|The serious business got underway this Saturday for kartings World Cups for categories KZ1 (gearbox karts) and KF3 (Junior direct drive karts), all beneath the hot sunshine at Braga, Portugal. Holland’s double European Champion Bas Lammers (Intrepid-TM) was not as quick in qualifying practice as his young compatriot Jorrit Pex (CRG-Maxter) nor the 2nd quickest driver, Frenchman Manuel Renaudie (PCR-TM). But Bas rekindled all his title ambitions by winning the first two heats and finishing 2nd in the third and last. On pole position for the Pre-final, he has never been better placed to clinch his first World Title.|
The Dutch supporters had double cause for celebration : in addition to Lammers, Jorrit Pex will start the Pre-Final on the front row, thereby confirming his form as the fastest driver in qualifying practice. But both of them will have to be wary of the likely resurgence of Manuel Renaudie (PCR-TM). Second quickest in qualifying practice, the Frenchman was then let down by a mechanical failure early in his first heat. However, his speed was subequently confirmed with a 2nd place and then a victory, although he will have to be satisfied with 8th place on the starting grid for Sunday’s Pre-Final. Consequently it is Jérémy Iglésias (Intrepid-TM) who inherited 3rd place on the grid and that enables him to keep alive his dream of a first major title after having finished 2nd last year and having twice been runner-up in a European Championship. In 4th place, British driver Jack Hawksworth (Maddox-Parilla) qualified ahead of Italian Antonio Piccioni (Parolin-TM), the amazing Dutchman Dylan Davies (PCR-TM), fellow Brit Ben Hanley (Maranello-Maranello), the unlucky Manuel Renaudie, Finnish driver Oskari Kurki-Suonio (on an original Ninar chassis) and the French Anthony Abbasse (Sodi-Maxter). Amongst the unlucky drivers, Yannick De Brabander (Intrepid-TM) stood out. The Belgian 4th in qualifying practice was unable to maintain this form and was not even able to finish his last race, dropping down to 13th place.
In addition to the KZ1 class, Braga is also hosting the KF3 World Cup for Junior drivers between 13 and 15 years old. The qualifying heats are not yet completed (3 remain to be raced on Sunday morning), but 2 drivers have already given notice of their ambitions : Alexander Albon (Intrepid-TM) and Max Verstappen (CRG-Maxter). Starting from pole position, the British driver won the 3 qualifying heats in which he raced, just like his Dutch rival, who was second in qualifying practice. Tomorrow, they will battle for pole position in the Pre-Final during their last qualifying heat which will see them coming head-to-head for the first time. But plenty of other drivers have high hopes of benefiting from their rivalry, with the likes of Frenchman Pierre Gasly (Sodi-Parilla), British driver Jake Dennis (Top Kart-Parilla), the Dane Dennis Olsen (Energy-TM), Dutchman Peter Hoevenaars (Intrepid-TM) or even of the Urugayan Santiago Urrutia (Intrepid/TM), surprisingly just as impressive during the qualifying practice as well as the qualifying heats.
On Sunday, after the last of the KF3 qualifying heats, the finalists will contest a Pre-Final and then the decisive Final. It is only at the end of this race that the two World Cup Winners will be known.