Meeting his fans face to face, Belgian driver Jonathan Thonon (CRG-Maxter) largely dominated the second and final round of the KZ1 European Championship, which was held this weekend in Mariembourg, Belgium, to win the European crown. In KF1, the principal category of direct drive karts, Marco Ardigo (Tony Kart-Vortex) is back on course for the title which will be decided at the final in Portugal following his two race wins whilst Joffrey Demanse had a fine showing in KZ2 (division 2 of gearbox karts).
The KZ1 battle had been eagerly anticipated by everyone. Winner of a race each in France in the opening round of the competition, Jonathan Thonon (CRG-Maxter) and Bas Lammers (Top Kart-TM) arrived at Mariembourg in equal first place for the second and final round of the KZ1 European Championship. However there was no contest in this top class of 125cc gearbox karts as Thonon on his home track was in irrepressible form dominating Race 1 before finishing, with the pressure off, in second place in Race 2. Four years after his European title in ICA, Jonathan Thonon thus added another European crown to his tally which also counts the World Cup. The dedication of Thonon is matched by his team, CRG, and Belgian teammate Rick Dreezen (CRG-Maxter) who secured the runner up vice champion title with his victory in Race 2. The two Belgians headed Bas Lammers in the championship, never in a position to make the podium and hurt by the non finish in Race 2, trailing Frenchman Thomas Mich (Birel-TM) and the ever youthful Alessandro Piccini (Maranello-TM). In spite of two 3rd places guaranteeing CRG-Maxter a 100% podium record, the 2007 champion Alessandro Manetti failed to make the top 5.
Comprising three rounds, the European KF1 championship is far from over yet. One could even say that after the two races in Belgium, the title hunt starts all over again. Twice a winner, the triple European Champion Marco Ardigo (Tony Kart-Vortex) recovered a delicate situation after the opening round in Angerville. The Italian stands in second place in the championship a few points adrift of his team mate Gary Catt, constrained by the abandonment in the first race just like poleman Armand Convers (PCR-TM) and Sauro Cesetti (Birel-TM). Very keen to give his Belgian fans something to cheer, Yannick de Brabander (Intrepid-TM) created a great atmosphere by twice mounting the podium. After his third place in Race 1, behind Alessandro Bressan (Kosmic-Vortex), the young Belgian (17 years old) took the second race by ... 10 milliemes! Sauro Cesetti, starting in 30th place on the grid, certainly had cause to rue the fact that there wasn’t another few laps. More than ever this was an example of a fabulous duel between two generations of drivers with the crowd playing their part to build up a great atmosphere. It is certain that there will be plenty more great competiton in Braga, in Portugal on the first weekend in August.
Like the KF1 class, the KZ2 category (division two of gearbox karts) contested the second round of a three round championship. After a great showing in a festival atmosphere in round one in their native France, the victories were shared between championship leaders Tony Lavanant (Energy-TM) and Joffrey Demanse (PCR-TM). The ten seconds penalty assessed on Lavanant for a jump start in race two which he had dominated, dropped him down to 10th place thereby enabling Joffrey Demanse to go to the top of the championship standings. The difference between Demanse and Lavanant is only 11 points however and a third Frenchman, Mathias Galeppe (Energy-TM) lies in wait ready to pounce. Scheduled for the beginning of September on the French track at Varennes-sur-Allier, an event combined with the KZ1 World Cup, this final will be worth its weight in gold!
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