|The championship of Europe in class KZ1 which began this weekend at Sarno, close to Naples, presented a renewed duel between Jérémy Iglésias and Bas Lammers. After having achieved the double in 2009 in the principal class of karts with gear box, the two team-mates of the Intrepid Team shared the two victories of the day. They will continue their fight for the European crown at the end of June on the French track at Varennes-sur-Allier where the second and final round of the championship will be held. In KZ2, division 2 gearbox karts, it is the Italian Paolo De Conto who left Sarno at the head of the championship standings.|
A few minutes before the start of the first race for the KZ1 championship of Europe KZ1, the sky was clouded over and large spots of rain fell to soak the Circuito Internazionale Napoli. All the form book became irrelevant because whereas the qualifying races had made it possible to determine a certain hierarchy, under wet and precarious conditions of very little grip, it would be rare indeed for drivers not to make errors. Jérémy Iglésias (Intrepid-TM) is one of these. Taking command of the situation quickly, the Frenchman stood alone whilst the majority of his opponents suffered amongst the outsiders. The champion of Europe Dutchman Bas Lammers (Intrepid-TM), in particular was a victim of a contact with another competitor, could do no better than 6th place whereas his fellow front row starter, Ben Hanley (Maranello-Maranello), fell well down the classification. Under these difficult conditions, the British driver Jack Hawksworth (Maddox-Parilla) drove a superb race in his KZ1 European championship debut by taking second place in front of Thomas Mich (Birel-TM), Anthony Abbasse (Sodikart-TM) and Antonio Piccioni (Parolin-SGM).
Contested on a track which had become dry once again, the second race enabled European Champion Bas Lammers to gain his revenge. The Dutchman this time imposed himself upon the vice-champion of Europe and winner of Race 1, Jérémy Iglésias. Returning well after a difficult first race, Manuel Renaudie (PCR-TM) also made the podium, thus preserving his chances of an eventual good outcome in the championship, just like Anthony Abbasse and Antonio Piccioni, again fourth and fifth respectively. On the other hand, there is less chance of a successful championship outcome for Thomas Mich, frustrated by a non-finish due to the fracture of a radiator clip.
So far as the championship stands, it looks like the two Intrepid Team rivals who hold the aces, the 2009 runner-up Jérémy Iglésias leading his team-mate Bas Lammers, who will be heartened to still have the chance to defend his title on the last weekend of June at Varennes-sur-Allier (France). If these two leave Sarno with the favourites label, they nevertheless know that anything is possible in karting. Grouped together in 3rd place with the same some points total, Jack Hawksworth, Anthony Abbasse, Manual Reneudie and Antonio Piccioni must all be saying the same thing.
Just like the KZ1 class, the KZ2 drivers (division 2 of karts with gear box) began their European competition close to the foot of Mount Vesuvius. Contested right to the final turn, the first race enabled the German driver Marcel Jeleniowski (Energy-TM) to gain his first European victory ahead of his Italian team-member Paolo De Conto (Energy-TM) and Simone Brenna (TB Kart-TM). Taking the chequered flag in third place, the German Simon Solgat (Birel-TM) was disqualified after being under the lawful weight.
During the second race, Paolo De Conto made the best start and led the race from beginning to end whereas Marcel Jeleniowski was involved in a collision with Luca Tilloca (CRG-Maxter) and Yan Pesce (Energy-TM), these three drivers all battling for second place. The Dutchman Kevin Leijtens (Energy-TM) did not waste any time in climbing on to the second stage of the podium ahead of Simone Brenna, who also benefitted as well from a scuffle between Marco Pizzuti (Birel-TM) and Marco Zanchetta (Dr.-Parilla) on the last turn to gain his second podium of the day.
In the championship, Paolo De Conto benefitted from the problems of Marcel Jeleniowski to take a considerable advantage over the German driver. Simone Brenna, Kevin Leitjens and the regular, Jan Midrla (Birel-TM) completed the top 5. But with the best three results counting out of the four possible (as in KZ1, as well), the final positions are far from determined leaving all to race for when the championship proceeds to its conclusion at Varennes-sur-Allier from the 24 – 27 June.
Present at Sarno for the first round of this European championship, Nicolas Deschaux, the new President of the CIK-FIA, was enthusiastic having regard to the spectacle served up. “High level karting is a sport of an extreme intensity and one could see that today”, he explained . “I enjoyed myself observing such competitive racing between the drivers, and all this in a very sporting spirit. The organisers pulled out all the stops to ensure a successful opening of the CIK-FIA championships and I thank them for this. After this opening event, we can say that our season has been well and truly launched!’