Ukrainian War: Russian Kart Driver Gives Nazi Salute

DRussian kart driver Artem Severiukhin caused a scandal during the first round of the FIA ​​European Karting Championship. After winning the Portimao race on Sunday, the 15-year-old Russian banged his chest on the podium at the awards ceremony, stretched his right arm in a Hitler salute and then burst out laughing.

“I spoke to him right after the ceremony and told him that this behavior was unacceptable,” Joakim Ward, owner of Swedish team Ward Racing, told FAZ. He immediately ended his collaboration with Severiukhin.

The international motorsport federation FIA, which organized the competition in Portugal, said on Monday it had launched an “immediate investigation into the unacceptable behaviour”. The FIA ​​​​​​will shortly inform about the next steps.

Due to sporting sanctions against Russia, Severiukhin was only able to participate in the race because he is flying the Italian flag. This has been quite common in karting for years as it makes it easier for Russian athletes to travel. According to information from the FAZ, the Italian motorsport association also excluded Severiukhin.

“This is not a joke”

Ward said in an interview with FAZ on Monday that he was shocked when he saw the photos on the podium. “It was terrible, and I’m terribly sorry for what happened there.” Severiukhin then told him that he only wanted to joke with his friends. “But it’s no joke,” Ward said.

In a statement released on Monday, the race team apologized to all those who were injured by the incident. “It has long been and will continue to be a priority for Ward Racing to promote a more peaceful, inclusive and respectful racing environment,” he said. The FIA ​​​​Kart European Championship will continue in three weeks with the race in the Spanish town of Zuera.

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