Leonardo Principalli: his "Driver's Diary" at the 2023 Rotax Finals

Columns: On Track
Leonardo Principalli, an Italian-Swiss driver specializing in single-brand races, a driver who has won everywhere, with any and all types of kart, in brand Trophies, has accepted a new challenge this year, that of covering the double role of driver and 'journalist inside the race' for the week of the finals in which he will compete in DD2. Let’s follow his adventure in Bahrain directly from the track...

Hi, I'm Leonardo Principalli and I've been racing go-karts since 2013, when I started with rental karts at a track near my home, in Italian Switzerland. After having competed and won some championships in the Easykart Trophy, at the end of 2021 I decided to try the Rotax Trophy. The 2022 season was my debut in the Max category of the Italian championship, and I felt at ease straight away. 

Even though I was a rookie, together with my MKC Motorsport team we managed to win both the local championship and the national final, which usually gives access to the Grand Final but, racing with a Swiss license - and the regulations state that one must win the Championship of the country in which you live - I was unable to participate in the Portimao Grand finals at the end of 2022, and therefore I decided to try again for 2023 by participating in the Swiss Rotax championship, also changing category because I have always liked to try my hand at new and stimulating challenges, and the DD2, the gearbox category with Rotax, is indeed a lot to handle.

The season was memorable for me: 5 victories out of 6 races allowed me to earn the Ticket as per the regulations and achieve my seasonal objectives. So here I am: on December 1st, I left for Bahrain together with my mechanic Cosimo and part of my team, MKC. As soon as I arrived, yesterday I dedicated myself to the technical checks and registrations, both of which went smoothly thanks to the excellent organization of the Rotax staff; furthermore, in the evening, which is very important for me given that I have never raced here, I managed to do a session with the rental karts to familiarize myself with the track. 
The combinations of fast corners and height changes make the circuit very entertaining and challenge the drivers as staying on the ideal racing line is essential to having a good lap time and managing the tires. Today is the big day: we collect the kart that I will use these days - identical for each driver - and this incredible experience begins for me which I will tell you 'from the inside' on these pages...

Track diary day 2: the assignment of the karts to the RMCGF 

The ritual assignment of the karts is a Grand Finals ritual that cannot leave anyone indifferent. For our correspondent inside the race, the time for the track is approaching... 
It was an intense day of preparations in the Bahrain heat! After participating in the briefing, I finally collected my BirelArt, and seeing the iconic train of karts positioned on the straight in person was an indescribable emotion. 

The concept of racing with identical karts and a limited number of modifications to make put the driver at the very center, who must make the difference given the parity between all the vehicles. 
One aspect that can make the difference is finding the ideal driving position, given that you are not racing with the kart you used during the championship, so in DD2 for example, positioning the gear shift paddles correctly is a fundamental factor for going fast. 
Free practice will finally begin tomorrow and in my group, that is the even-numbered one, fortunately there are some great names of drivers who will give me a hard time and will push me to give my all every lap!



Created by: cggiuliano - 05/12/23

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