|In another oustanding weekend of racing for the team at round 3 of the Rotax Euro Challenge in the Czech Republic, Intrepid Force Rotax driver Dominik Kraihamer has once again made the winners’ podium in the 2-speed DD2 class with a brilliant third place. |
It was the first time the event has been hosted by the Autodrom Česká Lípa circuit in Sosnova and practice days leading up to the meeting were limited, but this didn’t stop the 18-year old Austrian from taking his second Euro trophy in as many rounds. After qualifiying 4th, Kraihamer consistently ran in the top 5 throughout Saturday’s heat races and the Pre-final Sunday morning. As a result of taking 3rd in the Final, he is now just two points behind 2nd place with one round remaining.
The extremely pleased IFR driver explained afterwards that it was a great outcome considering “I made a small mistake during the final and lost some ground, so I couldn’t catch up to the leaders. But I kept driving and refocused to hold my position for 3rd. The Intrepid kart felt pretty good after we’d made some changes for the last race. I'm looking forward to racing at Genk and believe I can finish in the top three in the championship. It would be awesome to qualify again to race for Austria at the Rotax Grand Finals [in Italy this November].”
IFR’s Senior Max driver Josh Hart also looked like he might be sipping the champagne at Sosnova, after qualifying 3rd in the 76-kart field, in a repeat of his superb effort at the previous round in Germany. He won three of his four qualifying heats but was penalized for a false start, leaving him 5th on the grid for the Pre-final. After finishing a disappointing 8th in that race, the multiple New Zealand champ (now racing for Austria) drove a fantastic final to take 5th place and move up into 7th in the championship points. He is now determined to make the overall Euro Challenge podium at the deciding round in Belgium in September, which would give him a personal invitation by engine manufacturers BRP-Rotax to his 4th Grand Finals.
“I had a good start when the race was re-run after the red flag and got up to 4th, but struggled with understeer at the beginning. I went back to 6th and then regained a place for 5th. I was quick enough in the right places and as the race went on, got a bit stronger,” Hart said. “All weekend we seemed to struggle to get the balance in the kart. It also didn’t help when our good engine seized in Saturday morning’s warm-up. I’d like to thank the team for the huge effort all week. 5th is not the result we wanted but it’s something to improve on at Genk.”
In his first season in seniors, 17-year old Daniel Rochford really showed how much he’s achieved since racing with IFR against some of the World’s best Rotax drivers in Europe. The young Aussie has been working hard on his training and testing when he’s home, dedicating a lot of time to making sure he has the best opportunity to succeed. His goal was to not only qualify for the finals at round 3 Sunday, but also be in the top 20. He did just that, qualifying 19th and starting the pre-final on P17, to come through to 13th in some tough racing. The final was not as easy, as Rochford found during the 17-lapper but to his credit he drove an impressive race to finish 18th. He was happy with the weekend but now sees the possibility of being in the top 10 without any doubt.
“The starts for me were really good. In the final I actually got up to 8th from grid 13 but then it was red-flagged [after an accident]. I made up a few positions in the re-run until I was hit by another kart from behind while I was making a passing move, then ran wide and the kart bogged down. I’ve learnt a lot this weekend… not just about kart set-up but also gained more race experience. The level of the racing is really, really hard yet I think it’s realistically possible to be in the top 3, but everything must be exactly right.”
Round 4 of the Rotax Euro Challenge takes place in September at the Karting Genk circuit in Belgium, where the team has scheduled testing next month leading up to the series decider. They will also bring in another young international driver for the Junior Max class, as part of the ‘Race To Get There’ strategy for 2009.
Further updates, news and photos can be found at the team’s official website – www.racetogetthere.com or at www.intrepidforcerotax.com