Barlow Flies to 3rd on Home KF2 DebutTweet
Reigning junior Rotax karting champion Jack Barlow delivered a Super One podium on his UK debut in the senior KF2 category at PFi last Sunday (22 April).
Despite this being only his second KF2 race - after making his bow in Italy a fortnight before (14-15 April) – the Intrepid Driver Program star had mixed emotions about his overall performance.
“In timed qualifying and the heats I was fine, but I didn’t perform to my best in the two finals,” he said with characteristic openness.
Barlow had travelled to the Lincolnshire circuit in confident mood after finishing in 11th place at Sarno near Naples, in the opening round of the WSK Euro Series - instantly laying down a marker with the second-fastest time in qualifying.
From there he finished 3rd in the first of Saturday’s two heats, but a snapped chain in the following encounter put-paid to his further participation in the race.
However, the adidas and Arai supported youngster had done well enough to earn a fourth row grid slot for Sunday’s first final and an opportunity to put early championship points on the board.
Using the pace he’d demonstrated in the preliminaries, Jack quickly charged up the order and became embroiled in a spectacular battle for 2nd place. Mobile phones buzzed with Twitter feeds reporting his wheel-banging battle for supremacy. Unfortunately, it was marred by some controversial tactics from his rival.
“I’d caught the other driver up, went for a move and he defended. I drew alongside in the next corner and he turned in on me and simply pushed me off the circuit,” he explained. “This made the last few moments of the race quite nerve-wracking as the 4th-placed man closed the gap to me, but I was just able to hang on and take the last podium place.”
Heavy rain fell as the field prepared to take the start of the main final, leaving no chance to opt for wet weather tyres. The slick-shod karts slithered around the soaking track at little more than a crawl.
“I dropped to 4th and then fell to 6th. My kart was aquaplaning quite badly, but then so was everybody else. I managed to catch the leaders, but ran wide in one of the corners. I was pushing too hard and paid the penalty. Still, 4th place at the finish was okay and, added to my earlier 3rd, has put me 3rd overall in the championship at this early stage.”
“I don’t think he, or we, can be too hard on him,” said Jack’s UK team boss, Dean Panrucker of Millennium Motorsport. He added: “He has no experience in this type of kart, in the wet and on slick tyres. When we saw the big black cloud loom overhead before the start, we didn’t know whether to slap the wets on or stay as we were, as it might not have rained. You get moments like that in racing, so 4th was respectable for Jack.”
“Hopefully it won’t get worse than 4th,” Barlow rued. “If I’m honest and very critical, I think that second final was the worst I’ve ever driven. Now I have to take it to my opponents. There’s everything to play for.”
This weekend sees Jack head to North Western France to test at Val D’Argenton in the Poitou-Charentes region. He will spend the week there preparing for the second round of the WSK Euro Series (3-6 May).