|Following the four-race event of the combined fourth round of the FIA-sanctioned Central European Zone Karting Trophy (CEZ) and 2009 Austrian Championship at the Speedworld circuit over the weekend, Intrepid Force Rotax has come away with two top 5 places in the overall Senior Max rankings. With four senior and two junior drivers competing for the zone and national titles, it proved to be a challenging meeting in some aspects, with the questionable technical enforcement an obvious factor. However, in keeping in line with what the team believes is fair play and the best interest of their drivers, the results could only reflect their effort. |
The fastest times were taken from the two official timed practice sessions in each class Friday to determine the starting grids for each of the two 20-lap races Saturday. Opting to use the later session in the afternoon and not the heat of the day, IFR’s Josh Hart qualified 4th in Senior Max. Although he’d topped the last session, he was not quicker than the times that had already be clocked in the first one. 2008 Austrian vice champ Niki Laa set the 9th fastest lap for IFR just ahead of Tobias Weichenberger 11th and Alan Buch 15th. The actual championship leader and winner of the first two races was penalised on technical grounds, which sent him from the front row to 11th for the start.
The team’s juniors did the same, sitting out the opening 10-minute qualifying as well, with one of the international members Parth Ghorpade setting the 4th best time, incidentally winning his local Rotax Max Challenge meeting the weekend before, to now lead the Indian series. The 15-year old has finished 4th in both CEZ rounds that he’s contested so far in Hungary and the Czech Republic. Flying the Austrian flag, Corinna Kamper was 11th from the timed sessions.
Saturday’s racing was run in temperatures getting into the low 30s on Speedworld’s “track 2” configuration. Josh had a 3rd and 5th place, while Tobi and Niki were amongst the top 10 to mid-field just ahead of Alan, doing well to be several tenths off their pace in only his second season in karts. Junior Max was dominated by the defending national champion, who is considerably older than her rivals, with the altered regulations allowing for a driver up to the age of 19 years to participate. Parth was pleased with a 5th place, together with a 10th, while Corinna secured P9 and 10. The circuit was then switched to the “track 1” layout after lunch, with a short practice session prior to the third 10-minute qualifying.
The remaining timed practice was on the program for Sunday following morning warm-up and the new grids therefore set for the final two races, also of 20 laps. The results would then be combined from the two races Saturday to crown the new Austrian Champion in Junior and Senior Max, plus add to the current standings in the CEZ series. The summer heat was more extreme for the final day of the event, as the mercury rose yet again making conditions less than ideal.
Starting once more from the outside row, Josh took another 3rd, but a compromising start dropped him down the order where he managed to climb back to 6th and set the second fastest lap of the race. Together with a 5th place, Tobi was sitting 3rd in the last race until the closing stages, where he eventually crossed the line in P4. Niki was closer to the leaders than he had been and just outside the top 5, while Alan had some bad luck in the final race, but still continued to run within several tenths of his team-mates on the increasingly grippy track. Both Parth and Corinna drove well to improve on their finishing positions from the previous day, as they constantly adapted to the circuit.
In the end, it was the local pairing of Thomas Jäger and Sandro Lukovic (Speedworld pb MKR/PCR) on equal points who won the day in Senior Max to be presented with the Austrian Champion’s trophy. Simon Wagner (M-Tec) claimed 3rd ahead of Josh and Tobi who took 4th and 5th respectively, while Niki finished 9th and Alan 17th overall.
IFR juniors, Parth and Corinna were eventually separated by only two points to be classified 7th and 8th. The title stayed with Austria’s Sandra Simbürger (Speedworld/Energy) as last year’s Max Challenge winner Ferenc Kancsar (Kalman Motorsport/Birel) of Hungary took the runners-up prize with a one point advantage over Slovenian Matija Jurkovic (MLM Sportstil Karting Klub/Intrepid) in 3rd place.
All results from the CEZ-Austrian event can be found at www.intrepidforcerotax.com by selecting the “Schedules” page and clicking on “Live Ticker” for the direct link to the Kart Data Live Timing site.
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