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Karting news from the UK and around the world. Super One, LGM, WSK, Euromax and other go karting updates

Brett Ward wins Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals!

Micro MAX Final

The Micro MAX final was an exciting final event. Although the drivers are young, they never fail to express their talent on the track, battling for their position. Although Keanu Al Azhari, who had been a top runner of the Micro MAX category for the majority of the week, crossed the line in first position after a magnificent battle with his peers, he was given a penalty, which shuffled him back to eleventh place. Thus, Frenchman Louis Iglesias took over the top spot and was officially crowned the 2017 Micro MAX Grand Finals Champion. Leon Zelenko of Croatia finished in second place, about 1.7 seconds behind Iglesias. Another four tenths behind Zelenko, Ryota Horachi of Japan rounded out the top three positions. The lady of the race, Antonella Bassani of Brazil, finished in eighth place.
Mini MAX Final

The Mini MAX final also proved to be very exciting and highlighted the talent of the young drivers. Although some drivers were competing at the front of the field at the beginning of the race weekend, sometimes events just don’t always play in a driver’s favor. But, then again, that’s part of the journey in one’s racing career. Some could argue that if it were not for the bad moments in karting, then the good moments wouldn’t feel so rewarding. Ultimately, it was Marcus Amand of France who placed in first place, ahead of Jamie Day of the United Arab Emirates and James Wharton of Australia.

Junior MAX Final

The Junior MAX Final started out surprisingly without any major crashes among the competitors. It it seemed as if Tommy Foster of the United Kingdom would lead the race with a nice and secure head start. However, Senna Van Walstijn and Tijmen Van Der Helm, both of the Netherlands, started working together and easily caught up to Foster in hot pursuit. Before the halfway mark of the 17-lap final race, Van Der Helm and Van Walstijn both passed Foster. First, Van Der Helm seemed to pull a nice gap, however Van Walstijn did not let his teammate escape his sights. Nevertheless, the top five drivers of the Junior MAX pack were a little impatient and did not exactly strategize for the race. In fact, Foster and Jac Preston of Australia hooked tires, crashing each other out of the race momentarily, losing their top five positions and getting shuffled all the way to the back of the pack at about the halfway point. Generally, drivers try to strategize so that they will begin their passing maneuvers toward the end of the race. As the laps wore down, Van Der Helm continued to block the passing attempts of his teammate, Van Walstijn. However, the blocking did slow the two teammates down in the process of trying to gain a gap over the rest of the pack. In fact, Van Der Helm’s blocking gave way for Tosei Moriyama of Japan to overtake Van Walstijn and settle in second. Ultimately, Van Der Helm was crowned the 2017 Grand Finals Champion. Moriyamacrossed the finish line in second, however received a penalty and was shuffled to 14. Van Walstijn crossed the finish line in third, however also received a penalty and was shuffled to 15. Sami Meguetounif of France was named the vice-champion and Luca Leistra of Belgium rounded out the top three.

MAX Final

The 125 MAX Final also saw a very clean start compared to some of the Pre-Final and heat race starts. It was Jordan Brown-Nutley of the United Kingdom, Felix Warge of Belgium and Brett Ward of the UK that lead the field into the first few turns as the start of the race ensued. The equality of the engine and chassis packages was highlighted as the top eight competitors all drove within just a few tenths of each other. To be at the top of the grid, the drivers need to be centimeter perfect every lap every second. Brown-Nutley began slowing down his pace toward the middle of the race, which ultimately gave way for Warge to pass. Brown-Nutley and Ward then began working together, drafting and pushing each other and putting pressure on Warge. Ward ultimately made the move on Brown-Nutley for second place and the two teammates continued to push each other and purse Warge. Slowly and steadily, the top three drivers began creating a gap – hundredth by hundredth – over the other drivers of the pack. Now Warge was sandwiched between the two men from the UK. One of the key characteristics that the top three displayed was tire management. The drivers knew when to slow down and not overheat and overdrive their karts. If they decided to push really hard and drive to the absolute limit, then the likelihood of their tires lasting and still giving the driver enough grip for the rest of the 20-lap race would be minimal. As the laps started to wind down, the positions shifted and changed. Ward protected and remained in his first position, while Warge was shuffled backward by Jean Nomblot of France, who passed the Belgian on lap 13. The top three drivers – Ward, Nomblot, and Warge – all broke away from the rest of the pack by around lap 16. As the top three began their last attempts to fight for the top spot during the last lap, the top six positions bunched together again, giving other drivers one last opportunity to try and conquer the top spot of the podium. Ultimately, however, it would be WardWarge, and Nomblot who went down in Rotax Grand Finals history.

DD2 Masters Final

The start of the race saw Zughella take the lead away from Ollikainen, as Ollikainen fell back and did not have the best start that he would have liked to see. Ollikainen seemed to be very strong for the first few laps, as he and Zughella pulled a decent sized gap over Troy Woolston of Australia. However, the Australian driver was able to catch back up to the battling front duo and draft with Ollikainen, who was still in second place, up to Zughella. Wooslton brought so much speed with him that he passed Ollikainen and continued to pursue Zughella, the Argentinian, himself. However, after several failed pass attempts from Wooston, Ollikainen took the opportunity to catch back up to the leading due. The top three drivers, Zughella, Wooston and Ollikainen, respectively, all drove away from the pack, blocking sometimes to an extreme going down the straight, and heading into turn three. The trio drove bumper-to-bumper, waiting for the driver in front to make a mistake, ready to capitalize on the opportunity if it presented itself. Woolston took a chance to pass Zughella, who already has a 10-second penalty imposed on him, to take over the top spot. Ollikainen remained in third position, lurking behind and waiting for an opportunity to arise and take advantage. The racing among the top three drivers continued to be extremely tight and exciting to watch. However, it was Troy Woolston who won the race and became the newest 125 MAX DD2 Masters Grand Finals Champion. Zughella finished in second, pending a penalty, and Ollikainenrounded out the top three. Zughella did receive a penalty, and thus, Ollikainen moved to second and Charly Hipp of France moved to third.

DD2 Final

The 125 MAX DD2 Final proved to be very exciting – however not for the first position. Essentially, the winner of the event was determined prematurely, as Cody Gillis of Australia took the lead and pulled away from the rest of the pack. De Ruwe remained in second place, however he had to fight off the consistent attacks of Christian Sorensen of Demark and Mads Thomsen, also of Denmark. Sorensen took the opportunity to pass De Ruwe toward the end of the race. Although Thomsen did not slip behind Sorensen immediately, he did eventually pass De Ruwe for third place. Now it was Thomsen, who was still in third place, against Sorensen, running in second position. Thomsen made and stuck his pass on his teammate for second place. It was Gillis who was crowned the new Grand Finals Champion, having pulled almost a 4 second gap over Thomsen, who finished in second. Sorensen rounded out the top three, about four-tenths behind Thomsen, followed closely by De Ruwe who finished in fourth and just eight-hundredths behind the man from Denmark.

Jeremy Peclers and Brent Crews win Master and Mini International Finals

Last but not least we move on to the oldest and youngest drivers at the 2017 IAME International Final. The Masters class crowned a champion on his birthday with penalties in the Mini class handing victory to American driver Brent Crews.

Peclers’ Birthday Win

Jeremy Peclers (BEL) started his weekend as it would finish with pole position on Thursday ahead of returning champion Gerard Cavalloni (FRA). Patrick Styf (FIN) was an impressive 3rd place with International Open Champion Graham Hill (GBR) in 4th place. Rounding out the top five positions was another French hopeful in Wilfried Lecarpentier.

After qualifying the 72 drivers were split into four groups to compete in three heats each. Cavalloni had an almost perfect run with two wins and a 2nd which saw him just about take pole position for the Pre-Final from Kip Foster (AUS) who had a 4th place and two wins. Nicolas Duchateau (FRA) improved on his 7th in qualifying to be ranked 3rd after the heats. There were disappointing results for both Styf and Peclers who had finished 31st and 23rd in a heat respectively dropping them to 23rd and 14th in the standings.

The 34th and final driver to join the A Final would be Hernan Leiva who went from 3rd to 1st on the last lap last corner in what was one of the most entertaining races of the weekend.

The start of the Pre-Final was hugely entertaining and it resulted in a break away group of six drivers which involved Lecarpentier, Cavalloni, Foster, Duchateau, Hill and Gildas Quinquet. As they continued to trade places behind Peclers and Gary Turkington (IRL) were working together in an attempt to close them down. For Peclers in particular after his heat results he was determined to be right at the sharp end for the final.

With four laps remaining battling for 4th place had allowed Lecarpentier, Cavalloni and Foster to escape in that order with Quinquet half a second back in 4th and Hill in 5th now having to contend with Peclers and Turkington as well as Duchateau. Over the next two laps Foster made his way through to the lead with two perfectly executed moves, but he left the door open at turn two on the penultimate lap and Lecarpentier went through to take the lead and eventual victory. Cavalloni was 2nd from Foster in 3rd, Quinquet was 4th, with Hill 5th and Peclers 6th.

As the final got underway a brief lead for Foster eventually turned into a comfortable one for Lecarpentier with Hill going through to 2nd place. The Brit was in chase of the French man with Foster, Turkington and Peclers all queuing up behind. That queue eventually made it’s way through with Hill quickly down to 6th which broke up the lead group slightly. Attention then turned to Peclers who seemed to find another gear passing Foster as if he was standing still then eventually taking the lead on lap nine.

From then on Peclers was able to get himself a lead of just under one second and it looked as if he would just clear off into the distance but that was far from the truth. Lecarpentier and Foster both drove thinking about the whole race by not passing each other and in doing so they were able to keep Peclers very honest. Come the last few laps they began to close in again, perhaps in was just Peclers playing safe as he still came across the line with a half a second lead to take victory on his birthday at the IAME International Final! Lecarpentier and Foster were 2nd and 3rd with Turkington 4th and Styf recovering well to finish 5th.

Full result:

1st Jeremy Peclers (BEL)
2nd Wilfried Lecarpentier (FRA)
3rd Kip Foster (AUS)
4th Gary Turkington (IRL)
5th Patrick Styf (FIN)
6th Graham Hill (GBR)

Brent Crews wins Mini Final post-race

The X30 Mini race certainly provided some drama on it’s first addition to the IAME International Final at Le Mans. The American’s were the drivers to beat and Ugo Ugochukwu (USA) was leading early on before a full course yellow flag followed immediately by a red flag came out early in the race. This sparked some confusion between the ten or two drivers battling for the lead at the time, through turn two some had realised the yellows and clearly others hadn’t and it resulted with contact and many drivers receiving front fairing penalties.

Victims to this included Santiago Trisin (USA) who lost the race win as a result. The manic race also saw Bart Ploeg (NED) retire three laps from the end and Ugochukwu was penalised for not respecting the slow procedure when full course yellows came out. Maximus Mayer (ESP) and Mateo Rubio Luengo (ES) were two more drivers who lost on out on podiums due to front fairing penalties and it resulted in a pretty mixed up order.

The win eventually went to Brent Crews. He stayed out of trouble, kept his nose clean and was fast all weekend. Trisini was still 2nd despite his penalty, finishing 3rd was Patrick Hakala (EST) and Dani Prins (NED) and Michael Sauter (SUI) rounded out the top five.

Full result:

1st Brent Crews (USA)
2nd Santiago Trisini (USA) +5sec
3rd Patrick Hakala (EST)
4th Dani Prins (NED)
5th Michael Sauter (SUI)

 

Fraisse and Cebrian Ariza take Super and Shifter wins at Le Mans

The X30 Super and X30 Super Shifter classes both contested hugely competitive grids of 30+ drivers in each category with the French drivers dominating the Super class in particular.

Vincent Fraisse takes emotional win in X30 Super

The French driver won the IAME International Final back in 2015 in what was a hugely popular victory around the Le Mans circuit. Back in X30 Super for another year many wouldn’t have put Fraisse in contention early on with the Sodi driver qualifying down in 16th place. The early contenders looked to be Adrien Renaudin (FRA), Thomas Ricci (FRA), Kevin Breysse (FRA), Milan Petelet (FRA) and Ulysse De Pauw (BEL) who finished qualifying in that order.

De Pauw was the driver to stay the most consistent in the heats taking three wins out of four and with it pole position for the Pre-Final. Breysse and Ricci both kept a clean pair of heels in the heats to rank 2nd and 3rd but for Renaudin there was problems with one bad result after his win and two 5th place finishes put him down in 8th. By this point Fraisse had made slight progress despite a DNF in one heats and would go off p12 for the Pre-Final.

Ulysse De Pauw

The Pre-Final put on some more great close racing and although it confirmed De Pauw the favourite it also proved that he was far from comfortable with the top four separated by just over one second at the flag. A new face to the front was the ever I proving Corentin Collignon (FRA) who took the lead heading into the final couple of laps but De Pauw was quick to come back through in what was an entertaining end to the race. Collignon finished 3rd behind Renaudin with Antony Cout (FRA) 4th. Fraisse had continued his progress through the field to finish 6th and fell just short of Ricci’s fastest lap of the race.

It then all came down to the final and with his progress already impressive over the weekend Fraisse was quick to make even more in the opening two laps of the final. He was quick to get himself into 2nd place in what was a fairly hectic start with everyone going for World Finals glory. His country men Renaudin was the leader at this stage but six laps in he took the lead before the first time which led to he and Renaudin trading places. Ten laps in and Fraisse was down in 3rd with De Pauw the new leader, Breysse was in 2nd as the top three found themselves clear from the rest of the pack.

Kevin Breysse

Fraisse then started his fight to get back into the lead with a move on Breysse at turn one on lap 15. The move for the lead then followed on lap 17, De Pauw appeared to defend down the back straight but left enough space for Fraisse to make his move who immediately began to defend with just four laps now remaining. Breysse then followed shortly afterwards and with Fraisse looking to quick to catch he settled for 2nd and defended to the flag.

Out front Fraisse took an emotional victory on home soil. It’s his second IAME International Final title in two different classes and it received a tremendous reception around the circuit. Completing the podium were Breysse and De Pauw with Petelet 4th and Yann Bouvier (FRA) 5th. Renaudin who looked the favourite early on unfortunately didn’t finish after an incident on the last lap.

Full result:

1st Vincent Fraisse (FRA)
2nd Kevin Breysse (FRA)
3rd Ulysse de Pauw (BEL)
4th Milan Petelet (FRA)
5th Yann Bouvier (FRA)
12th Max Jeanne (GBR)
25th Jack Graham (GBR)
26th Oliver Greetham (GBR)
28th Euan Wilson (GBR)
33rd Harry Torpy (GBR)

Gerard Cebrian Ariza holds on to take dramatic victory in Super Shifter

Given the Spaniard had qualified down in 6th place on Thursday he wouldn’t have gone down as the immediate first choice to take victory but over the weekend his win was thoroughly deserved.

In qualifying Tom Bale (UAE) took pole position from Alessandro Pellizzari (ITA) with Roy Bakker (NED), Thierry Delre (BEL) and Christof Huibers rounding out the top five. As the heats progressed Pellizzari seemed to look the favourite for the event taking three wins and an 11th in heat four despite a ten second penalty. Bale took the heat four victory but pole in the Pre-Final was Pellizzari’s with Bakker, Delre and Cebrian Ariza completed the second row. Tom Bale would start from p7.

John Norris

The Pre-Final was where the weekend was really turned on it’s head from the leaders point of view. The race itself saw Bakker get a brilliant start out front and the Dutch driver escaped from the rest of the pack before being hunted down by Pellizzari. The Italian then went for an ambitious move at the end of the back straight which saw Bakker off the circuit and Pellizzari receiving a ten second penalty dropping him to 10th. Things got worse for Bakker too who also received a penalty for a jump start and his ten second penalty dropped him to 14th. If Pellizzari had just followed Bakker round to the flag, he would’ve taken the win regardless.

So all of that drama both at the end of the race and post-race left Huibers the race winner from Delre, Bale, Cebrian Ariza and Mickey Slotman (NED).

From the outside of row two Cebrian Ariza made a fantastic start taking just two laps to work his way through to the lead of the race. Keeping him close for company was Bale and it wasn’t long before the pair had escaped leaving Delre to lead a growing queue for 3rd. As the race progressed Bale never quite seemed to be able to pass Cebrian Ariza no matter what he tried whilst behind Delre was now 3rd with John Norris (IRL) 4th.

Going onto the last lap Cebrian Ariza seemed to be in a position where he could defend comfortably but behind Bale had other ideas. Going into the last corner we caught a glimpse on the live stream of Bale charging into turn one in an attempt to pass the Spaniard which resulted in Bale making contact with the race leader and drooping to 4th place. Cebrian Ariza meanwhile was able to hold on to the lead put now had a kart which had a Nassau panel hanging off and changing through the gears looked to be difficult as well as getting the thing round in one piece. For any Cebrian Ariza fan it was a heart in mouth moment but thankfully the CRG driver was able to limp home to still take a comfortable victory over Delre. Slotman inherited 3rd after Norris was penalised for a jump start which also kept Bale in 4th and moved Yohan Sousa (POR) into the top five.

Full result:

1st Gerard Cebrian Ariza (ESP)
2nd Thierry Delre (BEL)
3rd Mickey Slotman (NED)
4th Tom Bale (UAE)
5th Yohan Sousa (POR)
14th Fraser Rose (GBR)
18th Barrie Pullinger (GBR)
26th Scott Allen (GBR)

 

Oliver Hodgson wins 2017 IAME International Senior X30 Final!

It’s an event many would say Hodgson should have won for the last two years and finally Hodgson’s mission of winning the hugely competitive event has now complete. In a grid of 144 Senior X30 drivers picking a winner was extremely difficult but having been denied through mechanical problems two years in a row there was no driver more determined to win than Hodgson.

Hodgson got his weekend off to a great start with 4th place in qualifying putting him on the front row for all his seven heats. The PF International driver was able to convert that into five wins along with a 3rd and 4th place. His closest rival at the end of the heats was fellow Brit Mark Kimber with French driver Charles Tesnieres an impressive 3rd place after the heats were finished.

The 34th and final driver to join the Pre-Final grid was Jordan Brown-Nutley after a B Final that could be argued as the best race of the weekend. From the outside of row eight the Dan Holland Racing Driver slowly worked his way through the order and pinched the last space from Oliver Clarke at the last corner on the last lap in dramatic fashion.

A chaotic start to the Pre-Final saw Hodgson escape but in chase were Sean Babington, Tesnieres, Stephen Letts and Carlos Leon. The gap to bridge was half a second and the job was quickly completed by Babington who went straight into the lead on his approach to Hodgson. In 6th place Ryan Norberg had done a good job to catch the lead group and bring with him Felix Warge, Geoffrey Baudot, Dean MacDonald and Louie Westover as the Pre-Final began to intensify.

Joel Deputch (350) and B Final qualifier Jordan Brown-Nutley (2016)

As lap four began Hodgson went back into the lead as Letts was now 3rd and Norberg 5th. A few corners later and Letts was then into 2nd with Hodgson showing warning signs of escaping out front. More changing between Letts and Babington over the next two laps pretty much confirmed Hodgson the race winner but there was still a lot at stake behind.

In the battle for 2nd Norberg made his entrance after passing Babington and over the duration of the race was able to break clear from Babington slightly with Letts being hugely consistent in 2nd.  MacDonald and Callum Bradshaw was fighting for 5th with Tesnieres 7th as the last lap began.

Out front Hodgson took a comfortable victory from Letts, Norberg, Babington and Bradshaw who stole 5th from MacDonald on the last lap.

A Final Race Start

The Final

A clean start in the final saw a queue of seven drivers quickly escape which included Hodgson, Norberg, Babington, MacDonald, Bradshaw, Letts and Westover. The first change of lead came on the second lap with Norberg passing Hodgson at the hairpin. But a brave move going on to lap three saw Hodgson back through after some assistance from Babington saw the Brit get a mighty run towards turn one with Norberg dropping to 5th.

One corner later and it was Babington’s turn to lead with the whole paddock and fans watching on in anticipation.  As we went back to turn two the next lap Hodgson repaid the favour to Babington as he passed but the move saw Hodgson take some kerb and Babington was consequently forced on off the track momentarily which dropped the DHR driver to 7th place.

Ryan Norberg in 2nd place

It hardly benefited Hodsgon either as he gifted the lead to MacDonald before taking it back around three corners later. The danger man now looked to be front row starter Letts who passed Norberg for 3rd before going into second a couple of laps later. With Hodgson away and clear many would have expected drivers behind to work together but when in a queue of six to seven World Class drivers the best place to be and that led to an exciting battle.

Letts was one of the stand out performers throughout the weekend but his dreams of a podium died halfway through the race. After dropping to 4th his attempts to pass Westover for 3rd saw him off the track at turn two and he faced an uphill battle re-joining in the middle of the pack. A shame for someone who had driven so well all week.

Stephen Letts fought for 2nd until an off halfway through the final

From one Brit to another, Danny Keirle tipped by many to win the event started to hit brilliant pace in the final ad joined the fight for 2nd after Letts’ off with his first move on Babington for 6th.  As we started the final five laps Keirle had moved into 5th passed Bradshaw, Hodgson was in a two second lead and Norberg in 2nd was being caught by Westover and MacDonald.

With three laps remaining Westover had caught Norberg and dropped MacDonald in the process. As Norberg started to defend what followed was arguably the best move of the weekend with Westover passing Norberg around the outside at the hairpin in what was a perfectly executed move. But as Westover then got on the defensive he found himself dropping to 4th at the last corner as Norberg forced his way through with MacDonald being gifted 2nd as the pair ran wide.

There was nothing to choose between Danny Keirle (267), Louie Westover (226) and Sean Babington (201) in the battle for 4th as they crossed the line

With one lap remaining everyone waited to see Hodgson take victory, it had been three years in the making and at last he got the title he deserves and in dominant fashion winning by 4.5 seconds! MacDonald held on to take 2nd from Norberg with Westover 4th and Keirle 5th and Babington, Bradshaw, Lorenzo Travisanutto, Carlos Leon and Oscar Palomo Oritz rounding out the top ten.

Hodgson takes the flag

Summary

I don’t think anyone could argue against Oliver Hodgson being the worthy winner of this event. He’s had a brilliant year once again and has now ticked another World Final win off his list. Dean MacDonald was hugely impressive to finish 2nd given he’s been away racing in GT4’s this year and Ryan Norberg flew the flag for the States with his podium finish. In what was Westover’s second race as a Senior he is going to one to watch next year and Keirle seemed satisfied with 5th given the problems he had earlier in the weekend. You had to feel sorry for Letts, Lewis Malin and Mark Kimber. All driving very well in the heats all three deserved better results but someone has to hit bad luck and unfortunately they were three drivers who did on the weekend.

Hodgson (235) and MacDonald (351) shake hands after the final

Full result:

1st Oliver Hodgson (GBR)
2nd Dean MacDonald (GBR)
3rd Ryan Norberg (USA)
4th Louie Westover (GBR)
5th Danny Keirle (GBR)
6th Sean Babington (UAE)
7th Callum Bradshaw (GBR)
15th Stephen Letts (GBR)
16th Elliot Harvey (GBR)
18th Jordan Brown-Nutley (GBR)
21st Lewis Malin (GBR)
26th Morgan Porter (GBR)
27th Sean Butcher (GBR)
29th Mark Litchfield (GBR)
32nd Mark Kimber (GBR)
35th Oliver Clarke (GBR)
36th Derek Morgan (GBR)
37th Phillip Rawson (GBR)
39th Axel La Flamme (GBR)
42nd Jamie Flynn (GBR)
50th Thomas Turner (GBR)
76th Ben Davis (GBR)
83rd Charlie Lamb (GBR)
89th Thomas Westworth (GBR)
104th Oakley Pryer (GBR)
106th Matthew Graham (GBR)
122nd Stephanie Le Vesconte (GBR)

Harry Thompson wins IAME International Final in style!

He was quite simply unbeatable all weekend despite the competition of 134 drivers Fusion Motorsports Harry Thompson looked like a favourite to win the International Final from the get go and led the field across the line under neutralised conditions to take the win in the final.

On the build-up to the IAME International Final out of the 134 drivers entered in the Junior X30 class you could have at least put 20-30 into the potential race winners category. As discussed in our preview to the event many of Harry’s CIK-FIA European Championship rivals were amongst the entries along with best drivers from IAME and Rotax also entering the event.

In qualifying on Wednesday morning Thompson was down in a surprising 30th place with Lachlan Robinson (UAE) taking pole position from Lewis Gilbert (GBR) and Cesar Gazeau (FRA). Following would be three days of heat racing with all drivers taking part in seven each, ultimately the aim would be to stay out of trouble and keep consistent to make the A Final come Sunday.

Thompson did just that with seven victories as he breezed to pole position in the Pre-Final. Throughout the 28 heat races 14 different winners were produces which included Tijmen van der Helm (3 wins), Robinson (3 wins). Ali Akabi (JOR), Sami Megeutounif (FRA) and Hadrien David (FRA) all won two heats each with the other heat winners being Gazeau, Antoine Potty (BEL), Kai Askey (GBR), Alessandro Ceronetti (GBR), Matias Zagazeta (PER), Xavier Handsaeme (BEL), Matias Salonen (FIN), Reggie Duhy (GBR) and Tuur Stalmans (BEL).

After the heats were completed starting alongside Thompson on the front row of the Pre-Final would be Van der Helm with David and O’Neill Muth forming row two (GER). Before the Pre-Final we had the B Final take place which would determine who would fill the one remaining space and there were some big names involved!

Salonen would start from pole position and behind the big names included Mari Boya (ES), Simen Lille Homb (NOR) and Quinten Bijwaard (NED) among others.

After taking the lead early doors Boya would be the driver faced with the task of holding off a queue of Junior X30 drivers all desperate for that last space in the Final. Alex Walker (GBR) was Boya’s biggest threat throughout most of the race but no matter what he tried the British driver couldn’t get passed with Boya defending furiously. This eventually led to a lead group which contained over half the field and the defensive driving eventually paid off when Ayton Foncheta Martinez (ESP) and Valon Janssen (BEL) collided behind on the last lap. It was a hard fought race and a brilliant drive from Boya albeit frustrating for drivers behind.

Dick Yu looked a podium contender until an incident on the warm up lap in the final saw him forced to reture due to injury

The Pre-Final was a race that saw Thompson quickly break away out front leaving the likes of Van der Helm, David, Muth, Gilbert, Potty and Read to battle for 2nd but when the red flags came out the field would be brought back together for a single file restart to begin the last four laps. Thompson soon lost his lead and a crazy penultimate lap saw Muth and van der Helm make contact dropping the pair down the order which left David and Thompson to fight for victory.

Thompson re-took the lead in a brilliant move into the chicane before the back straight which allowed Read, Gilbert and Potty to join the lead train. The top five looked set to finish in that order but on the approach to the flag David hit the brakes just before the line which allowed Gilbert to take 2nd and give the French driver an inside row two start for the final. A tactic used several times in these World final events.

The Final

Sunday afternoon and it was time for the highly anticipated Junior Final! Thompson got a perfect start and was quickly into a lead but behind both Gilbert and Read had passed David and were working together to chase him down. Two laps later and the chase was complete and it was then Gilbert and Read who traded places out front whilst Thompson was struggling to hold off a growing queue of drivers behind for 3rd.

A few laps later and a hectic Junior final had seen some changes with Read now leading a four kart train with David, Thompson and Mallett behind. On lap ten was the big changing point in the race, Thompson took 2nd from David at turn two and that kicked off a battle between David and Potty for 3rd with neither willing to give in and before the tenth lap was even completed Read and Thompson were away and clear.

Antoine Potty

The two Brits traded places the next time around and with a gap behind Read seemed content to sit in 2nd for a while with Mallett one second back in 3rd. As Thompson and Read slowly grew further apart out front there was slowly a battle heating up for 3rd which would end in unfortunate circumstances. With three laps to go David passed Mallett into turn two dropping the French driver to 5th. Things then got worse as he lost a further place to Potty through the chicane and Stalmans and Ceronetti made their impact at the hairpin. On the exit of the corner Mallett appeared to have contact with Megeutounif which took both drivers out immediately and had Mallett requiring medical attention.

That neutralised the race which saw Thompson lead Read, David, Gilbert and Potty around to the flag to take the win. Post-race penalties for Read and David saw Gilbert promoted to 2nd, Potty to 3rd, Ceronetti moved up to 4th with Handsaeme 5th.

Lewis Gilbert

Summary

Overall you’d have to say Thompson was a very worth winner of the event to be able to go unbeaten for an entire weekend at such a competitive event is almost unheard of. Fusion Motorsport retain their title in the Junior class after Oliver York’s win in 2016. Lewis Gilbert’s 2nd place came as a pleasant surprise and for me this will be the changing point in his karting career as he seemed to carry a lot more confidence going into finals day. Antoine Potty drove well for his 3rd place, likewise Ceronetti in 4th who was particularly impressive in the heats. Handsaeme looked out of place all weekend but came good on Sunday with 5th. You had to feel sorry for both Read and David to receive penalties and have their podiums taken away, both drove very well all weekend and looked like future IAME International Champions!

Thompson crosses the line to take the win

Full result:

1st Harry Thompson (GBR)
2nd Lewis Gilbert (GBR)
3rd Antoine Potty (BEL)
4th Alessandro Ceronetti (GBR)
5th Xavier Handsaeme (BEL)
8th Kai Askey (GBR)
11th Evan Spenle (GBR)
16th Tyler Read (GBR)
20th Angus Moulsdale (GBR)
22nd Alexander Simmonds (GBR)
30th Teddy Williams (GBR)
41st Alex Walker (GBR)
42nd Caden McQueen (GBR)
43rd Alicia Barrett (GBR)
45th Luca Griggs (GBR)
56th Ben Fayers (GBR)
71st Tom Lebbon (GBR)
116th Josh Torpy (GBR)

Alessandro Ceronetti

Danny Keirle wins CIK-FIA World Championship!

It will go down as one of the most popular victories in CIK-FIA World Championship history! Danny Keirle is one of the most talented drivers the UK has to offer and after being given a fantastic opportunity to race with Zanardi Karts at the World’s he showed the factory teams what he was made of with a win in the biggest karting event in the World. It’s a result that will certainly change his racing career forever.

Drivers parade © KSP Reportages

As much as the CIK-FIA commentator would mention this was ‘the driver no one had heard of before this event’ any British fans knew Danny Keirle would be a big player. However, the commentator did make a point as Danny has never raced in a CIK-FIA event before so to the mighty factory teams he may have been unknown. Danny has raced out of the UK in the IAME International Final where he was 10th in 2015 and 9th in 2016. He also had the opportunity to race at the SKUSA Supernationals with Fullerton USA last year where he looked on for victory before hitting problems.

So coming into the event Danny had never quite had his break in terms of results at International level but had a very good 2017 season with a win at Kartmasters and in Super One. That form saw him spotted by Zanardi Karts and with good equipment underneath him he won a race all drivers dream of winning.

© KSP Reportages

Straight from the off Keirle looked quick taking 7th in qualifying. Fellow Brit, Callum Bradshaw was pole with European Champion Pavel Bulanstev 2nd and Juho Valtanen 3rd. It was the heats where Keirle really started to hit form as he took a 2nd and four victories which would unsurprisingly put him on pole for the final.

Pedro Hiltbrand may have had an unsuccessful title defence in the European Championship but the World’s looked to be going a lot better with the Spaniard qualifying on the front row. Valtanen was 3rd with David Vidales 4th and Esteban Muth 5th. Fin Kenneally in 6th and Oliver Hodgson in 9th were the only other British drivers to qualify in the top ten along with Keirle.

David Vidales © KSP Reportages

Things seemed to be going perfectly for Keirle heading into the final but as much as Keirle knows the PFI circuit the pressure was immense. Could he join the likes of Terry Fullerton, Mike Wilson, Colin Brown, Jake Dennis and Lando Norris in becoming a British World Champion? He was a crowd favourite with his relatable personality and it was the fairy-tale story everyone was hoping to see end in tremendous fashion.

As the final got underway Keirle got off to a perfect start making no mistakes and didn’t even need to defend on the opening lap. Behind his teammate Muth made his way to 2nd with Valtanen and Vidales included in the lead group. The top four weren’t exactly working together but weren’t fighting either and were breaking away out front with Hodgson the best of the rest.

Juho Valtanen © KSP Reportages

The first half of the race saw Keirle slowly break away from Muth, behind Vidales had gone through to 3rd and looked the only driver able to match Keirle. But then in the second half of the race Keirle just upped the pace once again and as the laps ticked by was starting to look more and more comfortable. Hodgson was slowly closing in on the top four and could be looking at a podium should a battle commence ahead.

However, that was never to be mostly down to the fact Keirle made absolutely no mistakes. He was making the race boring to watch from a neutral point of view, but from a British point of view he had everyone on the edge of their seats. One mistake and Valtanen would become dangerous, but Keirle looked like someone who had been racing at CIK-FIA level for years! Going on to the last lap it then started to hit Keirle, he looked over his shoulder for the first time! He then ran slightly wide at hairpin one and got some oversteer through hairpin two. That brought Valtanen closer but it was nothing major to worry about as the crowd began to celebrate with Keirle just a few corners away from writing his name in the history books.

Lorenzo Travisanutto © KSP Reportages

Out the last corner the crowd went wild as Keirle had done it! He had become World Champion on home soil making it two British World Champions is one day! Something that was last done by Enaam Ahmed and Lando Norris back in 2014 at Essay (FRA).

Keirle was a hugely popular winner not only with his competitors but he certainly got the biggest cheer of the afternoon heading on to the podium. You couldn’t take the smile off his face and it begs the question surely we’ll see him back in CIK-FIA racing next year. I can personally see Keirle being approached by a factory team, similar to Hiltbrand last year who landed a contract with the Tony Kart Racing Team. He may have been on home soil but his experience in the OK class is very limited yet he’s gone and beaten the best of the best in dominant fashion and looked tough to beat all weekend!

© KSP Reportages

Click here to watch the OK Final

Click here to see full results

Written by Chris McCarthy

Images courtesy of KSP/CIK-FIA

Brits lock out CIK-FIA World Junior Championship podium

It was a World Championship to remember from a British perspective with an all British podium in the Junior final. It’s the first time a nation has locked out a World Championship podium since 2001 where Italians Vitantonio Liuzzi, Sauro Casetti and Davide Fore finished in the top three in the Formula A class. In fact the Italians have been the only nation to own a World Championship podium, but Great Britain can now also have that memory thanks to Dexter Patterson, Chris Lulham and Harry Thompson.

© KSP Reportages

Things got off to a great start on Friday with Thompson taking pole position from Lulham with Francesco Raffaele Pizzi a somewhat surprising 3rd out of a bumper 93 kart grid which included 14 British drivers.

Of course with no Pre-Final the five heats for all drivers was crucial. To qualify for that all important final you had to be inside the top 34 positions. Mistakes in the heats could not only hurt your chances of winning the event but also qualifying for final.

Paul Flecther © KSP Reportages

For Harry Thompson, Chris Lulham and Dexter Patterson there was no such problems as they qualified for the final in the top three positions in that order. Other Brits to qualify for the final were Alex Simmonds (12th), Luca Griggs (13th), Angus Moulsdale (19th), Jonny Edgar (26th) and Alex Eades (27th). Unfortunately Zak O’Sullivan, Klaas Kooiker, Jamie Day, Joseph Taylor, Samuel Harrison and Josh Dufek they would watch from the sidelines.

Behind the top three Zane Maloney had made history by simply qualifying as he became the first driver from Barbados to appear in a World Championship final but the Ricky Flynn Motorsports driver would also pose a strong threat to the top three. Aleksey Brizhan would start 5th which came as a surprise considering he was down in 26th in this year’s European Championship. Gabriel Borteloto and Jack Doohan looked possible winners in 6th and 7th, starting 8th would be Belgium’s Antoine Potty and in 9th was this year’s Junior ROK Florida Winter Tour Champion Tyler Gonzales. Rounding out the top ten was Sweden’s Dino Beganovic.

Fernando Alonso with Ricky Flynn © KSP Reportages

With the cameras rolling and the PFI circuit full of spectators, among those Fernando Alonso, the Junior final got underway with two big changes on the opening lap. Maloney wasted no time in getting through to 3rd as the pack filtered over the Litchfield Bridge for the first time whilst Patterson took the lead from Thompson at hairpin two. However, Thompson would quickly fight back over the bridge on lap two with his RFM teammate Maloney following him through to take 2nd.

The lead change, along with some battling behind, had given the two teammates a break out front and Maloney tucked in behind for what looked could be a successful break away. However, behind lay the Forza Racing teammates of Patterson and Lulham and it wasn’t long before they had caught the leaders once again. Seeing this Maloney passed Thompson for the lead on lap four, but lost it to Patterson as they made their way into hairpin one. An unsuccessful attempt to re-take the lead from Maloney at hairpin two then gave the Scot a break with Maloney having to fend off a queue of five drivers behind.

Chris Lulham © KSP Reportages

Included in that queue was Alex Simmonds, representing Great Britain in this year’s CIK-FIA Karting Academy Trophy, the Piers Sexton Racing driver had driven a brilliant fifth lap to get himself into 5th place. However on lap six his attempt to pass Thompson unfortunately saw his race end after he made contact with Maloney which saw him spin. It looked to be an unfortunate incident which was devastating for Simmonds who looked on for a potential podium.

That incident saw Patterson, Lulham and Thompson over two seconds clear from the rest of the pack although they were 1.6 seconds apart themselves with twelve laps now remaining. The question now was could Patterson be caught? On home soil, he looked in a very comfortable position but a determined Lulham started to put in some impressive lap times to chase his teammate down with the chase complete by the end of lap twelve.

Harry Thompson © KSP Reportages

Over the next few laps Lulham was presented with opportunities to take the lead from Patterson, one coming on lap 17 (of 19) where a mistake from Patterson at hairpin one left him vulnerable but Lulham remained patient clearly waiting for the last lap. It’s not an unusual tactic of course, but with Thompson nearly four seconds back in 3rd I’m surprised he didn’t make his move then. On the penultimate lap heading down to the first hairpin once again Lulham had the run on Patterson but chose to push the Scot, it forced Patterson to defend at hairpin two but it confirmed a last lap attack was coming. It’s a risky strategy, but one that would look very impressive if it paid off. And if didn’t Lulham would become Vice World Champion. Win, win situation?

As the pair headed on to the last lap the crowd were watching with anticipation with Jamie Croxford (Forza Racing Team Manager) probably finding it hard to watch. Lulham was piling on the pressure but Patterson was defending remarkably well. It was surprising how calm the young Scot was given what was at stake, but you also felt Lulham wasn’t prepared to take any unnecessary risks.

Dexter Patterson leading Chris Lulham © KSP Reportages

Patterson led the pair out of the last corner for the final time to be greeted with a British crowd going wild! He had done it, his first year racing in OKJ, his first year racing in the World Championships and he would become just the tenth brit to become World Champion in over 50 years of CIK-FIA racing! It was a sterling drive and Dexter had made history and will always be remembered for that 19 laps of racing around PFI.

Lulham drove a very calm and collected race to crown himself the Vice World Champion, whilst Thompson didn’t look quite as happy with 3rd, but I’m sure on reflection will be satisfied with a World Championship podium on what is also his first year racing in the CIK-FIA World Championship. The first half of the race was exciting, the second tense but for the British fans a results that couldn’t get any better. An all British affair on the podium with the Senior race yet to come.

Dexter Patterson joins the likes of Terry Fullerton, Mike Wilson, Colin Brown, Lando Norris and Enaam Ahmed among others as a World Champion and Forza Racing will struggle to keep hold of him. However, Forza Racing are now European and World Champions with Patterson and Edgar so at this current time they rule Junior Karting.

Dexter Patterson © KSP Reportages

Click here to watch the OKJ Final

Click here to see full results

Written by Chris McCarthy

Images courtesy of KSP/CIK-FIA