CIK-FIA European Superkart Championship
Round 1 - Silverstone (GBR) - 2-4/04/2010
Damien Payart (PVP-FPE) threw down the challenge to the other European Superkart racers, and especially the well fancied British Drivers, when he took the 2010 Championship lead after the opening two rounds at Silverstone.
Race 1 was strange because the great majority of Drivers chose slick tyres for the drying conditions. Yet the first eight Drivers to finish were amongst the few that had chosen wet tyres. Malcolm Crowe (Anderson-DEA) from pole position was one of the first Drivers to realise he had made the wrong tyre choice and elected to come in and change but spun out of the race before he could do so. But the other front row starter Trevor Roberts (Anderson-BRC) made a superb start and led the race until just before half race distance when his engine seized. The impressive Norwegian Erik Martin Gjertsen (PVP-PVP) took over the lead for three laps and looked the likely winner. But Damien Payart starting on the 7th row was making steady progress through the field and in the final quarter of the race, pulled away for a 4.8 seconds winning margin. Swedish newcomer to the Championship, Tony Ahlgren (PVP-PVP) was impressive throughout and was well worth the 3rd podium place.
“I took it easy in the opening laps and tried to avoid those Drivers on slicks”, Payart explained. “But once I got ahead I had no problems and I had made just the right tyre pressure choice for my Bridgestone wets”, he said.
Race 2 was altogether different with the track completely dry. Pole sitter Malcolm Crowe made that advantage count and set a fast opening pace. But Trevor Roberts again took the lead and this time there was to be no bad luck story. However, at two thirds race distance defending champion Gavin Bennett (Anderson-DEA) was closing fast and looked to have enough speed to go by. But the Irishman Roberts resisted his moves and went on to win by just over a second. Malcolm Crowe had no misfortunes this time and the Channel Islander made the podium in 3rd place.
“I am obviously pleased to win”, said Roberts. “But I knew Gavin was closing in on me. I could hear him changing gears and I knew what a fast finisher he is”. Then he added bitterly “I hope I can find the budget to complete the Championship”. Bennett also had an eye on the Championship as a whole. “I think I have just salvaged my title hopes with that result” he said with a smile.
The morning and afternoon races had been in stark contrast. Four PVP chassis finished in the first four places in Race 1 with three Frenchmen in the Top 6 and only one Englishman in the Top 10. In Race 2 it was Anderson chassis in the first four places with five English Drivers and two Frenchmen in the Top 10.
Damien Payart had mastered the Silverstone Formula One Grand Prix circuit in all conditions (wet, dry and drying) with a first and a fifth places, and one of the best Englishmen was the least experienced: the consistent Lee Morgan (Raider-Rotax) who is 20 years old, took a fifth and a seventh places and looks a potential champion of the future.
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