|When FFSA Karting Grand Prix was reorganised at the beginning of this year, the focus was on funding the French karting championship. The best pilots were awarded as much as 3,500 € per meeting, which is quite an effort. But this is not everything: the first 3 three drivers of each category gained access to a Formula Academy test, with a fat cheque for the best, at the end of the day. It was Anthony Abbasse who won the 30,000 € jackpot on the Bugatti circuit bathed in rain.|
Drivers who deserted the meeting were very wrong, while drivers who underwent the test certainly did not regret their being there! Three Frenchmen (Anthony Abbasse, Emilien Grosso and Jonathan Hélias) and a Belgian (Guillaume De Ridder): these were the members of the small group of passionate drivers who gathered on Thursday, November 6th at Auto Sport Academy, while the weather hesitated between mist and drizzle. After a briefing, the 4 drivers took their marks in Formula Academy for a few exercises: acceleration, braking, trajectories. It was not easy, because the track was very slippery and they had no experience with single-seaters, and sometimes not even with driving a car, such as Jo Hélias, who declutched/let in the clutch and changed gears for the very first time in his life! At 13, this is pretty normal… Although the first impression was a bit disconcerting for novices, Julien Poncelet’s and Malo Olivier’s advice quickly allowed them to complete a few laps honourably. Meanwhile, Anthony Abbasse and Guillaume De Ridder skilfully perfected their trajectories, evidently favoured by their knowledge of the car and of the circuit.
But it was not a racing day and the jury’s selection criteria took
into account adaptation skills as well as the evolution of each driver’s driving performance. Anthony Abbasse clearly dominated the
group at this little game. Fast, but also regular in his performance,
with a good approach to track conditions and a good progression, this driver from the Île-de-France region logically won the challenge.
When Patrick Caron came to hand him over a giant cheque of 30,000 €, he thanked him with a big smile. «It’s incredible, thank you so much! I don’t know what’s going to happen in 2009. Singleseaters are tempting, but I still like karting… We will see, but now I have an important asset. Thanks again to the FFSA».
The other drivers were just as happy. «I have made a lot of progress
during the day», said Jo Hélias, the youngest of the group. «I have discovered single-seaters, the Bugatti circuit, the heel-andtoe
technique and a lot of other things, all on the same day! This is
An overall positive result for Emilien Grosso, too: «Adapting was a
bit hard this morning, but I became more confident in the afternoon
session and in the end it was terrific!»
Joung Guillaume De Ridder was Abbasse’s most determined opponent. Thanks to the experience acquired during a series of selections
organised by RACB, Guillaume felt immediately at ease: «What FFSA has made is great! I wouldn’t have missed this opportunity for nothing in the world. It was fantastic!» I will still compete in karting next year, I am only 15, but one day, who knows…»