The final round of the European KZ-KZ2 Championship, held on the Swedish track in Kristianstad, ended with a sense of increased determination in view of the World KZ Championship scheduled on 12th October in Sarno, Italy.
In KZ, both ART Grand Prix factory drivers, Ben Hanley and Mirko Torsellini, improved in the decisive stages of the weekend after fighting for the top-5 position. Following the qualifying session where the ART Grand Prix boys did not excel - with Hanley stopping 8th and Torselling 13th fastest lap respectively – the heat session continued with improved results particularly for the Brit, able to finish 7th and twice 6th in the three heats. Too bad that he was inflicted 10” penalty in Heat 2, which forced him to start from 8th on the grid in prefinal, with his Italian teammate just behind him on row 5. In what turned out to be an extremely hard fought prefinal, the Brit did manage to make up a few positions, closing in 6th and Torsellini in 10th. In the final, Torsellini did make a good leap at the start that projected him straight into 8th, and with five laps to go right behind his teammate, but the particular configuration of the track – not exactly suitable for the power relinquished by the KZ – allowed for no other overtaking. Overall, the duo ended the championship in 9th and 10th position respectively, showing a solid pace throughout nonetheless.
In his KZ2 debut season, British driver Sam Webster did make up for the previous unsuccessful round with a consistent performance that saw him race a solid heat session, also grabbing 6th in Heat 3 after a superb leap forward in the opening lap, and make it to the prefinal through the Second Chance Heat. A very good performance followed in the prefinal, where the young driver managed to make up as many as 15 positions after starting from the back of the grid, reasserting his crisp talent. Performance coupled with a solid final (and his first championship point) which the Brit closed in 17th after dropping a few positions at the start.
In the third round of the European KFJ Championship, yet another British driver proved to be the best of the ART Grand Prix camp. This time, Racing Steps Foundation pupil Josh Smith made no mistake, and following a good qualifying, he made a great showing grabbing 2nd twice, then 12th and 11th. Contacts continue to seem the favourite tactics of some drivers also in Sweden, as the Brit had the occasion to experience, particularly in Heat 4, where he dropped from 9th to the back of the field with two laps to go. Nevertheless, he still managed a good 17th overall, meaning P9 starting grid position in the first of the two prefinals system, which he closed down to 11th. A tough final ensued, with Smith able to make a good leap forward from his 21st grid position in the early stages, then dropping back and fighting his way through to 14th by the time the chequered flag waved, with the fourth fastest time to his credit.
In search of more luck the Finnish duo Pasma-Tonteri racing for ART Grand Prix Finland satellite team, both solidly in the top-10 during the heats but deprived of a good performance in the final stages by the redundant contacts in the prefinals, as it happened to Tonteri forced out at the last lap while strongly in 8th.
Armando Filini (Team Manager)
“The World Championships will most certainly see us protagonist. Although not much came in terms of results out of the Swedish weekend, the performance is very promising and we are determined to show it in the most important event of the season.”
ART Grand Prix next race
31-08 CIK-FIA European KF & KFJ Championships Rnd.4, PF International (UK)