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World Championship Racing Suspended

World Championship Racing Suspended

The Karting World Championship which is scheduled to be raced this weekend in Macau suffered a premature halt this Saturday. The officials of the event decided to suspend racing after the qualifying practice and just two qualifying heats. The cause : the asphalt surface of the circuit had been damaged by the passage of the karts in racing conditions. A solution is currently being sought to enable this, the first World Championship to be staged in Asia, to go ahead without any further misfortune and still all be determined on Sunday.

Contrary to certain points of view expressed, this is a good track in the dry, and even under the drying sun, which changed some characteristics in qualifying practice. This was the occasion for Ben Hanley (Maranello-Maxter) to make his return to karting after having had a successful period in single seater racing and having achieved the title of vice-champion in Formula Renault 3.5 in2007. In doing so he reminded us all of his karting credentials. The British driver secured himself pole position in front of the Italian Alessandro Bressan (Kosmic-Vortex), the Briton Gary Catt (Tony Kart-Vortex), the young Frenchman Brandon Maisano (LH-Maxter), a newcomer amongst karting’s elite, and likewise the young European Champion from Finland, Aaro Vainio (Maranello-Maxter). These five, separated by only two tenths of a second, emerged from their qualifying practice in front of the Belgian Yannick De Brabander (Intrepid-TM), the Italian World Champion Marco Ardigo (Tony Kart-Vortex) and the three Frenchmen Manuel Renaudie (Gillard-Parilla), Armand Convers (Kosmic-Vortex) and Arnaud Kozlinski (CRG-Maxter).

The races appeared to have gone satisfactorily. But, in the paddock, several doubts were expressed about the asphalt on the track beginning to break up. These doubts began to be confirmed. After the race wins by Ben Hanley and Arnaud Kozlinski in the first two qualifying heats (of the six scheduled), the Event Officials decided to take a pause in the scheduled timetable. (Alessandro Bressan had finished first in race 2 but was assessed a penalty.) It emerged that in several places the asphalt was damaged during the karts racing over it. The formation of cracks in the track, the presence of very fine gravel splinters and the scope for these to be thrown up towards the drivers created conditions of compromised safety.

A solution is currently being sought by all interested parties to repair the damage and eliminate further degradation to the track. Sunday’s timetable will have to be revised to allow the remaining races to take place as close as possible in accordance with the original schedule.

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