|press release||13 December 2016|
Kiwi karting sisters Madeline and Ashleigh Stewart from Wellington were on the pace but ultimately unlucky at the annual CIK-FIA Asia-Pacific KZ Championship meeting in Macau over the weekend.
Madeline got as high as 10th in the KZ final - after qualifying 15th and finishing the Pre Final in 14th place - only to be hit and turned around then not allowed by officials to re-start, while Ashleigh fought back from a flat tyre in the X30 support class Pre-Final (which saw her finish 34th) to pass more than half of the field to finish a fighting 17th in the Final.
Above: Madeline (back row centre) in the KZ class driver photo (pic - Fast Company/CIK-FIA)
"Overall it was a great experience," the girls' father and manager Tony Stewart said from Macau on Monday.
"Madeline was gutted not to be able to finish the KZ final but at the same time she was pleased with her pace - she was only six-tenths off pole in qualifying against a field full of experiecned European drivers in only her third KZ event - and her starts. She's been working on them (starts) and in the Final she made up about three rows going into the first corner."
Ashleigh was also on the pace immediately but was hamstrung by a front tyre losing pressure in qualifying and the Pre-Final.
The fault was eventually traced to a cracked rim (because the crack was near the bead the tyre only leaked under load) but after qualifying 11th and finsihing 18th in the first heat and ninth in the second Ashleigh ended up back in 34th place at the end of the Pre-Final.
Undeterred, she put on one of the charges of the weekend to work her way forward to a satisfying 17th at the flag.
Both the girls and their father were impressed with the meeting, as Tony said, "it was great to be part of an international CIK-FIA event, something which is achievable with karting, unlike other forms of motorsport."
The sisters now return home to Welllington for a break from racing over Christmas and New Year………but plenty of plans for 2017.
"We'll start four different series in the New Year," says Tony, "Rotax Max Challenge and Pro Kart here, and the Australian Kart Championship and Rotax Pro Tour across the Tasman, as well as seeing what else we can fit in during the year.
"Hopefully we'll get to do Macau again and maybe Las Vegas."
The 2016 CIK-FIA Asia Pacific title was won by 17-year-old French driver Tom Leuillet (Sodi Kart) from Jorge Carlos Pescador from Spain (Praga) and Louis Prette-Junior (Sodi) from Monaco.