BNL KicK-Off: Ashcroft, Lowette, Van Der Struijs, Borgaard and Kristensen lead the way

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Columns: Races
With 157 drivers competing over a total of 15 heats on Saturday at the 2023 BNL Karting Series Kick-Off, a slightly warmer start to the weekend initially saw slightly more varied weather in the early morning stages, before the warmth from the overhead sunshine helped to raise the air temperature and the action out on track.

In Mini, Jacob Ashcroft (#122) was the standout dominant force during qualifying and the heats, securing pole position and winning both his heats to have the advantage in the final day of the weekend. It was a British lockout of the top four positions, which saw the quartet covered by just six points after the heats. Albert Friend (#191), Cole Denholm (#162) and Rory Armstrong (#166) showcased their racing prowess, with Denholm winning the opening heat of the day. Both Friend and Armstrong would place in the top three in both their races, meaning they would place ahead of Felipe Reijs (#107), who was fifth after the heats on 14 points. The Netherlands’ Ryan Rijvers (#123) was the best of the Rookie drivers, placing ninth in the Ranking after Heats.

A consistent day for Beau Lowette (#224 – BEL) saw the Deams Racing driver secure the Ranking after Heats lead in Juniors, after qualifying sixth overall plus a win, a second and third place finish. JJ Racing’s Kasper Schormans (#240 – NED) was very close to taking a clean sweep of wins after winning the first two heats, but a post-race penalty dropped him from second in the final race to 12th. Tino Sidler (#210 – SUI) would be at the sharp end of the field, not placing out of the top seven all day long including qualifying, placing as high as fourth in heat two, taking third in the rankings. Armand Hamilton (#242 – HUN) would make up for a difficult qualifying to take two second place finishes, thereby placing fourth, in front of Mika Van De Pavert (#286 – NED), who would enjoy racing out the front but the results would not fully reflect his efforts.

The young challengers were very much in the spotlight when it came to Seniors, as Tommie Van Der Struijs (#354 – NED) proved his run of form following on from winning the season opener of the RMC Belgian MAX Challenge. He would pip Belgium’s Kaï Rillaerts (#374) to pole position by 0.003 seconds in qualifying, and with both drivers winning two heats each, Van Der Struijs’ measured drive to second in his final heat would secure him the top spot for the Pre-Final. Rillaerts was third in his first heat, putting him second in the Ranking After Heats. Devyan Roest (#345 – NED) was also in prominent view at the front of the field in his three heats, taking a win, a second and fifth place finish to secure third in front of Vic Stevens (#369 – BEL), who showcased great consistency, staying convincingly in the top four all day. Austin Lee (#372 – GER) was also on top form, showing that he is one to be considered as a potential victor, taking a win in his opening heat, along with running in the top five throughout the day to secure fifth overall.

Carl Gustav Borgaard (#437 – DEN) was clearly the driver to beat in DD2, as the RS Competition driver would sweep the board with race wins, putting him at the top of the rankings after the heats, with the young SP Motorsport duo of Tom Braeken (#418 – BEL) and Enzo Bol (#404 – NED) putting everyone on notice that they are not just there to make up the numbers. Both Braeken and Bol showed good pace and exciting overtaking at a circuit they both know well, as round out the top three in the rankings, who are covered by nine points. Latvia’s Marins Janovskis (#422) was also one to watch, as he was in contention for consistent top five finishes on a regular basis but would end up securing fourth, in front of France’s Enzo Boulogne (#405) and Canada’s Lucas Pernod (#450) when it came to the rankings after three exciting heats.

It was another day of success for Denmark when it came to DD2 Masters, as Nikolai Kristensen (#508) was giving the DD2s a run for their money, taking two heat wins with a fifth place finish in Heat 3. 2022 RMC Euro Golden Trophy champion Sebastian Rumpelhardt would place second in the class, having also broken into the top ten a couple of times, taking eighth place finishes in the last two heats. Thomas Piert (#505 – GER) was third in the DD2 Masters rankings after the three heats, having featured in the top fifteen overall, whilst Dominic Ummels (#577 – NED) and Germany’s Michael Becker (#526) completing the top five.
It all comes down to Finals Day at Karting Genk, the “Home of Champions,” as the last set of races will see who becomes the 2023 BNL Kick-Off champions and thereby booking their place for the entire 2023 season starting next month.

All the action will be live streamed via the BNL Karting Series YouTube channel, which you can find at https://www.youtube.com/@BNLKartingSeries, with live timing and results available via the Rotax Global App.


Photocredit: Michael Melis/Kartphoto

Press Release by: BNL karting series - 05/03/23

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