|Practically at the foot of Vesuvius, the World Cup for KZ1 (gearbox karts) produced a superb spectacle on the international circuit of Sarno-Napoli. At the end of an enthralling weekend, Belgian driver Jonathan Thonon won a third consecutive world title. Meanwhile in the KF3 World Cup (Juniors of 13 – 15 years), the overwhelming favourite Nyck De Vries encountered a problem in the final after having dominated the whole weekend and it was the Italian Giuliano Maria Niceta who benefitted to wear the crown.|
Undeniably the race of the year for gearbox karts, the KZ1 World Cup which took place this weekend at Sarno, close to Naples, lived up to all expectations. All of the world’s top drivers in this class of kart racing, came together in an incredible battle of the best and the suspense was intense from beginning to end. At the end of the decisive final it was the double title holder Jonathan Thonon (CRG-Maxter) who was succesful for the third time after having taken on the best in Norman Nato (Intrepid-TM) and Jeremy Iglesias (Intrepid-TM).
“This title is probably the most rewarding”, the Belgian said exultantly “because it has been incredibly difficult to win. Following a mechanical breakdown in one of my qualifying races, I had to start back in 9th place on the pre-final grid. I was pushed out on the second turn and I thought that I was going to lose contact. But I never dropped my arms. I had climbed up to 4th place at the end of the pre-final, then I made a good start in the final and asserted myself. This third World Title is a superb reward for me and for the whole of the team around me!”
Jonathon Thonon will have therefore demolished the Intrepid armada which had seemed impregnable. Runner-up, as in the European Championship, Jeremy Iglesias (Intrepid-TM) could only partially hide his disappointment. “Inevitably to finish second when I had secured pole position, dominated the qualifying races and won the pre-final, has to be frustrating.” admitted the Frenchman. “All had gone so well that we didn’t dare risk changing things before the final. This is perhaps what has cost us the victory...”
Jeremy Iglesias was one place better off on the podium than his team-mate Bas Lammers (Intrepid-TM), who paid a heavy price after having made a jump-start in the pre-final. “It’s my own fault” the European Champion humbly admitted. “I anticipated the start and I was penalised. Having started 11th in the final I am already very happy to finish on the podium.”
It is a matter of record that with Thonon, Iglesias and Lammers, we had the same podium as in the European Championship, but in the reverse order! Behind these three drivers who have been strong all season, Frenchmen Norman Nato (Intrepid-TM) and Arnauld Kozlinski (CRG-Maxter) confirmed the good form of their team by completing the top five in front of Antonio Piccioni (RK-Maxter), Salvatore Gatto (Intrepid-TM), Devid De Luchi (Intrepid-TM), Jorrit Pex (CRG-TM) and Armand Convers (Kosmic-Vortex). Inevitably attracting most of the attention the Spaniard Jaime Alguersuari impressed more than one observer. Even though he had suffered a non-finish in the final, after having dropped down the pack, the Toro Rosso Formula 1 driver who had never raced a gearbox kart, and had not taken part in any kart competition since 2005, stood in 6th place after the qualifying races. “The important thing was to have fun and involve me in a physical challenge. I have had a good weekend and I hope to return next year” declared the Spaniard.
KF3 Niceto profits from the bad luck of De Vries
Seldom will a driver have dominated an event as Nyck De Vries (Zanardi-Parilla) has done during this World Cup for KF3 (Juniors 13 – 15 years old), the first to be organised since the victory of the esteemed Fernando Alonso in 1996 when it was still called “The 5 Continents Cup”. Fastest in qualifying practice, dominant in all his qualifying races, well in front of his opponents during the pre-final, the Dutchman however wasn’t able to win the final, the only race that mattered! “My team made an error in getting the transmission ratio wrong” the little Dutch lad sighed with tears evident in the corner of his eyes. “I lost out by more than 10 km/h of my top speed and my opponents just raced passed me on the straights. I fought as hard as I could but I could not manage any better than 5th. This is a terrible disappointment but I cannot wish for a better team or mechanic. They also wanted to win. That’s racing....”
The problem encountered by Nyck De Vries at least had the merit of opening up the race completely. At the end of an enthralling final with many changes of position it was finally the Italian Giuliano Maria Niceta (Tony Kart-Vortex) who had the last word. “That had been a difficult race” explained the 13 year old Sicilian in his first year in KF3. “In the pre-final I had been penalised for jumping the start. I started in 14th place on the grid for the final and I had to take on all my opponents to get the better of them. I had been given the chance when Nyck De Vries had his problem because he really seemed a cut above all the rest. But there you are, I am very happy to have won this title.”
Behind Niceta there were two other very promising young drivers. Assisted by the “Racing Step Foundation”, which seeks to support talented drivers but with limited funds, the British driver Jake Dennis (Top Kart-Parilla) thanked his benefactors for the confidence placed in him by securing 2nd place. As for the Frenchman Pierre Gasly (Sodi-Parilla), supported by his national federation, he was also very happy to climb onto the podium. Danish driver Sebastian Hansen (Intrepid-TM) then finished in front of the unlucky Nyck De Vries, Max Klinkby-Silver (Tony Kart-Vortex), Loris Spinelli (Tony Kart-Vortex), Stepan Karasev (Tony Karat-Vortex), Peter Hoevenaars (Zanardi-Maxter) and Joey Elkerbout (Zanardi-Maxter).
In two weeks time the KF2 hopefuls will contest their World Cup on the Spanish circuit of Alcaniz before the final fireworks, the Championship of the World for Super-KF (the principal category of karts without gearbox) which will be held in Macao from the 8th to the 11th October.