|Braga’s Kartodromo has not brought a lot of luck to the French pilots in the past. The Portuguese circuit, which has hosted several international competitions, complicated once again the task of the French pilots. There are several explanations for this, the main being|
that today’s karting competitions require the maximum participation to international races, in order to find the right set-up and fine-tune the driving technique in often agitated packs. The talent of pilots from Equipe de France FFSA Karting is not under discussion and although overall results in the European Championship are a little deceiving, motivation remains high with a view to the world meeting at Muro Leccese (Italy), in September.
All the pilots competing in Braga were dependent on an piece which is essential for KF engines: the clutch. It must be able to pass CIK’s checks, in particular the new check before and after the race: getting over a 12 mm ruler without the engine crossing the limit of 5,000 rpm. At the same time, the clutch must skilfully skip at the end of the bent and bring the surplus of power necessary to leave
the other pilots behind. This is a complex cat-and-mouse game with regulations, in which our Italian friends excel.
Another difficulty faced by the French team relates to the tyres used in the European Championship. Dunlop hard tyres in KF2, free and very soft tyres in KF1: this mix of tyre types is unusual and needs a not very evident chassis adjustment during races. In this case as well, the French were not favoured.
In KF2, it was William Benedetti who showed the most regular performances throughout the weekend, by driving with increasing
ease. Well helped by his equipment, which was efficiently prepared by the Kosmic/Vortex team, he is learning to fight hard in highly competitive races, where pilots must not let themselves be frightened
by the biting competitiveness of other participants. After an excellent 12th place in timed qualifying, William improved during the heats. He was unfairly penalised by 5’’ for a contact provoked by the mischievousness of another pilot.
The important thing is that he bravely recovered positions in the pre-final, before a crush damaged his chassis and he had to go through a difficult final, where he finished 25th. Loïc Réguillon alternated fast laps to difficult heats. He showed his best performance in the final, with a kart that was always in on it. After starting from the back of the grid, he overtook a dozen pilots and crossed the finishing
line in 20th position. Charles Lacaze, one of the fastest during free practice, was again disturbed while he was recovering after a mediocre
timed qualifying. He missed the final phases just for 2 points.
In KF1, the Sodikart pilots did a lot of work on their equipment, but were not capable of fully taking advantage of it. However, they regularly made progress from timed qualifying to the last race, and kept improving their positions. Anthony Abbasse finished in 14th position, while Alban Varutti was 15th. Although Jean-Philippe Guignetque is no longer a member of Equipe de France this season, his superb victory deserves our compliments. It marks the return of this
French pilot to top level results after several years of absence from international podiums. When we think of all the difficulties he had to go through over the past year and the hard work he has made to get back to the top, we can only encourage the pilots from Equipe de France FFSA Karting to follow his example.