While the rookies stunned onlookers on the very quick Silverstone circuit with Esteban Ocon (Prema Powterteam), clinching a double pole, experience also paid off with the other pole position going to Tom Blomqvist (Jagonya Ayam with Carlin).
Kicking off the season on a track as quick as Silverstone is, on paper anyway, a gift for experienced drivers. However, in free practice a trio of rookies put the cat among the pigeons in the opening round of the FIA Formula 3 European Championship. Antonio Fuoco (Prema Powerteam) was quickest in the first session from Esteban Ocon and Max Verstappen (Van Amersfoort Racing). In the second session the same trio topped the time sheets, but in a different order with Verstappen in front of Ocon and Fuoco.
However, the three debutants kept their feet firmly on the ground and said that there was still a lot of room for improvement and a lot of work to do. With 15 cars covered by the same second the gaps meant that there could be no letup in their efforts.
The first qualifying session for the grid positions for the first of the three races of the weekend confirmed the tip-top performance of the trio Verstappen, Ocon and Fuoco who went head to-head for the no. 1 spot on the grid. But halfway through the session Tom Blomqvist showed everybody who was boss with a lap in 1'51''327 clinching the first pole of the season from Ocon, Fuoco, Verstappen and Felix Serralles (West-Tec F3 Team). "It's great to start with a pole position especially for the new partner in our team who's invested a lot this season," explained Blomqvist. "I had a very good lap even if I reckon that the Prema Powerteam cars are quicker. We were on the pace in free practice, but it's a whole other ball game to turn this into a concrete result in qualifying. Now we've got to see how the race will pan out."
In the second qualifying session Frenchman Ocon came out on top. The Lotus F1 Junior Team driver finished in front of his team-mate Nicholas Latifi (Prema Powerteam) and Tom Blomqvist. As the fastest time in the second session gives pole in race three, the third no.1 position of the day also went to Ocon. "We did a good job this winter, but I really didn't expect to be on pole so early," smiled Esteban. "It's the result of some great team work. I wasn't too far off in the first session, but I made a small mistake; it was my fault. So I've made up for it with two pole positions, it's almost perfect!"
The other big news of the day is Signature's withdrawal from the first round of the season. Thus, Tatiana Calderon has moved over to Jo Zeller Racing.
Info & Photo FIA
Fabrice Dubois, pilote Handikart, a participé avec son enthousiasme habituel au championnat régional Centre sur la piste de Salbris au milieu des valides. Le moins qu'on puisse dire, c'est qu'il n'a pas lésiné sur l'attaque, même quand la piste était mouillée. Grâce à son ami Eric Cercellier et à Geko Production, une belle vidéo est à voir en suivant ce lien. Forza Fabricio !
141 pilotes sont attendus à ce jour à La Conca pour le premier des quatre rendez-vous européens KF et KF-Junior 2014. La CIK-FIA a récemment mis en ligne les listes, encore provisoires, des participants de ses Championnats d'Europe. 72 KF-Junior et 69 KF devraient se retrouver sur la piste de Muro Leccese à partir du 8 mai.
Pas de grosses surprises au programme, la plupart des protagonistes a déjà roulé lors de l'une ou l'autre des compétitions de début de saison, voire toutes pour certains. Onze Français seront au rendez-vous avec Nicolas Gonzales (Kosmic/Parilla), Julien Darras (Kosmic/Vortex), Gabriel Aubry (Tony Kart/Vortex), Paolo Besancenez (Tony Kart/TM) et Alexandre Gadois (Kosmic/Parilla) en KF, Jules Bollier (Kosmic/Parilla), Giuliano Alesi (Tony Kart/TM), Alessandro Brozzoni (Energy/TM), Charles Milesi (Tony Kart/Parilla), Anthony Bonduel (ART GP/TM) et Tom Leuillet (Birel/TM) en Junior.
Info Kartcom / © Photo KSP
After an exciting first round of the WSK Champions Cup, the second round of La Conca finished too early for Devlin DeFrancesco. Dropped to the back of the pack in the prefinal in KF-Junior, his access to the final was blocked this time. Unable to fight for success at the end, Devlin had to settle for 13th position in the final standings of the 2014 WSK Champions Cup.
Fortunately, the North American driver from Morsicani Racing had a contrasting experience at Sarno for the opening round of the WSK Super Master Series at the foot of Vesuvius. 2nd fastest in qualifying at the wheel of his Tony Kart / Vortex front of more than 60 drivers, Devlin then added two wins and three fastest laps in the heats. In the rain, he managed to finish in 12th position with an acrobatic finish.
At the twisty Castelletto circuit, the second round of the WSK Super Master necessitated an adjustment period before Devlin could fight at the front. In the latest blow, he struggled to come through after a few ups and downs in racing. With better performance, he continued to gain positions in the final stages and took a hard-fought seventh position.
In less than a week, La Conca will host the third and final round of the WSK Super Master Series which is the last stage of preparation before the European Championship, where we will watch Devlin DeFrancesco with interest.
Info Kartcom / © Photos KSP