CIK-FIA “U18” World Championship : Dennis and Hubert early leaders in Wackersdorf
26.07.2010: The CIK-FIA “U18” World Championship which got off the ground this week-end on the German circuit “Prokart Raceland” at Wackersdorf has by and large reached all expectations. The drivers, all below 18 years of age, have produced a magnificient spectacle t
The CIK-FIA “U18” World Championship which got off the ground this week-end on the German circuit “Prokart Raceland” at Wackersdorf has by and large reached all expectations. The drivers, all below 18 years of age, have produced a magnificient spectacle throughout the whole week-end and have proved that this formula – based on minimum cost and a level-playing field for all entrants – has an exciting future.
After the qualifying practices and heats, the 34 drivers who qualified for the Final phase contested 2 prefinals, of which the second one, for the first time in a CIK-FIA World Championship, had a totally reversed grid. After these two races, it was the Austrian Julian Wagner (Mach 1) who gained pole position. But all the drivers knew perfectly well that only the Final would count for Championship points in this new “Under 18” World Championship.
First in front, the Finn Matias Köykkä (Maranello) gave up the lead to Simone Favaro (Parolin). But the Italian was excluded after several laps for having caused an avoidable accident at the start. So, the young British driver Jake Dennis (Top Kart) inherited the lead and never looked back. Coached by former World Champion Terry Fullerton (1973) and supported by Racing Steps Foundation, which helps talented young drivers with limited finances, the Englishman confirmed the faith placed in him. “It’s a great feeling to be leading a World Championship standing”, acknowledged Jake. “This concept in which you put talent first is really good. As a result, I’m so happy to be the winner.”
Runner-up in the Final, Finland’s Mattias Köykkä was also upbeat. “It’s difficult to find big sponsors in Finland”, he explained. “So, a World Championship with limited cost like this one is a really excellent opportunity to grasp.” The Finnish challenge was even more successful with 3rd place going to Teemu Suninen (Maranello).
Other drivers catching the eye in the top 5 included Irishman John Norris (Intrepid) and yet another Finn, Ville Mäntylä (Energy), but also notable was 4 different chassis makes in the top 5 finishers. Sixth placed Vincent Fraisse (Intrepid) finished in front of Julian Wagner (Mach 1), Spaniard Victor Colome (Intrepid), Northern-Irishman Adam Strirling (Intrepid) and Austrian Stefan Riener (Intrepid).
Supporting the “U18” World Championship, the CIK-FIA Academy Trophy tracked 32 drivers all of different nationalities, and all representing their own national federation. As a result, we had drivers from 4 different continents but it was the European who were always the front-runners. In this competition where all the drivers were provided with identical Parolin chassis and FIM motors, it really was only the talent of the driver which made the difference.
In this context, French lad Antoine Hubert made a great impression by winning two close races. Selected by the French Fedération at the end of a two-day selection process, Antoine twice finished in front of the Estonian Hans Villemi who had the fastest time in the qualifying practice in the rain. Third in the first race, the driver from Monaco Charles Leclerc fell away as a result of a technical problem during the second race.
This was to the advantage of Finland’s Niklas Tiihonen, on the podium for the second race and helped in the championship standings. Finishing 4th twice, English lad Roy Johnson was always in the thick of the action and will be a serious contender at the end of August during the next round. The same applies to the Dutchman Max Koebolt, Charles Leclerc, currently 6th in the championship, German Michael Waldherr, the Swede Hannes Nillsson, the driver from Luxemburg Olivier Thill and Russian Vsevolod Gagen who completed the top 10 after the two races in Germany.
The next round is scheduled for the Spanish circuit at Alcaniz from 27th to 29th of August, before the final round at Val d’Argenteon, in France (1st to 3rd of October). We already have a taste of things to come in these two passionately fought competitions.
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The contestants in the CIK-FIA Under 18 World Karting Championship and the CIK-FIA Academy Trophy are getting closer by the hour to the start of their first world event. This Thursday, they have taken their places in the Wackersdorf paddock, a little under 100 kilometres east of Nuremberg, where this week-end the first of three races in these competitions are taking place.
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