GALLERY: New European champion Russell, 13, hails proudest moment of his karting career

KARTING sensation George Russell produced the drive of his life to become a European champion at the age of just 13.

Russell, from Tydd St Giles, raced to victory in the CIK-FIA European Championship - one of the most prestigious competitions on the karting calendar.

The title is the biggest win of the three time British Champion’s career and comes in his first year of racing for Italian team Intrepid Kart International.

Russell finished a strong sixth in qualifying for the championship, which was held in Zuera in Spain. The Wisbech Grammar School student - one of the youngest drivers in a field of 82 - won two of the four heats and finished second in the pre-final.

But Russell saved his best performance for the final, producing 15 laps of precision driving to sweep past the opposition and bring one of karting’s most sought-after trophies back to Fenland.

He said: “That’s the biggest race I have ever won in my life. I’ve had so many people congratulating me. It means so much.

“When I crossed the finish line, it felt unbelievable. It took quite a while to sink in that I had won the European Championship.

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“It was just amazing, and so much more special than anything I’d ever won before. This has topped everything else by a mile.”

Rusell, who has been karting since the age of seven, dreams of competing in Formula One. He was cheered to his European victory by sister Cara and proud parents Steve and Allison.

Mrs Russell said: “I heard him saying to somebody on the phone the night before the race that he was going to try and win. I knew he could do it.

“This was the biggest event of the year and I’m very proud. I had spent three weeks with him in Spain getting ready for it.

“After the race the whole team were crying and so was my husband. It was a really emotional moment. When he came over the line he just threw his head back and put his arms in the air. This was the one he really wanted.

“We think he’s the youngest person ever to win it and in his first year abroad as well. It’s just not heard of to win that in your first year.

“The proudest moment was when he went up on the podium and they put the English flag up and played the national anthem. He’s worked so hard and he deserves it.

“Hopefully we will see him in Formula One. Everybody has to have a dream and that’s his. We know he can get there.”