Young Finnish kart racer Santeri Kallio is following in the footsteps of many Formula One champions. Mika Häkkinen, Michael Schumacher, Kimi Räikkönen, and Fernando Alonso are among the top formula’s racers who began their high-speed careers in karting.

At 17, Kallio is rapidly maturing as a driver. He has been honing his racing skills in the Finnish Rotax Max Challenge race series. This year, he positioned himself in 6th place in the overall standings, although there was a good chance of coming third or even second.

“I got a black flag [meaning disqualification] in the last race because our team forgot to add the tyres to the organisers’ database. That had a great effect in the overall standings,” Kallio recalls.

This left Kallio with a harsh reminder of how important the little things are in racing, but his gaze is firmly set on the next season. Focusing on the future, Kallio says: “I’ll race in Rotax Max class next year, but we still have to decide whether we will race in Finland or in the European series.”

Thinking further into the future, Kallio dreams of racing an F1 car on such tracks as the Silverstone or Spa-Francorchamps circuit in years to come. But wherever his journey takes him, Kallio is clear that racing is in his blood.

And Kemppi’s distinctive orange is part of that journey. With Kemppi one of Kallio’s sponsors, the Joy of Welding has been an essential part of the Sakal Racing team’s pit-stop appearance. ‘We have a Kemppi welding machine with us at every race. It’s gained a lot of attention from other teams – and it has seen lots of action when the car has required fixing,’ Kallio says.

Check out Kallio’s driving at the RMC Joensuu event