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Hart Takes Pole and 2nd At Euro Italy Round

press release

Intrepid Force Rotax team driver Josh Hart has finished with a well-earned second place on the podium at round 2 of the Rotax Euro Challenge at Kart Planet circuit, Busca, Italy after some extremely close competition this weekend saw the New Zealander secure his best result yet for the 2009 season.

Hart was the fastest qualifier in the Senior Max field of 54 during Friday’s official timed practice, where he snatched pole position after clocking an outstanding lap of 59.170 on his first flyer. With little over six minutes of the qualifying session remaining in the first group, the New Zealander made no mistake in getting it right.

He set the best time in all three of Saturday’s heat races and was victorious in two, resulting in a second row grid for the pre-final. However, the start didn’t go all his way which meant he had to make up several positions as the laps unfolded, eventually ending up back in 3rd. In doing so, Hart actually set the quickest lap of the race by more than 2-tenths.

In the final, the 22-year old had a good start, immediately taking P2 behind race pole-sitter and first round winner Luke Varley, until the leader’s team mate Joseph Reilly, stole second and one lap following proceeded to execute a great move to assume the lead. Hart had no hesitation in overtaking Varley as well and head the chase for the lead, perhaps surprising the former British junior champion in doing so.

With Reilly saving his new tyres for the deciding race, Hart later explained that he was unable to close the 0.6 of a second gap, although he continually traded better times with his younger rival to be one of the pace-setters throughout the 19-lapper. “Towards the end, [Joseph] Reilly just pulled away a bit more. I think my equipment was good enough to win, but I just don’t believe I did a good enough job. My race fitness maybe not up to scratch as it should be, but it is a big improvement on the last round. So, I really need to sharpen up my game now.”

Above: The IFR driver made an excellent move early in the race to overtake round 1 winner Luke Varley, who started on pole in the final Sunday
pic - Bas Kaligis

He added, “The whole week went pretty well; we tested a lot of engines to find the best ones for this meeting, therefore not spending a lot of time working with the kart. I was very happy to qualify on pole and then had two good races and one that wasn’t so good, where I finished 6th. In any case it ended up positive, after I was getting pushed around quite a bit and it made me realise how I needed to be if I wanted to do better. I have to say a big thank you to Intrepid and HRS, together with my mechanic Steve Chapman, who always puts in a huge effort and I couldn’t ask for more.”

Only two rounds remain in the European series, the next of which is in the Czech Republic in late July. Having narrowly missed out on the top 3 in the final moments of the Rotax Winter Cup shakedown last February, the first Euro round also didn’t go as well as planned for Hart. His success in Italy has now renewed the IFR driver’s 2009 championship hopes.

More IFR team news and updates can be found at www.intrepidforcerotax.com. Check out the exclusive RTGT merchandise Shop with all the official race team gear at www.racetogetthere.com.

Above: L to R: Josh Hart (2nd) with winner Joseph Reilly and team-mate Luke Varley (3rd) on the Euro podium at Busca with the RGMMC/Kartxpress girls
pic - Jenni Wade

Above: Josh is congratulated on the podium by his IFR team-mate and mechanic Steve Chapman (L), as well as the Race Team Manager Ernst Penninger (R)
pic - Jenni Wade


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