I chased my World Championship | Interview with Alessandro Manetti

- Interview
Some time has passed from the World Championship in Wackersdorf, then we exclusively interviewed the two exceptional protagonists of the KZ Master, who gave life to an epic race finale. Ask which is the World Championship everyone remembers this year, any fan will answer: Forè Vs Manetti. (fm)

First of all, tell us about the pre-world championship in Wackersdorf, which you faced in the aftermath of an injury as peculiar as it was disabling for a kart driver: the attack of a wild boar and the impressive wound to the side...
«My psycho-physical condition before the incident with the wild boar was perfect. I myself was amazed at the condition I had achieved, really - despite my age; my idea was that I had to win the World. The accident brought me down a lot, believe me: my first thought, even though I had just risked my life and they were loading me into an ambulance, was: "my World Championship!" I laugh about it now but it was dramatic: we were two Sundays before the World Championship (27 August, editor's note) and I was hospitalized from Sunday to Thursday. I underwent an operation under general anesthesia with 4 vials of morphine so as to sew me up inside and out, given that there had been muscle and tissue injuries caused by the wild boar's tusks and a pneumathorax. On Saturday, hence two days later, I was on the track. I was on antibiotics and painkillers but, just think, I’d stopped everything early so as not to have problems later with the anti-doping controls, or so they would not destabilize me further, etc.»
There was a serious risk of your not racing in Germany: when did you realize that the entire race weekend was physically within your reach? Did you limit free practice sessions when it was possible? How did you manage your “injury” over the weekend?
«When I got into the kart on Thursday, honestly, I was a bit down in the dumps and I thought I wouldn't make it. I still did P2, a few hundredths from the first but only because, keep in mind, that I had found traffic. I was very annoyed not to take first place because it has always been an obsession of mine: to do the fastest time (and laughs), otherwise I get really *** upset. Then there was Friday, the first heat and there was a 'click' in my head: everything changed. I won it and – imagine - I got an absurd penalty; I got 5 seconds from the stewards who then prevented me from winning, in the end. A truly incomprehensible penalty that, even after looking at the images, cannot be explained.»
Coming to the sporting part: you were more determined than ever to win; it was really close. What were the weekend’s key moments? And the race itself? What made the difference in your opinion?
«So let's say one thing: the penalty in the first heat, which I won, put me out of the game because in the heat which I won in front of Forè, I gave him 1.7 second in ten laps. If I had started in front in the final he would have taken a gap of a straight. In the super Heat I beat him. Having said that, to be specific, at the end of the race, as soon as I got behind him, Forè started to enter all the corners very tight to defend himself but I was calm at that moment because I could breathe a sigh of relief after the comeback, even though I already had the tires gone and the kart was sliding everywhere. I repeat, I was calm because I knew that sooner or later, if he had to close, he would however make a mistake, perhaps putting his wheels in the dirt.»
The battle with Forè had some moments of "tension" but it can be classified among the clean fights in a sport like ours. In light of what happened in Franciacorta in OK, what difference do you notice between the duel between you and Davide and the one between Gomez and Turney?
«Let's say one thing: if I hadn't braked when he closed, it would have ended up like Gomez and Turney. Honor to the champion, ok, but for me his gesture was not sportsmanlike. Many saw it and what happened is very clear. He knows what maneuver he made. As an 'older' driver, I didn't put an end to both of our races as happened to the younger guys in Franciacorta in OK, but if you look at the images of the bend after, when he had come out of the bend badly, he openly gave me a shove. The difference between us and OK was that I raised my foot. If it had been the last lap maybe I wouldn't have lifted my foot, probably. After the contact I lost a second, and you lose a second with a shove to the side, not going into the dirt. Then I recovered the entire disadvantage again until the finish line, when he defended himself again. I chased my world championship, from the accident with the wild boar to the finish line; he defended it until the end. I'm not upset with Davide, but everyone saw how the final part of the race went. I took my kart home because for me it's a memento and the fairings are marked by his wheel, period. (photo) I did this World Championship on my own: for a month I was a driver and an “engineer”: I assembled everything myself, carburettors, engines and everything that was needed to make this World Championship. CRG driver but who managed the Tm engines out of his own pocket and who managed himself independently, with his own resources.»
The question is obligatory: will you try again in 2024? Will there be a chance to see you in karting next year?
«I've always had the passion for tuning engines, KZ or as I also had when I had my Minikart drivers. From here to saying I will do the World Championship, I don't know. I will do everything I can to do the European Championship – I understand there will be the European Masters Championship. On this, I allow myself to say that the Master should be for Over 40: next year I will be 52; racing against a 35-year-old 'kid', I don’t know...»
Let's look at a bit more of an overall analysis of today's karting. You've been living it under the tent for many years now and this year there was also a stint behind the wheel. What do you like about today's karting and what do you think could and should be revised? Clearly for you this question takes on a particular value given that you represent, together with Davide and many others, a period that many regret, miss.
«After 35 years of karting, I think I can give my opinion: I have noticed a great deterioration among the race officials: arrogant and rude - you can write that down. The penalties imposed on me and other drivers are absurd: when they penalized me for the 'false start' there was another driver, Newmann, and he too could not explain, in the face of the unmistakable images, why they had given me a penalty. Like the penalty for absurd reasons that they had also given to him... moreover. I won all the heats, and I'm the only one. I won the super heat and should have started first. Then in the Final, when a driver loses a second due to a shove following a contact, there is something that the Race Director missed. If we have to think about what has improved, well, technology today allows us to do things at an organizational level that are not comparable to the karting of the past. However, I repeat myself, I think that the FIA should invest a little in the quality of the officials. The constructors put a lot of money into it; it's about time the FIA also spent it on the training of race officials - also seeing situations like that of Turney, which could have been avoided with more capable marshals..»
Some time ago you told us about 6" tires as a possible regulatory change to make driving more "selective" in KZ. In your opinion, in what way could this make KZ a true and unassailable Top Class in karting?
«KZ1 must be made more difficult. There's no way that the only difference with KZ2 is those 5 kg. of weight. Why don't we make it a single category, where the 'champion' makes the difference, is the added value? With the 6", for which the last year was 1993, a difference would emerge between the drivers in driving and race management that only a few could show and in karting we would really have a very high level category, for drivers and vehicles. You could do a class with a 6" free tire - after all you just need to do a bit of testing thinking that there are differences in weight and maximum speed between a Superkart and a KZ - it would be a real show, believe me.»


“The World Champion is made not only by what you do driving, but also in how you react to situations on and off the track.” (A. Manetti)



 

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