Very pleasant weather bathed the first round of the Asia-Pacific KF Championship at Suzuka this weekend, an event under the auspices of the JAF (Japanese Automobile Federation), who were delighted to welcome a CIK-FIA meeting 50 years being created and becoming a member of the FIA as an ASN. Even though the entry was not very substantial, the competition was at an interesting level due to the experience of the Asian drivers. The karting circuit at Suzuka again hosted this prestigious event.
The competition opened on Saturday with qualifying which was tight between the Japanese Arata Saeki (FA Kart-Vortex-B'stone), the pole sitter, and the driver from Singapore, Julien Fong Wei Jie (Tony Kart-TM-B'stone), who were only separated by 58 milliseconds. In third position, Ryota Kiyohara (CRG-TM-B'stone) was ahead of a compact group of Japanese drivers including Takashi Kasai (Tony Kart-Vortex-B'stone), Toshiki Oyu (Tony Kart-Vortex-B'stone) and Hiroyuki Inoue (Tony Kart-Vortex-B'stone).
Fong Wei Jie then won the qualifying heats clearly with Kiyohara and Saeki at his heels. Kasai was right behind the leader in the second heat for many laps, but was penalized 3'' for putting two wheels outside his lane too early at the start. However, we could see that he would able to fight for victory.
And this is what happened on Sunday morning in Race 1, in a long duel with Fong Wei Jie. Kasai quickly grabbed the lead, but his opponent would not let this stand and even reduced the deficit to 2 tenths of a second. Kasai responded to ensure his victory by 0.379'' ahead of Fong We Jie. Saeki caught up after a few delays at the start and finished third from Yuta Shiraishi (CRG-TM-B'stone) coming back from 15th in qualifying and 10th in the intermediate classification, setting the fastest lap twice, then Jinya Yamakawa (Zanardi-TM-B'stone) was fifth.
In Race 2, everything happened at the start, when Kasai was unable to react as fast as he wanted. Some friction at the first corner proved the passion of the competitors but did not prevent Fong Wei Jie from giving the maximum to escape to victory without challenge. Steady in second place, Saeki could not disrupt the flow of the eventual winner. Third place was held by Kiyohara until halfway, but he retired and shortly after that Yamakawa finally secured the third step on the podium. Toshiki Oyu (Tony Kart-Vortex-B'stone) did well, recovering from 16th to 4th place ahead of Takeharu Nakamori (Kosmic-Vortex-B'stone). The unfortunate Kasai could not fight back and had to complete his ordeal in 13th position. The fastest lap was set successively by five drivers before Yuya Taira (Super-B'stone Winforce-Parilla) settled it during a good comeback from 17th to 7th place, which reflected the intensity of the battle.
Julien Fong Wei Jie, from Singapore, of course is in first place in the standings of the Asia-Pacific Championship with 45 points ahead of Arata Saeki (36 points) and Takashi Kasai (28 points). But the competition is far from over and the event in Macau in October will be even more crucial as only three of the four results will count towards the title.
Info CIK / © Photo JAF
One more round before the end of the 2013 WSK Euro Series, at its 8th edition under the aegis of WSK Promotion, which has been organizing the event since 2006. The chequered flag is going to be shown in Genk (Belgium), on the Horensbergdam Circuit, the venue of the fourth and last round from next Thursday 30th May to Sunday 2nd June. This year, the European Series attracted drivers from 45 countries from all around the world; in Genk there will be 200 entrants divided into four different categories: KZ1, KZ2, KF and KF Junior. Along the 1,350 meters of the Flemish circuit, the race for victory is going to be rather tricky, given the remarkable number of skilful drivers who can still aim at the victory.
Verstappen pursued by Hanley in KZ1. Max Verstappen (CRG-TM-Bridgestone) is the steady leader in KZ1. Ben Hanley (ART GP-TM-Bridgestone), anyway, managed to get close and the final round in Belgium is going to be as thrilling as ever. Behind them all the top drivers of the category can still achieve victory: so, focus on the Italian Paolo De Conto (Birel-TM-Bridgestone), the Dutch Jorrit Pex (CRG-TM-Bridgestone) and the Belgian Jonathan Thonon (CRG-Maxter-Bridgestone).
In KF Boccolacci ahead of Basz in the final rush. The French Dorian Boccolacci (Energy-TM-Vega) is definitely aiming at the victory after all the successes which boosted him on top of the WSK Euro Series standings of the KF category. In this case, too, the weekend of Genk could give a chance to his pursuers to close the gap, beginning with the Polish Karol Basz (Tony Kart-Vortex-Vega), who follows in second place. The Polish driver, the Danish Nicklas Nielsen (Kosmic-Vortex-Vega) and the English Ben Barnicoat (ART GP-TM-Vega) form a trio separated by a very narrow gap.
Zanchetta and Negro challenge each other in KZ2. The leader in KZ2 is the Italian Marco Zanchetta (Maranello-TM-Bridgestone), closely pursued by another Italian, Riccardo Negro (DR-TM-Bridgestone). The two drivers are going to challenge each other in the last round of Genk after dominating the category standings. In the race towards the podium, also the Czech Jan Midrla (Birel-TM-Bridgestone) stands a good chance, not to mention the Lithuanian Simas Juodvirsis (Energy-TM).
Norris dominates Lorandi in KF Junior. The British Lando Norris (FA Kart-Vortex-Vega) is the new KF Junior top driver. He arrives in Genk as the steady leader of the category, after achieving a long winning streak. To get all these successes, he had to battle against the Italian Alessio Lorandi (Tony Kart-Parilla-Vega), who won in the last round in Sarno (Italy). In the race for the podium, the favourite is the English Daniel Ticktum (FA Kart-Vortex) together with the Russian Robert Shwartzman (CRG-TM-Bridgestone), who can still recover several positions in the standings.
WSK challenge: all the appointments on video of the great finale. WSK Promotion has deployed, in Genk for the final round of its European Series, an impressive equipment for the video production. The appointment on the Internet is, as usual, with the live streaming on the official website: www.wsk.it. Broadcast will start, as usual, with the Pre-finals of the KF Junior, in the morning of Sunday 2nd June at 11.50. Then, the live broadcast of all the final phase. Besides the race reports, the video coverage will be closed by the WSK TV Magazine on Rai Sport which, on Friday 7th June, will focus on the sprint finals and on the colorful paddock of the WSK Euro Series.
Info WSK Promotion
Harry Webb (Tony Kart) résiste bien à Max Verstappen (CRG) au départ de la finale Senior, Charlie Eastwood (Tony Kart) tire tout droit avant de boucler son 1er tour amors qu'il se rapprochait des leaders. Niklas Tiihonen (FK) occupe alors la 3e position devant Edward Brand (Intrepid), Philip Morin (FA Kart) et Pierce Lehane (FA Kart).
Verstappen revient visiblement sur le leader, pointé à moins de 2 dixièmes au 4e passage. Brand s'est emparé de la 3e place et Lehane de la 5e. Verstappen perd plusieurs longueurs dans le 5e tour, ce qui laisse un peu de répit à Webb. Eastwood réapparait en 7e position, non loin de Martin Mortensen qui attaque dans la foulée Morin pour la 5e position. Verstappen recolle à Webb dans le 8e des 16 tours et se prépare ainsi plusieurs balles de match. Le 3e, Ed Brand passe 3'' derrière les duettistes de tête, plus d'une seconde devant Tiihonen, lui-même à plus d'une seconde de Mortensen.
Lehane attaque Eastwood pour lui subtiliser sa 7e place. La pression de Verstappen sur Webb se fait de plus en plus intense. Il attaque dans la 1e des deux épingles du 13e passage et passe en tête à 2 tours du but. Webb réplique au même endroit lors du passage suivant, n'hésitant pas à toucher son adversaire. C'est donc Webb qui gagne le course devant Verstappen, puis Brand 3e , Tiihonen 4e, Mortensen 5e, Morin 6e, Lehane 7e et Eastwood 8e.
Info Kartcom / © Photos KSP