|With all 12 qualifying heats included in this Saturday’s racing programme, the 118 participants in karting’s World Championship, staged this week-end in Zuera, have encountered a crucial day. They all knew that only 34 of them would qualify for the final stages… that is to say those places would be particularly sought after and cherished ! |
With some drops of rain falling just before the very first qualifying heat, it was then essential that the sun came out. The initial leaders following Friday’s rain affected qualifying practice, have inevitably been greatly changed.
Separated into two divisions, then divided into four groups within those divisions, the 118 drivers each then contested three qualifying heats. With two victories and one 2nd place from his qualifying races, Jordan Chamberlain (Tony Kart-TM) secured pole position for this Sunday’s Pre-Final. The Brit, KF2 European Champion in 2009, had however qualified only 38th quickest during the Timed Practice. « But everything worked perfectly today » he explained « we were really very fast and my TM motor works to perfection. I hope to have a good night and to be in top form tomorrow ! »
In the same division as Chamberlain, other drivers in good form were Britain’s Jordan King (Birel-BMB), who will start on the inside of the second row, the Belgian Sébastien Bailly (Kosmic-Vortex), the Dane Max Klinkby-Silver (Tony Kart-Vortex) and another British driver Chris Lock (Tony Kart-Vortex), all starting on the inside line behind Jordan Chamberlain.
In the other division, it is the Swede Joël Johansson (Energy-TM) who escaped best from the difficulties and who will be outside of Chamberlain on the front row of the Pre-Final. « Honestly, I did not take any risks today » expalined Joël. « I knew that with only 17 drivers to qualify from each division it was essential not to make any error. This is how I applied my thinking and I am very glad to be there ».
Behind Johansson, British driver Luke Varley (Tony Kart-Vortex) confirmed his good form after having set the fastest time in qualifying practice by finishing in 2nd place in this division, which will put him in 4th place on the starting grid for the Pre-Final. Also catching the eye was the fine form of the Spaniard Gerard Barrabeig (Birel-BMB), winner of two races on home territory and classified 3rd in his division, and also the Italian Stefano Cucco (Birel-Parilla). However, one of the drivers who will have made a particularly favourable impression this Saturday is Nyck De Vries (Zanardi-Parilla). After a very difficult first race on a partially wet track the Dutchman won his two following races to finish 5th in his division. So starting the Pre-Final in 10th place, the McLaren protégé kept alive all his title chances.
As to be expected, Saturday’s racing has on the other hand left several of the early favourites out of contention, let down by mechanical failure or involved in a collision. In spite of their good showing in qualifying practice, Jarno Hamppi (Birel-Parilla), Lindsay Butcher (Tony Kart-Vortex) and also Jordon Lennox-Lamb (Birel-BMB) were unable to make the cut and join the 34 finalists. Amongst the other non-qualifiers were David Da Luz (Zanardi-Parilla), Ignazio D’Agosto (Tony Kart-Vortex) and Michelle Gatting (CRG-Maxter), to name just a few of them.
This Sunday, the Pre-Final will start at 9.55 am. This race will determine the starting grid for the decisive Final, scheduled for 12.00 noon and being shown live on satellite television by Eurosport International. These times are one hour earlier in Great Britain and Ireland.