|EQUIPE DE FRANCE/FFSA KARTING 2007|
In taking the team down to the Italian deep south, Franck Lagorce knew that things were not going to be easy. This year the Team France captain has selected mostly young drivers with the firm intention of
taking them to the highest level. But he realises this is not going to happen right from the first race of the season. Whatʼs more, the arrival on the scene of the new 125cc engines has shaken up the paddock and the performance levels are not the same from one team to
another. If you are not lucky enough to be racing with a one of the two or three top engine providers in the field them you have no hope of a place on the podium.
Under these conditions, Anthony Abbasseʼs sixth spot in the final
at the wheel of his Sodikart/TM is nothing short of a miracle! 20th after the qualifying heats, tenth in race 1, Anthony pulled on the usual magic boots to make his driving skills count. He was quick to recognise the value of the support he gets from Team France. "I always enjoy the trip to Franckʼs marquee. It gives me a chance to unwind, something I find very helpful. While the physios get to work on my body, Franck helps me out with race strategy and technical issues."
The other three Team France drivers met with mixed fortunes in this first European outing of the season. Alban Varutti has just joined a new team, in which he still has everything to learn. What matters to him is the chance to drive for a big team in the European championships even, as he puts it, "itʼs not easy to adapt!" Of course, the overall result is nothing to write home about but Alban was often one of the fastest Sodikart drivers out on the Ugento track.
He knows thatʼs all down to Lagorce, someone he considers more like an older brother than a manager. "He gives me a lot of moral support, helps me with my confidence and gives me the benefit of all his experience both for race strategy and technical aspects. He is someone I genuinely respect."
ICA 2006 World Cup winner Mike Courquin found it hard going with the new Intrepid chassis out on a difficult track that he didnʼt know. For Mike, Team France is beneficial. "As much for the mental as the physical support I get. The captain and two physios know how to build morale when we need it and help us perform at our best." Mike needed this weekend to continue his mental preparation and to get his machine ready. This puts him in good shape for the next round of racing. Although still only 22, Mike is the oldest member of the team, and he has a wise head on his shoulders.
Jean-Philippe Guignet is without doubt the one who brings the most to his teammates. He is someone who loves to share what he has learnt
over many years racing. He was delighted to accept Franck Lagorceʼs proposition to become a member of what is "A fantastic team because of the bossʼs personality". Jean-Philippe is someone who is always up for a challenge like the one he has taken on by joining Team France. A former driver in the team, the challenge is similar to the one he faces with his team CRG, in which he is the only driver developing Maxter engines. He is prepared to sacrifice results today in order to be stronger tomorrow. He runs on trust, both with his race team and with Team France, and that trust is reciprocated.
The decision to support four KF1 drivers this year instead of the previous seven FA drivers demonstrates FFSA Karting Team Franceʼs desire to invest in young talent and to set ambitious long-trem objectives. What happened at Ugento is perfectly in line with this new policy.
Rendez-vous in a monthʼs time in Varennes for the next episode in the European odyssey.