricky over the weekend.

The initial getaway at the start seemed okay, front row starter Kimber didn’t get away well but Olli looked across to slot into 5th, but another driver poked up the inside at the last minute forcing Olli wide.

Things then got worse as Olli was stuck on the outside at turn two dropping him to 9th place. The International Open is a one off race meaning the approach
from drivers can be very do or die. This meant drivers defending valiantly for 8th place and drivers behind simply not wanting to work together. Everything Olli did in that race just didn’t work out for him and the frustration continued to grow.

He found himself battling with drivers he had been quicker than all week but every time he went passed they’d force their way back through.

In the end Olli ended up 9th place. Yes, it wasn’t the result he would have hoped for, but he learnt some valuable lessons for the World’s. At Sarno next week that’s exactly what the racing will be like so Olli will now know what to expect and will be prepared for the task at hand.

He was the second quickest in the final proving he is more than one to watch next week at the biggest kart race in the World.

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