Dutchman Bas Lammers, European Champion in the KZ1 class, the premier division of gearbox karts, secured pole position for the first race of the 2010 European Championship, which is being held this weekend at Sarno close to Naples.
After two days of free testing during which drivers and teams sought the best settings to suit the Circuito Internazionale Napoli, the serious business began this Saturday morning with the first races for both KZ1 and KZ2 European Championships, the two classes for gearbox karts.
The qualifying practice of KZ1, which determines the starting grids of the qualifying heats, was marked by the domination of the three Intrepid factory drivers. European Vice-Champion in 2009, Frenchman Jérémy Iglésias secured pole position in front of the young Belgian Yannick de Brabander and Dutchman Bas Lammers, the European Title Holder.
These three had laid down the challenge by gaining a clear advantage over Frenchman Thomas Mich (Birel-TM) and Britain’s Ben Hanley (Maranello-Maranello). But whereas the qualifying practice is one thing, it is the qualifying races which determine the starting grid of the first final scheduled for Sunday at 13.40. And one thing is certain and that is that the Finals are not going to be short on surprises. Jérémy Iglésias had engine failure in his first qualifying race, just like his compatriot Manuel Renaudie (PCR-TM), a poor reward for his impressive speed. In this same first race Yannick de Brabander and Jorrit Pex (CRG-TM) also suffered the same fate. Finally the only one of the favourites not to encounter a problem was Bas Lammers.
With two wins in his three races, the European Champion secured pole position for Sunday’s first race ahead of Ben Hanley.
Regular front-runner without threatening a victory, the Czech driver Patrick Hajek (Tony Kart-Vortex) took 3rd position in front of Thomas Mich and Jérémy Iglésias. Also making the top ten were Salvatore Gatto (Parolin-SGM), Antonio Piccioni (Parolin-SGM), Alessandro Piccini (Intrepid-TM), Nicola Nolé (CRG-TM) and Anthony Abasse (Sodikart-TM), recovering well after having problems in qualifying practice. As for Yannick de Brabander (16th ) and Manuel Renaudie (18th ) they will be handicapped on Sunday needing a big improvement if they are to score those important points for their overall championship bids.
In contrast to their KZ1 colleagues, the drivers in the KZ2 class (the second level of karts with a gearbox) have not yet completed their qualifying races. These will finish on Sunday morning when the 34 finalists out of the 74 entered drivers, will be determined. Already amongst the fastest in qualifying practice, Antonio Garcia (CRG-Maxter), Luca Tilloca (CRG-Maxter), Paolo de Conta (Energy-TM) and Yan Pesce (Energy-TM) seem to be the best placed. As for Beitske Visser, second fastest in qualifying practice, she lost positions at the start of each race but her capability to go really fast is not in any doubt. The young Dutch girl could still create a surprise tomorrow during the last two scheduled races.
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