Hanley & Bray In Ideal Positions, But...Tweet
The Qualifying Heats for the KZ1 and KZ2 World Cups, the two divisions for gearbox karts, have given their verdict in Sarno. The 34 finalists in each category are now known, as is the starting grid for the Prefinal. This will in its turn determine the starting positions for the decisive Final. And although the Briton Ben Hanley (in KZ1) and New Zealander Daniel Bray (in KZ2) were impressive there is greater uncertainty than ever!
Posting the second fastest time in Qualifying Practice, Ben Hanley (ART GP-TM) won the day on Saturday with perfect points. Thanks to his three wins in his three Qualifying Heats, the former Formula Renault 3.5 championship runner-up and GP2 driver took pole position for the Prefinal. “That’s not so bad,”Ben smiled. “But the only race you really have to win is the Final.”
The 27-year old Briton knows all too well that a race is never won until the chequered flag is waved, and that behind him there are a number of others who could also win. The Frenchman Arnaud Kozlinski (PCR-TM) won a Heat so he will also start from the front row, ahead of Armand Convers (Kosmic-Vortex), who also won a Heat, and the Dutchman Bas Lammers (Praga-Parilla), who dreams of adding a second World Cup to the one he took in 2010.
Although they will start a little further back on the grid, other Drivers also have high hopes. In fifth place, the Frenchman Anthony Abbasse (Sodi-TM) was constantly among the leaders in the Qualifying Heats, and the same goes for the Czech Patrik Hajek (Praga-Parilla). The Top 10 in the intermediate classification is completed by the Italian Davide Foré (CRG-Maxter), the Belgians Rick Dreezen (Tony Kart-Vortex) and Jonathan Thonon (CRG-Maxter) and the Italian Alessandro Giulietti (Praga-TM). Involved at the start of his last Heat in a collision with his team-mate Dreezen, who had almost stalled on the grid, Marco Ardigo (Tony Kart-Vortex) was only able to take 12th place, just ahead of Paolo De Conto (Birel-BMB), the fastest in Qualifying Practice and the winner of one Heat, but the victim of a puncture. The same misfortune also struck Yannick de Brabander (FK-Maxter), the Belgian being forced to start from 17th place in the Prefinal, although he finished this World Cup in 2nd place a year ago.
With 98 starters for this World Cup, the Drivers in category KZ2 contested no fewer than five Qualifying Heats in their efforts to win one of the 34 places in the Final. Against all expectations, Daniel Bray (GP-TM) dominated the category to win four out of five Heats. Although this is his first Race in Europe, this 25-year old New Zealander has already made a name for himself… and in so doing took pole position for the Prefinal. In the intermediate classification, he leads the Briton Jordon Lennox-Lamb (CRG-Maxter), the Swede Viktor Öberg (Gillard-TM), who also confirmed that his fastest time in Qualifying Practice was not by chance, the Italian Felice Tiene (CRG-Maxter), winner of three Heats, and Simone Brenna (TB Kart-TM), another Italian dreaming of a victory on home soil.
The Top 10 was completed by the Czech Jan Midrla (Birel-TM), the Italians Mirko Torsellini (Tony Kart-Vortex), Flavio Sani (RK-TM) and Marco Pastacaldi (Kosmic-TM), and also the Dutchman Max Verstappen (CRG-TM). Although he will be starting from 10th position in the Prefinal, the son of the former Formula 1 driver will probably be the one to follow on Sunday. Although he had to abandon one Heat with a broken clutch, as he led the battles, Max would doubtless have taken pole position as he won his four other Qualifying Heats. His fight-back will certainly be worth seeing… But we should also keep an eye out for European Championship runner-up Michelle Di Martino (Energy-TM), only 30th after Qualifying Practice but back up to 11th place, and even Simas Juodvirsis (Energy-TM). The Lithuanian winner of the European KZ2 Championship in June, he redeemed himself after extreme difficulties in Qualifying Practice, climbing from 42nd to 12th place. He too is entitled to hold out hopes… and there should be great drama in the Prefinal and the decisive Final!