|Dream debut for Taylor: KF3 star wins first time out with new team|
Mackenzie Taylor won the first round of the Torneo Industrie (aka: the Industrial Trophy) at Parma, Italy (6/7 October) on his debut with Ricky Flynn Motorsport.
In a race marred by “crashing and bashing” and with penalties and appeals flying about the paddock afterwards, the teenager crossed the line in 3rd place, but was later awarded second after initial winner Marc Coleselli was given a 10-second penalty.
But as the protests and exclusions continued – long after the team had left the circuit - it emerged on Monday morning that Spanish driver, Gerard Barrabeig Pons had also been excluded, thus handing Mackenzie the win. He said: “I knew on Sunday I’d been promoted to 2nd after Coleselli was given a 10-second penalty. Funnily enough, we were checking-in at the airport and I said to Dad that I would’ve been a lot happier if I’d been promoted 1 place higher on the podium - and now I have! Maybe dreams do come true?!”
The ending may have been perfect, but the beginning of his weekend was less so. In Timed Qualifying the 14-year old recorded the 10th fastest time but was 25th overall (out of 54) - and things didn’t improve in the first heat. Mackenzie found himself knocked off the circuit and down to last place but despite a spirited charge back through the field, he ran out of laps and finished in 20th place.
Matters began to improve when he took 8th place in the 2nd heat – after starting 20th on the grid. This put the Ashford teenager 12th in the intermediate classification and onto the grid for the main final but down in 23rd position.
Mackenzie admitted that the sheer level of grip on the circuit had taken him by surprise but said: “I was confident for the final. Ricky (Flynn) gave me advice about how to drive the corners and told me to ‘push hard and take every opportunity available’, which I did.”
A good start saw the new RFM driver avoid the first corner accidents, before getting his head down and moving forward. After a close-fought battle, the front four crossed the line with just 9 tenths of a second between them and Mackenzie in third. Clearly delighted with his performance, he said - “I wasn’t expecting things to be brilliant after qualifying (in which he finished 25th overall) but I kept pushing and got through the carnage.”
Team boss, Ricky Flynn jokingly played down Taylor’s performance - “He’s getting the hang of it. It’s fine for the first race”, before adding, “No, it’s very pleasing.”
Mackenzie and the RFM team return to the Italian circuit next weekend (13/14 October) for the second round of the annual double-header event. He said “I’m second in the overall points table now just 1 point behind Kevin Ceccon (Italy)”, and with his confidence sky-high, the 2005 Cadet champion added: “I can’t wait”.