Last call for the OK/OKJ European Championship, how do you drive at Franciacorta?

Columns: Close Up
A young track in Italy with a demanding layout that reminds many of the most technical tracks on the FIA calendars. How do you drive at Franciacorta?

In the recent past, the Franciacorta Karting Track has already hosted two RGMMC races, i.e. two purely international and high-level competitions, practically the same that we will find again in a few days when the last round of the OK and OKJ European Championship starts for real. 

In the Winter Series at the beginning of 2022 and in the last race of the Champions Of The Future, we saw and could record different approaches to the circuit and many key episodes that could make the difference, not only for the victory of the race but obviously for the awarding of the title of European Champion. 

Luigi Coluccio (OK Senior - Tony Kart), gave us a brief description of how he drives at Franciacorta and what the key points could be. Coluccio was the leader of the Champions Of The Future, going on to contend for the final victory with his team-mate Joe Turney, a challenge that is also expected during the weekend now approaching. 

«Franciacorta is a very fast track. There are some points where the engine drops a lot of revs, with a small enough ratio you could have trouble coming out, so it is really very important to have a clean drive. You have to try not to go for the last metre of braking but be more gradual in order to have a good exit from the less fast sections. A critical point on this track, in my opinion, is between turns 9, 10 and 11 in terms of driving because it requires a lot especially in the race. For the set-up, a general discourse applies, namely that you need to have as complete a package as possible, from the engine to the feeling on all the corners. Franciacorta is an interesting track for overtaking. It alternates stretches where you can overtake easily and cleanly, with other points where you can risk something and take advantage of your opponent, taking him just off the line». 

An example of the key moments that Franciacorta has already created, and will certainly recreate, can be traced back to Ricky Flynn driver Maciej Gladysz, winner in Junior earlier this year in the Winter Series. On that occasion, Gladysz, managed to never lose the lead train until he took advantage of a tussle at the front to sneak up on his opponent on the inside at the last corner of the last lap, an episode that could also mean a resounding turn in the standings if repeated.

Maciej Gladysz (RFM - OK Junior): «The first corner braking point is very important because you have to try to brake as late as possible, but it’s not easy with the dirt that gathers on the outside line. Some drivers turn in quite late for the opening corner, I prefer to turn in early because I find it’s an advantage to gain more speed on the exit of the turn. You have to be very mindful of the kerbs, and wherever possible you actually avoid running over them. There are a few circuits where you can be quite aggressive on the kerbs, but at Franciacorta you will nearly always lose more time than you gain, so it’s not worth the risk. Even more important is to not lock the tyres into the heavy breaking zones. I’ve done this a couple of times and it can ruin a session instantly - your tyres never recover from it and you are fighting with them for the rest of their life.
There are some strong overtaking zones - turns one and two are quite natural if you position yourself well and have good acceleration in the apexes before. Turn 5 is for those who want to be a little brave, you don’t have a lot of buildup to the braking zone so you need to know it’s definitely going to be successful. My preferred places are the last two big braking zones - turn 11 into the left hander at the end of sector 2 and turn 14 where I took the lead on the last lap of the Winter Series - these are mainly about confidence. When you know the kart can give you the speed, you can line up the position very smoothly and the move is fairly easy to finish. But the track is challenging for everyone so you can be quite cunning and make some interesting moves from nowhere - you have to be ready to adapt and very alert, things change very quickly on this circuit. But it suits me well, it’s one of my all-time favourites!»

Created by: scorradengo - 05/07/22

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