|It was a brilliant finish to the international season for Intrepid Force Rotax last weekend when two of their three team drivers finished on the podium at the final round of the Rotax Euro Challenge and secured top 3 place in the overall championship. |
Dominik Kraihamer claimed the 2008 Vice Champion's title when he finished 3rd in the Rotax 2-speed DD2 class. He was second fastest in qualifying Friday when he set a new track record in the first timed session. Having just missed out on winning the pre-final which he led for some time, he was beaten to the line by the round 4 winner and newly crowned Belgian Champion Maik Barten.
For the final the IFR driver started on the front row but was forced to run wide on the outside of the notorious turn 1. He then worked his way back up into 3rd, with enough points to claim the runner's up trophy in the overall 2008 European Rotax championship. This also means at just 18 years of age, Kraihamer will represent Austria for the third time at the Rotax Grand Finals, which this year goes to La Conca in Italy late November.
“It was a good weekend and from the beginning we were able to be fast. The pre-final came down to a battle between leader Maik Barten and myself, after I had to work my back to the front from losing places at the start. I was a little nervous for the final, knowing that my closest opponent was on equal point going into the last race. I pushed very hard and was able to finish 3rd, while he was a few places behind me. This was very satisfying and I was really happy when I got the chequered flag. I want to thank all the people who have supported me, my mechanics this year Werner and Ben, my team manager and friend Ernst and my dad.”
The second podium came as a result of the team’s New Zealand Senior Max driver Josh Hart driving his way from 8th in the championship points, up to 3rd with a 3rd place in the final at the challenging Karting Genk circuit. Hart joined the Salzburg team in the 2nd round of the series and the 22-year old has been impressive throughout the remainder of season. He also received an invitation together with his DD2 team mate to compete at the Rotax Grand Finals against some of the best drivers in their class from around the World.
“It was always going to be a long shot to get a top 3 overall but we never gave up and got the result we wanted. In the pre-final I had a good first two laps and got into 2nd but was passed and went offline, losing a lot of places. Although I only finished 7th, the Intrepid kart got better and better. I managed to get into 4th early in the final and then up to 3rd but didn’t have the speed to catch the leaders. It was a pleasing result and I’m very happy to finish on the podium at the final round. It has been a great year driving with the team and I would like to thank all my mechanics – Steve, Werner and Aldo plus everyone else who helped out in some way. I’d also like to thank Ernst for giving me the chance to race with the team in Europe this year.”
Young Australian rookie Daniel Rochford didn’t have such good luck when he was forced out of the final on the opening lap. However, he did an exceptional job to run amongst the top 10 in all four races Saturday to qualify on row 8 for IFR in the pre-final. It has been a tough learning year for Rochford competing in Europe of the first time.
Intrepid drivers also dominated the racing and the podium ceremony taking the honours in the Senior Max for the 4th round, the 2008 Junior Max title and first two places in the class for the weekend, the Rookie of the Year, as well as the Champion’s title and winner’s trophy in the Max Masters and consolation MOJO Cup. To top-off their outstanding weekend, Intrepid Kart Technology was also awarded the Chassis Make Trophy in both the Junior Max & Rotax Max Masters classes. IFR team manager Ernst Penninger & TKP Holland boss Ton Vink gladly accepted the trophies on behalf of the Italian chassis manufacturer.
Team manager Ernst Penninger claims the success of IFR comes from their ‘Race To Get There’ approach.
“It is a fantastic result for us and one of our biggest successes up to now. I actually think the European championship is the ultimate racing level in Rotax racing. It’s always been our aim to be at the top in the Euro. We’ve been able to show that we can be competitive and that the work the team does moves us in the right direction. It proves also that new drivers or rookies who have the passion and ambition to succeed can be competitive and gain top results. We knew that we had the chance to finish on the podium in two classes and although the Max category seemed nearly impossible, we worked towards it. For me, it’s an exciting achievement and I have to thank all the team for their effort, our team principal Norbert Kraihamer who has the passion and dedication that lets us be successful, as well as the support from all our valued partners.”
All the latest news can be found at the team’s official website by going to – www.racetogetthere.com or on their Race homepage – www.intrepidforcerotax.com