|MONACO - What a final! Out of all the races held within the framework of the 12th CIK-FIA Monaco Kart Cup, the final of the Juniors’ Grand-Prix – from flag to flag – held breathless the large number of spectators gathered around the circuit. In fact, the qualifying heats and prefinal had already been animated jousting dominated by a foursome composed of the Finn Aaro Vainio (Maranello-Maxter), the Swiss Jimmy Antunes (PCR-TM) and France’s Pascal Belmaaziz and Brandon Maisano (both on Intrepid-TM). These four hopefuls literally overshadowed the other 39 drivers in contention. |
Already author of the fastest qualifying practice time, 2008 European Champion Vainio emerged from the qualifying series in first position ahead of Antunes, Belmaaziz and Maisano. And while he was at it, the Finn carried off as well the prefinal ahead of Belmaaziz and Maisano, as the latter had taken third place from Antunes in the final corner.
Vainio started the final as leader, followed about like a shadow by Maisano, who took the lead in a braking manoeuvre at the hairpin on the second lap. Then there were approximately fifteen exciting laps, with our four drivers forming a compact line-up. Five laps from the finish, for lack of having been able to benefit from Maisano’s least swerve, Vainio put on a successful spurt in the “S” bend of the swimming pool, thus working his way up to first place again. Meanwhile, Belmaaziz and Antunes lost one length and let the duo Vainio and Maisano fight it out for victory. The Finn held until the final hairpin and arrived at this last difficulty on the inside line. Maisano hit him twice from the rear and managed to inch his way to cross the finishing line first... before getting a half-second penalty (which in fact meant a one-place penalty) because his driving was deemed too aggressive. Victory therefore went to Vainio, but the classification is still provisional because of the appeal lodged by Maisano’s entrant against the Stewards’ decision.
Vainio was not the only Finn who shone at Monaco. Behind the aforementioned leading foursome, three other “Flying Finns” managed a fine grouped fire from 5th to 7th place, with Jesse Antilla (Haase-VKR), Henri Rajala (Maranello-Maxter) and Elmeri Ylitalo (Haase-VKR). Other less successful drivers nonetheless distinguished themselves by achieving good recoveries in the final, such as Russia’s Maxim Zimin (Maranello-Maxter) who started 29th and finished 11th, or several drivers caught in a pile-up after the start, including the Dutchman Nick De Vries (10th, Zanardi-XTR), the Spaniard Carlos Sainz Jr (12th, FA Kart-Vortex) or the German Fabio Unverdruss (18th, Tecno-XTR).