|PDB Racing Team travelled all the way to South-East Asia on the Coloane-Macau track to take on the grids of the most anticipated event of the season, the World Karting Championship for SKF. Under the direct guide of 1980 World Karting Champion and team owner Peter de Bruijn, French driver Manuel Renaudie and British lady driver Laura Tillett started the weekend with great confidence on the potential of the material prepared by Peter and his team of mechanics. The event in Macau started to prove atypical already on Friday’s free practice, when it was obvious to all that the asphalt was not up to standards.|
The recently resurfaced track began crumbling under the mighty powerful SKF engines, making it at times unsafe for drivers. Also, unstable weather with showers in the morning and sunshine in the afternoon added to the pressure.
Came Saturday, and official qualifying saw Manuel stopping the 8th fastest time and Laura 16th, the latter finding it a bit more troublesome to pin down the right set up. The first heat looked promising, with Manuel stable in the top five - also marking the fastest lap with 47”476 – and Laura who came back up to 8th, until lap 10 when a rival’s unlikely overtaking manoeuvre wrecked her kart forcing her to retire. No time left for Heat 2, because the stewards called it the day as a result of a dangerous state of the track, suspending the programme. Late in the evening it was announce that the programme - four remaining heats, prefinal and final - was to be resumed on Sunday. During the night, the damaged parts of the track were resurfaced, in order to make it safe for the drivers to race. It goes without saying that performance decreased, and pressure climbed on.
Nevertheless, after an early morning warmup, Heat 2 saw Manuel putting up a great performance ending 3rd, while Laura finished 12th. One hour later and it was time for the third and final heat, which Renaudie dominated finishing 1st and marking the fastest lap (49”933) to start third in the prefinal. Laura also proved competitive, hitting 9th at the chequers. The prefinal started well for Renaudie.
In lap 1 the French driver grabbed the lead, but the competition was fierce, and by the end Manu had dropped to 5th struggling to keep up with the leaders. Laura suffered from a difficult starting position – row 15 on the grid – and was caught in the traffic, closing 27th. The final, once again, saw Manu taking advantage of all his experience to grab the lead, which he kept for three laps. But when no one expected it started to rain, and Manu dropped to 5th. As the race went on, rain got heavier and racing on slicks more dangerous. After 18 laps of 25, the race was red-flagged and Renaudie and Tillett finished 7th
and 25th respectively.
A bitter-sweet World Championship for Peter de Bruijn. “We arrived in Macau knowing we had good material to do well, and both Manuel and Laura proved it in several occasions during the weekend – says Peter. After our great performances in the SKF European Championship, which ultimately saw Manuel taking the title of European vice-Champion, we were hopeful to get a podium in Macau. However the track conditions did not play in our favour, and we are disappointed at something like this happening in the most important event of the season. This kind of setbacks undermine the value of an event that has had so much significance in the past. All in all, the event in Macau has been positive for PDB Racing Team, which has a strong foothold in the Asian market. We were very happy to meet all our local dealers and distributors that do a great job in promoting our brand and products.”