|Taking place at Angerville, about 70 kilometres to the south of Paris, the first round of the CIK-FIA European Karting Championships got under way this Friday afternoon with the first serious competitive session, the timed qualifying practice. Frenchman Armand Convers in KF1 and Belgian Jonathan Thonon in KZ1 made perfect starts to their weekend by securing pole position. But it's a long way yet to Sunday's finals¦.. |
There are 177 drivers and they come from all 4 corners of Europe, with Japan, Canada and the United States are also represented here. Taking part in Classes KF1 (the premier class of 125cc direct drive) KZ1 (the premier class for 125cc gearbox karts) and KZ2 (the second tier of 125cc gearbox karts), they all gathered at the Gabriel Thirouin Angerville circuit for the first action in the European Championships.
At first glance, the competition would appear to be more open than ever in KF1 where, at the end of qualifying, one second covered the 43 drivers. And it was only by 0.05 (five hundredths) of a second that Frenchman Armand Convers (PCR-TM) set the best time. The PCR factory spearhead led the young Dutch hope Jack Te Braak (Zanardi-Parilla) and the astonishing Frenchman Jean-Philippe Guignet showing a return to form on his CRG-Maxter. In 4 th place was the Belgian rookie Yannick de Brabander (Intrepid-TM) who took the rare pleasure of going quicker than 3 times European Champion and reigning World Champion Marco Ardigo (Tony Kart-Vortex), 5 th but by a margin of just 0.169 of a second. Following them were the Finn Matias Laine (Tony-Vortex), Italy's Alessandro Bressan (Kosmic-Vortex) and Arnaud Kozlinski (CRG-Maxter), the second Frenchman.
Winner of the World Cup in 2007 and hot favourite for the European Championship, Jonathan Thonon (CRG-Maxter) confirmed his status by already taking pole position in KZ1. The Belgian headed his Italian team mate, and holder of the European title, Alessandro Manetti, by 0.133 of a second. With Manuel Cozzaglio (Intrepid-TM), Rick Dreezen (CRG-Maxter) and Roberto Toninelli (Intrepid-TM) completing the top 5, the Belgians and the Italians are well in the hunt, as CRG-Maxter and Intrepid-TM also lead the way. To challenge this domination are the Dutch ex European champion Bas Lammers (Top Kart TM), the Frenchmen Thomas Mich (Birel TM) and Norman Nato (Intrepid TM) and the Italians Davide Gaggianesi (Tony Kart Vortex) and Alesandro Piccini (Maranello-TM). Without doubt, as the first of the qualifying races take place on Saturday, the KZ1 class will be very hotly disputed.