Andrina Ozolins, 9, of Newark, is on course for track greatness after finishing second overall in the Cadet Sprint Series Championships
Young race ace Andrina Ozolins is following in the footsteps - or tyre tracks - of former F1 world champion Jenson Button after crowning her first season of kart racing with two handsome pieces of silverware.
Andrina, of Larkfields, Newark, is aged only nine but came second overall in the Cadet Sprint Series Championships held over ten meetings at the Fulbeck track of the Lincolnshire Kart Racing Club, where Jenson Button also raced at an equally early age.
She also received a handsome trophy for being named Most Improved Female Cadet.
Her grandmother, Rina Ozolins, said: “We’re thrilled and delighted with what she has achieved. The lad who won the Sprint Series is four years older than Andrina, so he’s massively more experienced than she is.”
Andrina herself said: “I didn’t expect to do so well in my first season. I was very nervous and excited at the start. I’m more used to it now, but it’s still exciting.”
In the year before she started racing, Andrina trained to gain bronze, silver and gold awards in the Fulbeck club’s Rookie Racing programme, learning about flags protocol in a strict race-controlled environment, enforced by marshals and the clerk of the course.
Rina says her grandaughter has been motor sport mad since she was a toddler: “Her first word was Jorge - after motorbike racer Jorge Lorenzo.”
Andrina’s winning season also saw her racing under the number 99, as did her hero, though her second place in the championship means she is now entitled to race as No 2.
The passion for karting took root after Andrina’s father, Adam, took her to the ELK Motorsport kart track at Winthorpe, where owner Tav Kirk quickly spotted a precocious talent: “Tav spent time with her - giving encouragement and help, even walking the track to show her the lines, braking areas etcetera,” said Rina.
Soon the young racer was pestering her dad for a kart of her own.
She now races an IAME 60cc kart which Rina says can reach speeds in the high 60s...It is always a bit worrying.
No motor sports are completely safe, and eight to 12-year-olds have no fear; kids will go for any gap that they see.
But it’s a very disciplined sport and they make it as safe as it can be.”
Dad Adam, of Main Street, Balderton, is also on hand to keep a close eye as he is a motorcycle mechanic and instructor and he prepares Andrina’s kart for races, as well as those of some of her rivals.
Andrina’s ultimate ambition is to emulate Jensen Button more emphatically.
She said: “I’d like to be a Formula 1 driver.”
Although it seems that this ambition has not been stirred by the successes of five-times F1 World Champion Lewis Hamilton, one of the sport’s greatest-ever drivers.
Andrina’s cool appraisal was “I actually think Vettel is better.”