|The second round of the 2009 GPOs, which has just ended at Mariembourg (Belgium) has been another success. The «New Look» French Championship is now heading in the right direction and the satisfaction rate is increasingly higher. With the adjustments made after Angerville, the competition took place under the best conditions and the series promoter continued to receive signs of interest for the GPOs.|
The most important novelty of this GPO almost went unnoticed, that takes the biscuit! Upon Thierry Germanovitch’s initiative, the last remaining concerns in the paddock about the homogeneity of the Bridgestone tyres were dispelled. The Japanese manufacturer delivered rigorously identical tyres in each category, identifiable by their code, thereby ending all rumours and ensuring true sports fairness.
Atmosphere at the now traditional GPO evening party was excellent. Always open to everybody, this event attracted even more people under the GPO Club structure, a place to exchange views and meet friends. Neither Saturday’s dismal weather conditions, nor Sunday morning’s rain cooled down the enthusiasm of participants. The presence of about fifty Challenge Rotax drivers attracted a high number of fans, with all the passion of their noble amateurism. As expected, the number of drivers in the 3 categories was slightly lower than at Angerville, with about fifteen drivers. Given that Mariembourg was cancelled from the CIK calendar, some foreign drivers could not be there. On the other hand, the closeness to the European KF2 & KF3 qualifying round was a disincentive for some teams that cannot easily split their time. The GPO appeal is not under discussion, on the contrary, it has been enhanced by the announcement of the confirmation of the French Super KF Championship (drivers’ and constructors’ titles), held in a single round during next Essay GPO; then, the following day, there will be a series of Bridgestone tests for the main teams.
The competition offered exciting races: the best drivers dominated and also showed some real pieces of courage. Though firmly at the lead in the KZ2 final, Norman Nato (Intrepid/TM) achieved an impressive performance on Saturday, while on Sunday his duel with Thomas Mich (Birel/TM) and Anthony Abbasse (Sodi/TM) delighted even the most self-controlled spectators. In KF3, Alex Baron (Tony Kart/Vortex) showed all the extent of his young and impressive talent whose maturity grows at each new race.
In Belgium, a new leader emerged in the KF2, i.e. Sébastien Bailly (Tony Kart/Vortex), irresistible in his homeland. After some difficulty with his kart, Brandon Maïsano (Intrepid/TM) had not a single chance to defend his first place, but there is no doubt that the outgoing French KF3 Champion will be able to make up for lost time already at Essay.
But stars were not the only protagonists on the very technical Belgian track. In KZ2, Clément Da Silva (Birel/TM) started a last blood fight on Saturday and conquered the second place twice. Christophe Benoit (Birel/Maxter) reached the Super Pole on Sunday ahead of the best drivers. In the Junior category, Pierre Gasly (Sodi/Parilla) won the 2 Super Poles, while Pascal Belmaaziz (Intrepid/TM) and Enzo Guibbert (Birel/TM) missed the exploit several times and Sébastien Bédoret (DR/Parilla) scored some important points. In KF2, Belgian Guillaume De Ridder (CRG/Vortex) and Kenny Vermeylen (Tecno/Parilla) rebelled against Sébastien Bailly’s domination, while Loïc Réguillon (Sodi/Parilla) and Clément Bluy (Tony Kart/Vortex) defended at best the French colours. The French Championship is therefore still very open. It will continue soon in Normandy, at next GPO Essay on 6 & 7 June.