21st September, Aunay les Bois, Essay, France
British drivers continued to dominate international karting for another year as Lando Norris and Enaam Ahmed were crowned world champions at Essay.
The weekend was different though. This was lottery: a single-round event in which only one error or mid-race incident could scupper any hopes of title joy. But both Norris and particularly Ahmed, put paid to any chances of that with mature drives. Following a bout of wet weather, the track was still drying by the time the KF Junior final came around. But Ahmed had taken all conditions in his stride. He demonstrated just how dominant he has been this season by claiming victories in all his heats as well as Sunday’s pre-final when running used tyres. But his fi nal hopes could have been dashed before they’d begun. His engine was not performing at 100 per cent and so Ahmed could only apply 75 per cent throttle. It allowed fellow Brit Daniel Ticktum to take the lead. But only for two corners. Ticktum spun at the le. -hand hairpin, dropping to 20th and allowing Ahmed to take a 1.6s lead to Belgian Benjamin Lessennes after the opening tour.
But Ahmed’s kart problems still weren’t solved and Lessennes began to gradually draw him in with Mick Junior up to third. Ross Martin had made an outstanding start, up to tenth from his 31st place start, with Alex Quinn going in the other direction. With Lessennes cutting the gap down to half a second, he suddenly dropped out with a race-ending engine problem, handing Ahmed another chance to draw away. The European champion had altered his carburettor and was now finally able to sprint clear from Mick Jr and celebrate by sliding across the track and over the line. Ticktum recovered to sixth. Last year’s world champion Tom Joyner began on pole for the KF final with Norris alongside. Recently crowned European champion Callum Ilott was at the back of the grid after retiring from the pre-final. Joyner led off the start with Norris down to fourth, but Joyner was forced to defend at Turn Two, a right hand hairpin. Despite initially holding off the challenge, Ilott ceded the lead to Jehan Daruvala who made an excellent start. By only the second tour, Ilott was on a surge and up to sixth. Daruvala had stretched out a one second gap to Norris but the Glastonbury racer was setting fastest laps and gradually cutting into the lead. As Daruvala regularly looked over his shoulder, Norris pounced up the inside at Turn Two on lap ten and gradually began to build his own lead which stretched as high as 1.2s. “The race went pre y much to plan,” Norris said. “I didn’t drop too far back and slowly got closer to Jehan. I didn’t lose too much time passing him and it was a crucial time in the race to make the move.”With Ilott up to fourth, Daruvala was forced to defend from Nikita Mazepin over the final laps, and succumbed halfway round the final tour to finish third.