It was a pretty great day for racing last weekend. The sun was shining at the Titi Aur Academy, the parents were restless as usual and the karts were ready to go. And so was our wunderkind, Anelisse Ionașcu, who is racing at the MiniWatt class this season. Last year, at only 9 years of age, Ane won the Championship at the MacroWatt level, while competing against boys older than her. This year she’s aiming for the same kind of results, but things are not getting any easier for her.

So we had to be there for her while she battled in her first race of the season. And what a treat it was!

But first things first: Anelisse is racing on the same electric kart as last season, but with an upgraded engine to make the switch from the “MicroWatts”. A couple of weeks ago, while practicing on the track, two karts ran into her by mistake and apparently the kart suffered some damage. Ane was a bit bruised as well, but nothing major. The damage to the kart is usually tough to spot and fix, but the engineers at the TTA did their best.

The qualies on Sunday were a tough ask for all participants because the wind was blowing relentlessly. As George Costanza would put it, the wind was angry that day my friends. But Anelisse found the right paths throughout the laps and managed a P2 to start the race. It was business as usual. Or so it seemed.

As she got into her ”42” kart for the First Final, she knew she had to fight off Rusu at #3 who had the inside lane. But she didn’t. On one hand, the kart did not take off as it as it did in practice while prepping the season. On the other hand, Anelisse should have probably kept her straight path and not steer for the block right from the getgo. Seconds were lost. She ended up conceding her spot, but fought like hell to stay close to the top. Which she did, even though she was almost thrown off the track by #50 Tăriceanu, while brawling in the 4th lap. Anelisse finished with a P3, so things were looking up, even though she exited the kart quite unhappy with the incident.

For the Second Final of the day, the drivers started the race lined up with the order inverted. So the winner of the First Final started last, while the last got to start first on the line-up. Anelisse started at #3 with a chance to go for it in the general ranking on Sunday. It was a crazy race, as her kart once more acted up and did not run as #TeamAnelisse was hoping. For the first couple of laps, Ane struggled and found herself last. As the race went on, in the 4th lap, she managed two spectacular overtakes on a couple of trackways that only a champ’s instinct can spot. She kept at it and was right there with Olimpus and Rusu going for gold. As they pushed for the last couple of laps, the kart started to lose power and there was really nothing Anelisse could do but finish the race at #5, proud to have done her best.

Tears and plans and promises to never give up flooded the tack as Anelisse exited her white-and-blue kart. As the organizers put the numbers together, she managed a well-deserved 3rd place overall. Not great, not terrible, as they say in Hollywood, but a podium nonetheless.

Next couple of stages are set to happen in Bacău, on June 22nd and July 13th. Fingers crossed for great weather and a better kart. We’re just getting started.


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