|Mackenzie Taylor further under-lined his credentials with a fantastic 3rd place at Alcaniz in Spain yesterday (13 July). The 15-year old was competing in the Western Region qualifying race, where only the top 21 drivers would proceed to the European KF3 Championship - to be held at Varennes, France in September (6/7).|
Not only was he up against some of Western Europe’s best young drivers, but also the heat. He explains, “The weather was very hot – over 40 degrees – and coping with that was always going to be a factor. The time I spent in the heat chamber at Kingston University really helped, and I was able to deal with the conditions very well as a result.”
This was reflected by his performance in Timed Qualifying, when he recorded the 8th fastest time overall (out of 56 competitors) and was the top British driver. In the following (and appropriately named) heats, the Ricky Flynn Motorsport driver took two 3rd places, a 10th and 5th to put him 5th in the intermediate classification.
“The Alcaniz circuit is incredible – it’s so big they were testing cars on it last week. The first corner is taken flat-out and in my heats, I’d got great starts. And the straights are so long that up to 5 people could pass you by slip-streaming you down them, and then simply pulling out of the tow at the end. It was that extreme and made for some exciting racing. In the first final, I got another good start and was up to 2nd almost immediately. However, three drivers slip-streamed me down one of the straights and moved me off-line going into a corner. I got dirt on my tyres and dropped down the order. By the end I was 11th – not good at all. It was such a rough race because you had to be really careful not to be hit off the circuit. It was mad.”
In the 2nd final, he again got a blistering start, and within three corners had passed 7 karts and was up to 4th place by the end of the opening lap. “I’d been told by (team boss) Ricky Flynn to change my driving style - to be smoother, calmer and not as fast into the corners – and it really helped. I caught the leaders and worked my way into 2nd place. The leader had opened a big gap but I chased him down, caught him and then went for the lead.”
Mackenzie’s lead would only last for one lap, when eventual winner, Frenchman Brandon Maisano assumed the advantage - “As the race ran to its conclusion, (the initial leader) Michael Heche made a lunge, got alongside me and moved me off line. I just ran out of laps to catch him and Maisano back up” he shrugged. He added, “I’m pleased to have qualified for the European Championship, and there’s a psychological benefit for having beaten a quality field to a podium place.
With no time to savour his success, Mackenzie will head to the Sarno circuit near Naples for next weekend’s (19/20 July) 4th round of the international Winning Series Karting Championship. He says, “Sarno is must-win for my WSK title hopes. There’s no finishing 2nd or 3rd, I have to win. If I can repeat my Angerville performance (where Mackenzie dominated the series’ visit to France back in April) then I’ll be pleased.”
Visit Mackenzie’s website - www.mackenzietaylor.co.uk - to see how he gets on at Alcaniz, and to follow his fortunes throughout the rest of the 2008 season.