Sodi World Finals 2018: in 12 Hour Endurance, a Belgian victory, Russian domination in 2 Junior categories, with French winning Sprint
Established in 2011, the Sodi World Final dedicated to the vast world of indoor and outdoor rental karting had never left France. It did so for the first time in 2018, landing in Italy, at the Friuli Venezia Giulia International Kart Circuit in Precenicco, in the province of Udine, not far from the famous Friulian tourist resort of Lignano Sabbiadoro, by the Adriatic Sea. Thus, the event in which drivers from 41 countries from 5 continents participated has also become a tourist attraction, with a final party and Venice as a backdrop. From a sporting point of view, some expected at least one Italian win, but it was not meant to be. ENDURANCE Missing from their record books, they finally brought it home: victory. The drivers of the Belgian team Modave Racing PPS, extremely active in the world of endurance, running between 35 and 40 races each year, won the race. The Italian Damiano Marchesan, second a year ago in Le Mans, sometimes also runs with them. But let's get to the 12 Hour race at the Friuli Venezia Giulia International Circuit. The best time in qualifying on Friday, June 15, was scored by the French team Cine Cascade by Skof in front of the Italians of the Sunlife Racing Team (Lignano Circuit) and the Bahrain team, Racing Bh. The future winners were in 19th position. After two hours of competition, the Italian PFV (Misanino-Misano Adriatico) team was in command. Of note, as many as 12 teams were on the same lap, all of course without any pit stops. Another Italian team was in command after 4 hours, namely the Red Race (Fun Race) with one pit stop, same as another nine teams. Second were the French of Kart & Diem, third were the Bahrain drivers of Racing Bh, fourth Modave Racing PPS, which at half-time, after 6 hours, was in command, followed like a shadow at 2"145 by Red Racing. The situation did not change much after 8 hours. Red Racing followed Modave Racing PPS at 34"791. Third place for Scratch KC, all three with 3 pit stops. Behind them, 3 other teams with 4 pit stops: PFV Infinity (Circuit of Pomposa), Team Nutria (Circuit of Pomposa) and Team Karting 58. After 10 hours, Modave Racing PPS fell to sixth place but had already made 8 pit stops compared to the 4 made by those that at that moment were in the lead, that is, Scratch KC, whereas Red Racing, PFV Infinity and Team Nutria had each made 5. With 6 pit stops, Kart & Diem followed in fifth place. A reminder: 12 stops were compulsory for all teams. At the end, Modave Racing PPS went on to win with 24"804 ahead of Red Racing and 28"512 on PFV. Three teams on the same lap after 12 hours of racing says a lot about the level of professionalism expressed by the competition and race. JUNIOR KID Twenty drivers on the grid. The race started with a delay of about five minutes that became at least double when the kart of the French Tom Delfosse had to be changed, due to an evidently poorly fixed wheel falling off during the warm up lap. The front row was all Russian with Mikhail Evmenenko and Oleg Zholobov. At the start the situation is reversed with Zholobov who goes on to win ahead of Evmenenko who never gave up. Behind the two was the American Justin Adakonis, finishing third, after climbing five positions. It did look like third place was within the reach of the Russian Anastasiya Puhlyakova especially as she had occupied the position for a few laps but she then finished 10th, losing 5 positions compared to her starting position. Decent, the race of Andrea Ballarini (Affi Kart Indoor), the only Italian at the start, eighth overall after starting 14th on the grid. Reminder: the Junior is divided into two according to weight: there is no weight limit: the 40 drivers are weighed; and divided into two groups. JUNIOR The first row was Italian but things did not go as the Italian fans hoped, starting with the two drivers' families: Nicolò Soffiati and Andrea Ceccato; the second of the two, in spite of starting from the first row, immediately lost second to Russian Alexandr Vasilenko who then went to the lead overtaking Nicolò Soffiati, who later fell to third on being overtaken by Ceccato who for the entire race followed Vasilenko like a shadow, with the Russian very sure of himself and ready to close all doors. Meanwhile, behind the first two there was a battle for third place. Soffiati (who like Ceccato represented the Affi Kart Indoor) seemed able to withstand the pressure put on by French driver Bastien Meunier, protagonist of an excursion onto the grass that allowed Soffiati to pull a gap. The Frenchman, however, did not give up and reduced the gap until, with three turns from the finish line, he passed Soffiati, thus taking the third step of the podium. Vasilenko is a 14-year-old student from Moscow. His strategy is "knowing how to wait for the right time to overtake". Andrea Ceccato, 15, from Torretta, studies at the Marconi in Padua. He wears a racing suit from the Zanardi factory but has never raced with the two-stroke. In fifth place, in front of the disappointed Soffiati, was Wesley Edoardo Bettinelli, Italo-Kenyota, whose team put on a rousing cheer: having started ninth, he lost ground he later made up, to finish in fifth. Good also the other Russian Alexandr Trubiner, gaining 6 positions to finish seventh behind another Italian, Andrea Truscello (Competition Karting Club). Ninth position for the fourth Italian in the race, Pietro Grima (Kartodromo City of Messina), who started eleventh on the grid. SPRINT FINAL 4 In this race the fight was for success but, in truth, for the 61st absolute position: the Bulgarian Dimitar Gaidov won, having always been in command. It was not so for the Hungarian Zoltan Lamer, who starting next to him, immediately lost two positions and then another, finishing fifth. Very close to the winner, the Bahrain driver, Abdulla Buhendi, while at some distance, Arthur Gremont-Naumann finished third. SPRINT FINAL 3 Egyptian victory of Ahmed Paparo, owner in his country of the famous Ghibli Raceway, in the final for the 41st absolute position. Ahmed was always in front, while Piernatale Formini (Torino Kart Indoor) got into a fight with several rivals, got a black flag for reasons not completely clear. It was not the only black flag in what was a very nervous race where a lot of dust flew for the numerous off-piste. In second place: Anjum Shaikh, a driver from Dubai, who gained a position against the Hungarian Andras Gaal who started from the front row. Super comeback by Canadian Sabrina Caron: she started last and finished seventh. Sixteenth position for the other Italian in this final, Antonino Bertolami (Kartodromo City of Messina). SPRINT FINAL 2 German Luca Breit and Italian Antonio Truscello (Competition Karting Club) shared the first row of this final that would declare the 21st absolute. The positions in the first laps did not change but behind them the Spaniard Xavier Puigdelliura Montoli and the driver of Bahrain, Rashid Almuammari, were immediately protagonists of two good runs up the grid: the first gained 7 position in a few laps, the second nine. Truscello in the meantime, under pressure, fell to fourth and eventually finished sixth, while Matteo Garabini (Top-Fuel Racing Milan Arena), second at the start, was sent to the bottom of the grid at the third corner of the race and finished last. A negative, too, for Fabio Longo (Competition Karting Club) who lost six positions and finished 17th. At the end of what was a great comeback came victory for Puigdelliura Montoli in front of Almuammari and the Canadian Tai Alexander Zulberti, also the author of a great rush through the ranks, having started from the seventh row. Just off the podium, poleman Breit, fourth. SPRINT SUPER FINAL The first row here was all French with Lucas Urbani in pole position and Mickael Mota at his side, but the latter immediately complicated things and lost positions; he did not give up and began to put in a series of best lap times. Urbani races ahead and seems able to create a gap, escape. Then the gaps decrease and the lead of the race changes with another Frenchman, Kenny Robles, taking the lead and staying there until the end, having climbed 10 positions. Meanwhile, Mota continued to push and managed to take second position, which he lost again, falling to fourth. But he doesn't give up. He insists and finishes second ahead of Lucas Urbani. There were two Italians in the race: Fabrizio Anello (Kartodromo City of Messina) finished eleventh after gaining 6 positions. Andrea Rocco (Lignano Circuit) lost one place, arriving 13P, with a kart that did not perform too well. Here are the words of the first three: Kenny Robles, the 30-year-old winner, wearing a "Run with Clio" suit that denotes his automotive past and a job in the karting world: "I just say that today is a great day. I'm very excited." Mickael Mota, a 16-year-old student with 11 years of karting behind him, double nationality, Portuguese and French: "I had to make up positions but this is karting, you have nothing if you do not earn it. I must say that I had a really fast kart." Finally, the third overall, Luca Urbani, from France, a laboratory job in the hospital, who started from 1P: "A very difficult race, I really hoped for the first place but I had to settle for third. I must admit it was a good fight." Reminder: in this category, drivers compete in Sodi RX250 karts, vehicles equipped with an engine that runs at 11,000 rpm and which, with the control unit adopted in Lignano, delivers 22 HP. With a different CU, the HP climbs to 28.