|FFSA 2007 KARTING GP/The dawn of a new era|
The 2007 FFSA Grand Prix season kicks off in Normandy next April 6/7 on the Essay circuit. In July, the same track will play host to the western region KF2 and KF3 European Championship qualifiers. For Claude Gripon and his team at K61 this is just reward for their highly-effective organisational skills.
In 2007, Championnat de France races will be on the CIK/FIA calendar. The FFSA will be pursuing its much imitated championship format, comprising 4 Grand Prix races spread over what is expected to be season of transition, one in which the competition will be wide open between those drivers who decide to try their luck. This open championship will see drivers from 12 different nations competing in a field in which over 40% of entries come from abroad. 6 out of the 9 drivers in this year’s French Kart Team will be competing. Full media coverage is promised, with reports going out on the AB Moteurs channel and a large number of journalists and photographers in attendance.
Elite KF1: quality rather than quantity...
The relatively small field for the opening race of the season in the top category is probably explained by the particularly arduous preparation this class requires. But the quality of racing on offer is unlikely to suffer. Armand Convers will be defending the title he won in 2006 against French national team drivers Anthony
Abbasse - the reigning Espoir class Champion - and Mike Courquin, winner of the ICA World Cup race in Angerville. Among other leading contenders are Arno Santamato, who drove so brilliantly in the World Cup, Julien Poncelet, the former European FA champion, Nathanaël Berthon, who came 3rd in the Italian championship race at the end of March in Sarno, Florian Alfano, and Briton Millroy. All of them will be vying for the top spot, so watch out for a festival of overtaking from these experienced drivers !
Espoir KF2: A straight fight between France and Belgium?
This class has the biggest entry of the Championships, with over 40 drivers taking part. Belgian driver Robin Frijns, who is the reigning Junior champion of France, will have his work cut out if he is to shine at this higher level against the likes of French national team drivers Loïc Réguillon and Benjamin Da Silva. Other talented Belgians like Sami Luka and Ronnie Latine will be trying to counter the ascension of Frenchmen such as Benedetti, Lacaze, Lesca, the Bluy brothers, Bourg and Pialat. Three young ladies will be competing and they won’t be expecting gallantry from the opposite sex! They are Stéphanie Lompech, Charlotte Coune and Laura Tillett.
Junior KF3: All aboard for new discoveries!
This class is the one in which new engines are expected to play a big role, with significant performance gains this year. It’s hard to see anyone other than Brandon Maïsano or Christopher Quillet – both now members of the French national team – setting the best lap times in what will be their 2nd season at this level. Vice-Champion of France in the Minime class, Kevin Mourey might well be up there amongst the leaders and the same goes for Belgian drivers Sébastien Bailly and Guillaume De Ridder. However, the Junior class will probably throw up some surprises as it always does, so look out for a few outsiders making a name for themselves in Normandy.
125 KZ2: uncertainty reigns.
Nothing major new here on the engineering front, everything is tried and tested. So you can be sure that the battle will be intense between the more experienced drivers and the young pretenders in the most powerful category of the weekend. Here too a defending champion will be bent on keeping his crown, in other words Thomas Mich. But he will be up against a host of 125 specialists in the shape of Thomas Letailleur, Tony Lavanant and his team-mates in Energy Corse, Mathias Gallepe, Danny Bleek and Ricardo Romkema, not forgetting Cédric Goudant, Paul Louveau, Belgian driver Benoît Pécasse (a former 125 champion) and of course young hopefuls Enzo Zéférini and Hugo Valente. The progress of three outsiders stepping up from N125 will be keenly watched - Pierre Krypciak, Joachim Ré and Vincent Fontenille.