Despite the scorching heat, the competitors in the European Championships of KF2 (the Hopefuls) and KF3 (Juniors) which are being contested this week-end on the Belgian circuit at Genk had to keep a cool head this Saturday during the qualifying heats.
In KF2, the category for young Hopefuls, all the qualifying heats have been contested and we now know the 34 drivers (out of 86 entrants) that have qualified for the final phase. Second fastest in the qualifying practices, Teemu Suninen (Maranello-Maranello) had managed the best throughout the qualifying heats to secure pole position for the pre-final, which will establish the starting grid for the all-important Final. Danish driver Nikolaj Moller-Madsen (Energy-TM) will start his bid on the front row after having made good progress during the day. But these two guys will have to keep an eye on young Danish driver Michelle Gatting (CRG-Maxter), winner of one of the qualifying heats and very much at ease on this circuit. Of the other front runners we also find Austrian Thomas Jager (Birel-BMB), Italian Ignazio D’Agosto (Tony Kart-Vortex) and Belgian driver Sébastien Bailly (Kosmic-Vortex), who dropped from 2nd to 6th in the intermediate classification after having been assessed a penalty for an infringement at the start of the last qualifying heat. The top 10 at the end of the qualifying heats were made up by Italian Stefano Cucco (Birel-Parilla), Japanese Yu Kanamaru (Tony Kart-Vortex), Englishman Luke Varley (Tony Kart-Vortex) and Italian Antonio Maria Giovinazzi (Top Kart-Parilla).
Amongst the unlucky drivers in KF2, local driver Sami Luka (Energy-TM) was involved in several collisions at the start and has not qualified despite having been 5th quickest in qualifying practices – and also the Dane Jakob Nortoft (FA-Vortex) and the German Marvin Kirchhöfer (Gillard-TM), amongst the favourites after their performances during the regional qualifiers in May but non-qualifiers for the Finals in Genk. For all of them, the dreams of an European title have already evaporated...
In KF3, 3 qualifying heats remain to be contested on Sunday morning so the 34 finalists are not yet known. One thing is for sure : the contest will be just has wide open and it’s not easy to make a prediction. Amongst the young men in form, we find the Russian Egor Orudshev (Intrepid-TM), the Dutchmen Lukas Machunskas (Tony Kart-Vortex) and Peter Hoevenaars (Intrepid-TM), the Brits Alexander Albon (Intrepid-TM) and Roy Johnson (Zanardi-Parilla), Roumanian Robert Visoiu (Tony Kart-Vortex), Dutchman Max Verstappen (CRG-Maxter) or the Frenchman Pierre Gasly (Sodi-Parilla), winners of a qualifying heat or consistent front-runners. But there is still a long way to go before anybody steps on the podium!
This Sunday, the pre-finals are scheduled for 13.45 (KF2) and 14.15 (KF3) and then the start time for the big Finals are set for 15.30 (KF2) and 16.15 (KF3).
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