With its excellent international line-up and a series of exciting races, the Varennes GPO inaugurated in grand fashion the 2012 FFSA French Karting Championships season on a circuit that is always very spectacular, all the more so thanks to the weather, which was perfect during the whole weekend. Landais and Russo won in KF3, Leclerc and Moineault in KF2, while Roy walked off with two victories in KZ2.
With 43 entrants - more than half of these were from abroad - the KF3 class was the star of the Varennes meeting. Sometimes enthusiasm on the part of young drivers caused a few collisions, but front runners showed an excellent level of performance. New names appeared at the top of the leader board to overturn forecasts and intensify the fight for victory. Thomas Landais (Sodi/Parilla) conquered his first victory in Saturday's final, ahead of Paolo Besancenez (Sodi/Parilla), who climbed up from 22nd, while there was an intense fight within the pack up to the finish line, when the Finnish driver Alec Weckstrom (Maranello/Vortex) finally climbed onto the third step of the podium.
The Spaniard Guillermo Russo (FA Kart/Vortex) won Sunday's final with a clear lead, after his victory in semi-final 1 where he had started 23rd. Besancenez took quickly a second place, which he managed to keep while a battle was raging for the third step of the podium between Charles Machado, Alexandre Gadois, and Dorian Guldenfels. But it was finally Matteo Raspatelli (Tony Kart/Parilla) who conquered the third place on the last bend.
The Monegasque driver Charles Leclerc (ART GP/Parilla) put a dominant stamp on Saturday's races, from timed qualifying to the final, but it was Valentin Moineault (Tony Kart/Vortex), also a KF3 driver in 2011, who snatched the win in the following day's final by preceding Leclerc. A newcomer from the Cadet class also made himself noticed thanks to his performances: Paul Boutonnet (Tony Kart/Parilla), 3rd on Sunday after his pole in timed qualifying, was always battling among the front runners, especially against experienced Vincent Fraïsse (Sodi/Parilla), who made a good comeback to KF2 after his third place in Saturday's final. Other protagonists of the category included Pascal Belmaaziz (DR/TM), Rémy Deguffroy (Tony Kart/Vortex), and Pedro Hiltbrand (FA Kart/Vortex)
In KZ2, two strong drivers stood out from the group at Varennes: Maxime Roy (Tony Kart/TM) and Mathieu Gaillard (Energy/TM). Shoulder to shoulder on Saturday, Roy won with a narrow margin over Gaillard in the final and achieved another success the following day, when his rival gave up after a mechanical problem. Julien Poncelet (Formula K/TM) staged a great reaction against these two drivers by concluding with a third place on Saturday and a second place on Sunday. Evidently the double European champion has lost nothing of his sense of attack. He was joined on the third step of the podium by another experienced driver, Pierre Ragues (Sodi/Maxter), who successfully combines a prestigious career in car racing and some excellent performances in karting.
Next GPO will be held on 12 and 13 May at Angerville.