Nyck De Vries retains his CIK-FIA World Title

Nyck De Vries retains his CIK-FIA World Title

14.11.2011: Fifth and final meeting of the CIK-FIA World KF1 Championship, the Suzuka event (JPN) has crowned Nyck De Vries (Zanardi-Parilla-Bridgestone) double World

Fifth and final meeting of the CIK-FIA World KF1 Championship, the Suzuka event (JPN) has crowned Nyck De Vries (Zanardi-Parilla-Bridgestone) double World Champion.

In addition to succeeding himself on the Championship’s list of results, the Dutchman also made it a point of honour to prevail in Race 4 at Suzuka, which was his last international participation in Karting before he switches over to Motorsport as planned.

After his disappointing 14th lap-time in Qualifying on Saturday, De Vries constantly progressed throughout the weekend, recovering to fifth place in Race 1, third in Race 2 and second in Race 3 before landing Race 4.

From 18 points before the Japanese event, his final lead in the Championship has gone up to 45 points over Britain’s Alexander Albon (Intrepid-TM-B’stone), who did not make it to any podium in Suzuka but nonetheless managed to save his Vice-Champion title against the Italians Flavio Camponeschi and Ignazio D’Agosto (both on Tony Kart-Vortex-B’stone). Already fastest in Saturday’s Practice, D’Agosto won Sunday’s Race 3, thus landing his maiden win in a World Championship event.

Saturday was marked by the double win of Poland’s Karol Basz (RK-BMB-B’stone) hence offering to himself his 20th birthday present.

As expected by many Europeans, Japanese Drivers proved fierce opponents on their home land as three of them reached the podium: Yu Kanamaru (Tony Kart-Vortex-B’stone) came second in Race 2 while Kiyoto Fujinami (LH-TM-B’stone) and Daiki Sasaki (Birel-Parilla-B’stone) accompanied De Vries on the podium of Race 4.

This Suzuka event was also the venue of the CIK-FIA Asia-Pacific KF2 Championship. It gave rise to very open and balanced debates between the works teams’ European Drivers and the local Drivers.

Arata Saeki (FA Kart-Vortex-B’stone) prevailed after a long final which he started fourteenth before taking the lead on the twentieth of the 24 scheduled laps. He won ahead of the Dane Max Klinkby-Silver (Birel-BMB-Vega) and Italy’s Damiano Fioravanti (Tony Kart-Vortex-B’stone).

KF1 Saturday

Defending Champion, Nyck De Vries survived a poor qualifying practice session and some combative racing to end the day on the brink of another CIK-FIA World Karting Crown. His rivals all gained some ground in race one but the champion turned the tables on them in race 2. Poland’s Karol Basz raced to two outstanding wins on his 20th birthday.

Italian Ignacio d’Agosto (Tony Kart-Vortex) was fastest in a very competitive Qualifying Practice, just 0.008 of a second quicker than Karol Basz (RK-BMB) and 0.05 faster than Englishman Alex Albon (Intrepid-TM). The big surprise was champion Nyck De Vries (Zanardi-Parilla) in a lowly 14th position more than 0.3 of a second off the pace.

KF1 Race 1

D’Agosto made a good start and found himself in a big lead half way round the opening lap with Italian compatriot and Tony Kart team-mate Flavio Camponeschi (Tony Kart-Vortex) leading the chasing pack. Albon was slowly away and there was no lightning start by De Vries from row 7. The champion moved into the top 10 on lap 3 and Albon went up to 5th at one quarter race distance.

By half way, Basz was running in 4th and De Vries 6th. With Camponeschi getting closer to D’Agosto, he was unexpectedly passed by Basz. At three quarter race distance main rivals Albon and De Vries were together on track in 5th and 6th places. Then with 4 laps remaining, Basz took the lead and Albon and De Vries also gained a place. With one and a half laps to go De Vries passed Albon, but the Englishman regained the place moments later.

 There were no further place changes but Camponeschi was promoted into 2nd place when D’Agosto was assessed a 2 secs penalty that dropped him to 3rd. Albon had perhaps missed a chance to make major inroads into the champion’s 18 points lead. In fact, De Vries considered 5th place to be ‘OK in the circumstances’.  Karol Basz described the result as ‘a surprise birthday present’.

KF1 Race Two

Contact on the first turn led to a significant change of order but pole-man Basz was soon clear. Libor Toman (Birel-BMB) Japanese ‘wildcard’ Kiyoto Fujinami (LH-TM) found themselves up front behind the leader. By lap 3 Basz was almost out of sight but Albon came through to third. Determined driving by Albon had him in 2nd place at the expense of Toman.

 De Vries moved up to 5th but Albon was pulling away to try to chase down Basz. The Polish driver still had a huge lead at half way, but the defending champion got past Camponeschi and on lap 12 was closing on Albon.

De Vries went by briefly but Albon regained the place. We anticipated a great battle, but they touched and both drivers suffered. Camponeschi and Yu Kanamuru (Tony Kart-Vortex) both benefitted although 2 laps later De Vries got by Camponeschi and Albon was left in his wake.

At 15 laps De Vries briefly lost 3rd but immediately regained it. Albon was now 6th behind d’Agosto. Kanamuru came under late pressure from the champion, but the chequered flag came with ‘birthday boy’ Basz having a huge winning margin but Kanamuru having less than half a length in front of De Vries. Camponeschi, d’Agosto and Albon were 4-5-6 so De Vries had gained ground from his 3 closest championship rivals.

For Karol Basz it was an amazing day. ‘Today was perfect for me – and on my birthday. I want to thank my team and I want to win again tomorrow. Suzuka is definitely my favourite track now’ he said with a big smile.

Local Hero Yu Kanamuru made an interesting point. ‘I usually have a very bad Saturday in this championship. This was my best Saturday of the season with 2nd and 6th. Of course I know the track very well. I have driven here since I was very young’ he said.

KF1, Sunday

Dutchman Nyck De Vries was in no mood to relax the grip which he tightened on the CIK-FIA 2011 World Karting Championship in the first two Races on Saturday.

Second place behind Ignacio D’Agosto in Race 3 was good enough to clinch the crown but, as a good Champion should, the Dutchman went out of Karting with all guns blazing when he won a superbly contested Race 4 to close his kart racing career not only with the World Championship but also with a farewell race win.

Italy’s Flavio Camponeschi had been quickest in Qualifying to secure pole position but Holland’s Nyck de Vries had no repeat of yesterday’s Qualifying disappointment.

He was 2nd quickest for a front row start ahead local hero Japanese ‘wild card’ Kazuya Ishii (Birel-BMB) and Italian Ignazio D’Agosto on row 2. Englishman Alex Albon was classified only 10th quickest for a row 5 start.

KF1 Race 3

De Vries immediately took the lead from the outside of the front row and was followed by Kazuya Ishii. The local Driver took a surprise lead but the anticipated close race ended abruptly when, following significant contact, Ishii spun off. De Vries resumed the lead but was again immediately under pressure again this time from D’Agosto.

These two pulled well clear of the chasing group and had a close battle for the rest of the race. The Italian got close to the Champion several times but De Vries held off the challenge each time. Behind them, Karol Basz, Flavio Camponeschi, Libor Toman and Alex Albon had their own individual battles. On lap 13 Albon went past Toman and into 5th where he stayed.

But on Lap 17 D’Agosto’s constant pressure was rewarded and he took the lead. De Vries tried to respond but he had to settle for 2nd best in this race with Basz again on the podium, this time on the 3rd step. Right after the race there was strong speculation.

Was De Vries now the Champion? Would he be called before the Stewards for the crash with Ishii? It then emerged that Ishii’s engine had seized and De Vries was unable to avoid contact. It was a disappointing end to local hopes for a Japanese victory.

D’Agosto explained that he was very pleased.
“This is my first World Championship race victory after 2nd places and other podium appearances. I have been competitive all season but without a win – until now.”

KF1 Race 4

The pressure was off the Champion but the race was fiercely fought. Contact in turn 1 led to place changes with De Vries going from 1st to 6th and Albon, heavily struck, had to come in with a damaged kart. He returned for a token drive at the back. Daiki Sasaki led briefly but D’Agosto went back in front. De Vries picked off places up to 4th when he went past Camponeschi, by which time Sasaki was leading in front of the home fans.

Camponaschi went out on lap 8 and at half way De Vries was 3rd behind D’Agosto and Sasaski. Meanwhile, Kiyoto Fujinami was making great progress from his 15th place starting position. On lap 15 De Vries was in the lead having gone 2nd two laps earlier, and it appeared that he would go on to victory. But a determined drive by D’Agosto saw the Italian back in the lead.

There was some excellent racing from all of the top 5 Drivers as they closed together. On lap 18 De Vries was back in front and on the last lap D’Agosto was caught and fell to 5th, a position not reflected in the quality of his racing. But Fujinami was on a charge and he completed his drive from the 8th row by passing compatriot Sasaki for an excellent 2nd place with Sasaki completing the podium. It had been a great race to close the 2011 World Championship and quite enhancing for Japanese Karting with two ‘Home’ Drivers on the podium.

De Vries was elated. “It’s the best thing that could have happened to me today”, he said. “To end my career with the World Championship and a win in this, my very last kart race, is the best I could have hoped for.”

Fujinami said “Up to Race 3 I hadn’t settled and couldn’t give my best. But it came right in Race 4. I tried to give my best because this could also be my last race in Karting.”

Sasaki told us that “I have some regrets from yesterday. I had the speed to go better. I couldn’t quite make it but at the end of the day I am happy because it was a solid race and achievement.”

- Vincent Caro, CIK -FIA  photo CIK FIA KSP


14.11.2011 / MaP

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