|This weekend, the Basse-Normandie region of France welcomes, on the Essay kart circuit, the European Championship for the Super KF and KF2 classes. In Super KF, karting’s top category, British driver Oliver Rowland set the best time in qualifying practice ahead of the young Finn Aaro Vainio, the championship leader. In KF2, the Italian Felice Tiene just headed Frenchman Clement Bluy. But the competition is very tight! |
The third and final round of the European Championship for Karting’s top class, the Super KF category which takes place this weekend at the Norman tack at Essay in France, looks like being more enthralling than ever. In the first important phase, the qualifying practice sessions this Friday produced a very close competition between the principal candidates for the title.
If British driver Oliver Rowland (LH-Maxter), who proudly carries the livery of Lewis Hamilton, secured pole position, it was only by a margin of 0.086 of a second faster than the young Finn, Aaro Vainio (Maranello-Maxter), currently the championship leader. Within 3 points of Vainio in the championship, the Frenchman Manuel Renaudie (Gillard-Parilla) posted the 4th fastest time, within a tenth of a second of pole position. It was another driver from Finland, Mikka Kunranta (Birel-Parilla), constantly improving since the beginning of the season, who was classified in 3rd place. In fifth place, Brit Robert Foster-Jones (FA Kart- Vortex) headed his compatriot Richard Bradley (Maddox-Maxter), the Finns Miki Weckstrom (Birel-Parilla) and Simo Puhakka (PCR-TM), Belgian Yannick de Brabander (Intrepid-TM) and the Czech driver, Tereza Gromanova (Maranello-Parilla)
The third genuine contender for the title, Jason Parrott (Birel Parilla) on the other hand had a much more difficult session, being classified only in 11th place. Although level on points with Vainio, the British driver already faces the prospect of having to find considerably improved form during the 3 qualifying races on Saturday. It is at the end of these that we shall know the starting grids for Race 1 scheduled for 14.15 hours on Sunday.
KF2 : 77 drivers within one second !
Within the programme for the Super KF championship, the Essay track also hosts the finale of the KF2 European Championship, the class for the ‘young hopefuls’ in karting. Having negotiated the regional qualifying races, there are 79 drivers aiming for the European Crown which will be awarded to the winner of Sunday’s final. There too, the competition will be very fierce with 77 of these drivers within one second of each other at the end of the qualifying practice session.
Clearly amongst the favourites, Felice Tiene (Kosmic-Vortex) confirmed his form by securing pole position. On his home territory, Frenchman Clement Bluy (Tony Kart Vortex) was slower by only 0.022 of a second, the Dane Nikolaj Moller Madsen (Energy-TM) by only 0.040 and the Dutchman Kilian Bouman (PCR- Parilla) by 0.043. With his chassis carrying the colours of Robert Kubica, the Pole Karol Basz (RK-Parilla) set the 5th fastest time. But there is plenty of scope for changes amongst this hierarchy during the 10 scheduled qualifying races on Saturday and Sunday morning. Only then will we know the 34 drivers who have made it to the pre-final, which itself will determine the starting grid for the Final. In short, there is a long way to go before the fruits of victory will be tasted !