|Ugento - 2007 European Championship; The Julie Tonelli European tour starts!|
Just two weeks after the Open Masters, the Pista Salentina in Ugento played host this weekend to a European KF1, KZ1 and KZ2 championship meeting. It was an historic event which marked the arrival of the high endurance 125cc engine on the international stage. Julie Tonelli was there in spirit of course, with a swarm of pink butterflies appearing on karts of all nations.
The Italian circuit is technically very difficult; it’s an old style track, full of bends, bumps and rubber, one that has to be properly mastered if you want to be fast, because the slightest mistake and you’re out. A real driver’s circuit! And drivers are one thing there’s no shortage of in a European championship race. Young pups with sharp teeth line up against old foxes with a pedigree as long as your arm.
Alessandro Piccini falls into the living legend category in the kart world, with titles galore : 2 French, 12 Italian, 3 European and 4 world titles. At 43 years old, Alessandro is still possessed by the race demon. He has just joined the Maranello team, and although the results are not yet quite what he was hoping for, he has no regrets about his choice, which was motivated by the excellent team spirit and the personality of boss Armando Filini. As a competitor, Alessandro may seem to be a tough nut but in fact he’s just an old softy! When his wife Jana told him about Julie’s stickers, it brought back vivid memories of the Tonykart beauty he crossed swords with on several occasions in France and Italy. With all the sensitivity of the true Pisces, he said he was moved by Julie’s story and
wanted to pay homage to her passion for karting by sporting her colours during the race. He even said how sorry he was not to have met Julie in person.
So it was that Julie went racing on a Tonykart. For some people this manufacturer’s name exercises the same magic as Ferrari in Formula One. With Tonykart’s fantastic string of results since the start of the nineties it’s easy to overlook the fact that the team was created in 1958. With the arrival in the 80’s of “Il Commendatore” Robazzi, a sea change took place at Tonykart which propelled it into the elite of the kart world. Whether or not Michael Schumacher comes back to karting (it’s still on the cards), Mr. Robazzi retains close links with the F1 fraternity. A surprise is apparently in store for us in the next round of the Open Masters in Jesolo.
PCR, at last! Everyone knows the PCR kart is fast and reliable, but it has been plagued with bad luck until recently. Thanks to the efforts of PCR and its engine magician François Convers, Armand’s star shone brightly in Ugento. Free at last from mechanical problems, he won two 2nd spots on the podium in KF1, picking up precious points for the European standings. This success was underscored by the 3rd and 2nd places won by Jérémy Iglesias in KZ1. Anthony Abbasse drove superbly to climb to 6th place in KF1 during the final race.
Sodikart worked extremely hard to provide the 2006 French rookie champion with a competitive machine and Anthony’s talent did the
rest! It augurs well for the upcoming FFSA Grand Prix race in Varennes. Sodikart newcomer Alban Varutti had a lot to learn this week-end. He was often the French manufacturer’s fastest driver out on the track but he was unable to fulfil his promise in the heats. But he is definitely a talent to watch out for in future European outings.
Benjamin Bailly was not able to perform to the best of his ability owing to a stupid scooter accident in which he picked up a hand injury. Despite his Dad’s magic potions (made of veal chops!), the young Belgian driver was in no fit state to go for victory.
Next Julie Tonelli meeting : The FFSA Grand Prix meeting in Varennes