|Ardigo and Barrabeig open the list of Macau “Karting” award winners|
Macau, which was once Portuguese, has now become Chinese again with a special regime; it is not just the Asian Las Vegas because of its plethora of casinos: it is also a historical Mecca for Motor Sport. Its Formula 3 Grand Prix is a major sporting event which saw the entry of several notorious drivers during their rise to Formula 1. The list of results of the prestigious Formula 3 event includes in particular the names of Ayrton Senna, of the brothers Schumacher and of David Coulthard. The programme of the Grand Prix, held on the 6-km town circuit, also recently integrated the final of the WTCC, the World Touring Car Championship.
As small as it may be (only 28 square km), the Macau territory includes a permanent circuit dedicated to Karting. Situated on the Coloane island, 12 km from the city centre, the Karting track is 1,200 m long and has a CIK-FIA licence since 2004.
Having organised international events in 2005 and 2006, the Automobile Club of Macau-China (AAMC) logically applied for the organisation of a CIK-FIA Championship and was thus granted the Asia-Pacific Championship of the KF1 and KF3 categories, which was organised on 13-16 December 2007. In addition to its joining the CIK-FIA Championships, this Asian event was an opportunity of seeing Indian drivers take part in a CIK-FIA competition for the very first time in the history of Karting.
More experienced and armed with their perfect knowledge of the new KF engines, European drivers dominated both Championships. In KF1, the Italian Marco Ardigo added a fourth major title to his credit in 2007: after having won the European Championship, the World Cup in Japan and the World Championship, he is now Asia-Pacific Champion! In Macau, Ardigo finished ahead of his new team-mate, the Finn Matias Laine, who was a good second and achieved the fastest lap time in the final for his first competition with the colours of Tony Kart. Victims of mechanical problems in the pre-final when in the lead, Gary Catt and Alessandro Bressan shone in the final by achieving fine recoveries, respectively to 3rd and 4th places. Second in the pre-final, the Dutch driver Jack Te Braak was classified 5th, ahead of Norway’s Eidjord, Japan’s Sugiyama, Nara and Kobayashi, while the good surprise of the event came from the Filipino Stefano Marcelo who completed the “Top 10”.
In Junior (KF3), the Spaniard Gerard Barrabeig showed himself quite unrelenting, successively carrying off practice, the heats, the pre-final and the final. He offered in the process his first CIK-FIA title to the FA Kart chassis dear to Fernando Alonso. The 2007 European Junior Vice-Champion, Tom Grice, and Carlos Sainz Jr (the son of the double World Rally Champion) accompanied Barrabeig on the final podium.