|Salbris - The bad weather that reigned over the 2007 Le Mans 24-hour race made itself felt in Sologne as well. Showers and bright periods on Saturday and steady drizzle on Sunday made for difficult driving conditions during the 3rd FFSA Grand Prix race of the season. But that didn't prevent some 120 drivers turning out for this important meeting, with the Espoir and 125 categories sporting the biggest fields.|
The favourites were unable to take advantage of the event to comfort their lead and some of them even lost ground in the French championships which are now wide open going into the final round which takes place at Saint Laurent de Mure, near Lyon, at the end of July. On the following weekend, 4-5 August, Salbris will play host to the final round of the European KF2 season and to the 3rd round of the European KF1 championships. One thing we are all praying for is fine weather, so that these two European events can be enjoyed by a big crowd.
Elite KF1: Courquin wins in the rain
Neither Benjamin Bailly nor Kazeem Manzur managed to shine under the overcast skies of Salbris. The Kosmic/Maréchal team’s Belgian ace started the prefinal in pole position but was unable to resist Julien Poncelets final charge and unfortunately also let some of the chasing pack get past him. In the end he came home 6th in the final race and just managed to hang on to his lead in the championship standings. Nathanaël Berthon (Zanardi/Iame) and Braun Racing seemed to have at last found the winning combination with their new machine, but Nat was unable to hold off Anthony Abbasse (Sodikart/TM) after the latter’s implacable climb through the field from back down in 10th place. It was another Team France driver who took top spot on the podium. Mike Courquin had been fine tuning the set up of his kart all through Saturday and set of in perfect running order for a final race that took place from start to finish in the rain.
Espoir KF2: Back to front!
Ryall the Great! After failing to get his engine started in the grid lane, GKS’s Mickael Ryall, racing a Birel/TM, found himself last on the grid as the race began. But a masterful performance saw him carve his way right the way through the field to take the race. Up until then the race had been dominated by another Briton, Scott Jenkins, but transmission problems saw him robbed of top spot on the podium. The two official Tonykart/Vortex works drivers, Will Stevens and Antonio Felix Da Costa, who turned out in preparation for the European KF2 finals, took the other podium spots, under the watchful eye of Mr. Robazzi in person.
Junior KF3: If its not one Bailly its the other
Quillet, Rambeau, Bailly, 1-2-3 in that order in the prefinal race, but in a different order in the final. Sébastien Bailly is gradually regaining full confidence in his Kosmic/Vortex machine now that it is performing well again. He won the final hands down and shot into the lead in the championship standings. Christopher Quillet (Birel/TM) managed to stay on his tail to take a somewhat disappointing 2nd spot which nevertheless saw him pocket some very useful points, ahead of Portuguese driver David Rambeau, racing a Zanardi/XTR. As quick as ever on the track, Clément Chillet had to drop out with mechanical trouble. Brandon Maďsano eventually found the right set-up for the final but despite carving his way up through the field from 18th to 6th place, he didn’t do enough to hold on to top spot in the standings.
125 KZ2: The next generation is ready
Thomas Mich (Birel/TM) must have been feeling a bit long in the tooth on Sunday racing against 17-year-old Enzo Zéférini and 15-year-old Hugo Valente! But the MRT driver managed to win all his races except one. Enzo, in his CRG/Maxter, is starting to fulfil his promise by managing to finish high tempo races. Hugo (Birel/TM) celebrated his birthday in style by taking 3rd place on the final podium. Unlucky on the day, Dutchman Danny Bleek held on to top spot in the championship race although his place is under threat from Thomas Mich.
The final outcome will be decided on July 28/29 at the next 2007
FFSA Karting Grand Prix race meeting which is scheduled to take
place in Saint Laurent de Mure, near Lyon.