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Joseph Taylor leaves season opener 4th

Joseph Taylor leaves season opener 4th

Joseph Taylor got his CIK-FIA Karting Academy Trophy campaign off to a good start with 4th place at round one last weekend in Genk, leaving him 4th in the standings. Alex Simmonds didn’t quite have the same fortunes and was 21st after a penalty in the final.

After weeks of waiting the time had finally come for the start of the Academy season. As chosen by the MSA, the drivers representing Great Britain in the annual championship would be Joseph Taylor and Alex Simmonds. They would have a lot to live up to after Callum Bradshaw became the first British champion in the series since it’s birth nine years ago.

In qualifying Taylor showed a statement of intent with 4th place out of the 49 entries, whilst Simmonds slightly struggled finishing 22nd. Three heats for each driver would follow before a change format for 2017 would see a final immediately follow, rather than a Pre-Final.

Throughout the qualifying heats Taylor rarely fell backwards finishing 2nd, 5th before he took a win in his third and final heat. Simmonds seemed to be recovering well with a 12th and 11th but a DNF in heat three affected his starting position for the final heavily.

Taylor would start 3rd for the final whilst Simmonds would go off the outside of row 14.

The final itself was a fairly dull one with a lead battle not really starting until the final two laps. Out front a good start for Taylor saw him hang with Mike van Vugt for the first few laps, but once the Dutch driver settled in he was gone and would never be seen again as he went on to take a commanding victory!

Behind Taylor was being caught by Xavier Handsaeme who went past about 12 laps in to the 19-lap final. It got worse for Taylor, as Tijmen van der Helm overtook him on the next lap before Oliver Skov Skjellerup demoted him to 5th with two laps to go. Skjellerup then immediately passed Handsaeme who had lost his 2nd place to van der Helm. Skjellerup did manage to hold off Handsaeme and Taylor for the remaining lap and a half but would receive a 13 second penalty post-race for an incorrectly positioned front fairing and for partially leaving the corridors at the start.

So, the new top four was Van Vugt, van der Helm, Handsaeme and Taylor. Rounding out the top five was Jamie Day from the UAE.

Alex Simmonds’ race didn’t quite go to plan, from 28th on the grid he did a good job in a competitive field to work his way through to 17th but received a front fairing penalty which dropped him back to 21st.

Speaking of penalties, in total 11 drivers received front fairing penalties in the final alone!

Tijmen van der Helm

Championship standings:

1st Mike van Vugt (NLD) – 35 points
2nd Tijmen van der Helm (NLD) – 25 points
3rd Xavier Handsaeme (BEL) – 25 points
4th Joseph Taylor (GBR) – 21 points
23rd Alex Simmonds (GBR) – 0 points

The next round of the championship takes place at Le Mans on the 2nd July. Taylor is a confirmed title contender after round one and will hope to continue that at Le Mans whilst Simmonds will I’m sure be hoping to prove just what kind of results he can get when things go his way!

Click here to see full results from the event

Click here to see the full championship standings

Click here to watch all videos from the event

Mike van Vugt


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