|Abbasse and Varutti amongst the top drivers in KF1|
Franck Lagorce was expecting the World Cup weekend in Mariembourg to be difficult for his 2007 FFSA Team France drivers. He wasn’t wrong either, because there were many disappointed faces in the team after the race. There were, however, some bright spots. This season has been an awkward one because of the new KF kart engine homologations. On the whole, it’s been a lacklustre season for the team but there are good reasons to expect better things in 2008, when the undoubted talent of our drivers will be rewarded.
The KF2 class was particularly hard on the FFSA Team France represen- tatives. Right from the timed laps it was plain that qualifying was not going to be easy. The main problem for the drivers, racing against international competition, was to get the right chassis set up to cater for their Dunlop tyres. With Charles Lacaze 19th, Norman Nato, 28th and Loïc Réguillon only 47th fastest, it was clear that they were going to have all their work cut out during the qualifying heats. For Charles, who was often buffeted during the starting dash, it was a nightmare. Already victim of one accident on the Saturday, it all went wrong for him on the Sunday when he got shunted off the track in the warm up lap, hurting himself into the bargain. Loïc Réguillon and his team never managed to find the right set up for his kart to be competitive on the Fagnes Kart Track, which is particularly challenging from the adherence point of view. With two of its three drivers failing to make the cut during qualifying, Franck Lagorce’s team was relying on Norman Nato, who had
qualified in 30th position, to fly the flag during the final. Norman was not enamoured with the way his kart was performing, and suffered a broken clutch in the prefinal race, which dashed all hope he had of moving up the field. Disappointed or not, Norman is a battler, but it took all the fighting spirit he could muster to work his way up to a more respectable 18th place.
In the higher KF1 category, the first ever World Championship in the class drew an entry of some of the finest drivers you could ever hope to see. But such has been the domination of TonyKart on the international scene this season that the result of the race was something of a foregone conclusion. Jean-Philippe Guignet needed all his customary stoicism to put up with a kart that was neither reliable nor on song. Mike Courquin recognised that he was short of practice laps to get his kart set up properly for this level of competition. Anthony Abbasse never got going during his two timed laps and qualified way back down in 27th place. Once more it was Alban Varutti who got into the most promising position of the bunch, qualifying in 14th place. He confirmed his potential by moving up two spots in the prefinal. Abbasse got caught up in a prang going into the second bend on the first lap and had to drop out of the race shortly after.
So FFSA Karting Team France went into the final with one driver on the 6th line and another on the 15th. As Varutti moved quickly up amongst the leaders into 6th place, Abbasse, fired up more than ever, made the most of his nearnew tyres to get off to an amazing start and started carving his way up through the field: «I’d warmed my brakes up properly during the warm up laps so I was ready to attack as soon as
the lights went out.» And so he did, picking off his rivals one by one. At last he had a perfectly set up kart in his hands, and he made the most of it to string together the exploits. By the end of 5th lap he’d made up an amazing 15 places in the race. His next lap was the fastest in the race until that point. The crowds had there eyes riveted on Anthony as much as they did on the leaders! «Just how much ground would he be able to make up?» everyone wondered. The only problem was that he ran out of laps. He was in the top ten by the 8th lap and entered the top five in the 17th. As the chequered flag loomed he had 3rd placed Bollingtoft firmly in his sights. The least we can say is that his performance caught the eye of an admiring crowd. So in the end it was a smiling Franck Lagorce who congratulated Anthony Abbasse on his 4th place (the top-placed French driver) and Alban Varutti on his 6th spot. It turned out to be a great result for FFSA Karting Team France!