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March 05, 2013 News
WSK Euro Series Season Starts Off with Exciting La Conca Event
 

Chase for WSK Euro Series top honors started with some thrilling racing in Italy (Photo: Press.net Images)
Chase for WSK Euro Series top honors started with some thrilling racing in Italy
(Photo: Press.net Images)

In Muro Leccese, Italy, at the International Circuit La Conca, the first round of the WSK Euro Series of karting was run this past weekend (March 2-3), and it was a top rate show. Close duels between many drivers characterized the final races; they were greatly appreciated not only by the numerous attendance on the stand, but also by a very special TV commentator, Jean Alesi, former Ferrari F1 driver. He was side by side with the Rai Sport 2 sports commentator, giving his technical opinion on the races and, sometimes, he could not help showing how involved he was. In fact, he accompanied his son Giuliano, who participates in WSK in the KFJ category.

English racer Ben Barnicoat (ART GP-TM-Vega) got fully repaid for his retirement in one of the heats and that obliged him to start from the bottom of the pack in the final phase. He closed the gap in the pre-final then, the driver from Chesterfield, was back with the top drivers in the final. In the last few laps he got very close to the French Dorian Boccolacci (Energy-TM-Vega), who had taken the lead away right after the start. In this part of the race there were many changes in the positions, just until the last metres of the race. Then, Polish driver Karol Basz (Tony Kart-Vortex-Vega) took advantage of the fight between the two leading drivers, not only advancing from his 12th slot on the starting grid, but managing to steal the second position from Boccolacci in a thrilling final, where Barnicot crossed the finishing line as winner.

Canadian Lance Stroll (Zanardi-Parilla-Vega) came home in seventh in the final. He qualified 26th overall and finished inside the top-seven in four heat races to end up ninth overall heading into the pre-final. Classified fifth in the 16-lap race, Stroll was among the leaders throughout the final. Fellow Canadian Zachary Claman-DeMelo (CRG-BMB-Vega) was scheduled to start the main event in 13th after a solid two days leading up to the final. A fouled plug kept him on the grid longer then expected, and he was unable to catch the field in time for the start. He continued on to finish 28th.

After the overwhelming power showed in KZ2 one month ago in the first round of the WSK Master Series in Muro Leccese, Max Verstappen (CRG-TM-Bridgestone) now leads the European series too. The Dutch driver won the day's Final after winning the day one Final. However, he keeps saying that the weekend was not as simple as it may have seemed, because his rivals fought to the finish. Among his die-hard rivals was his country fellowman and teammate Jorrit Pex (CRG-TM-Bridgestone), who finished third, and the English driver Ben Hanley (Art GP-TM-Bridgestone), who was the runner-up.

Riccardo Negro (DR-TM-Bridgestone) from Lecce was almost sure to win again after his victory in KZ2 Final on day one. His supporters got overexcited, when after closing the gap with the leader Marco Zanchetta (Maranello-TM-Bridgestone), he managed to get the lead thanks to a thrilling overtaking manoeuvre. But, from his commentator's booth, Alesi was right when he said that the duel was not finished yet. In fact, Zanchetta tried desperately to counterattack and took advantage of a mistake made by Negro when leaving the last hairpin bend. Zanchetta overtook and won for a hair's breadth. Third, with a remarkable gap was the Czech driverJan Midrla (Birel-TM-Bridgestone), who preceded the Swedish racer Joel Johansson (Energy-TM-Bridgestone).

After an almost perfect weekend, which started with the Superpole and continued with an impressive winning streak, Lando Norris (FA Kart-Vortex-Vega) almost put in jeopardy his result after contact with the Russian Nikita Sitnikov (Tony Kart-BMB-Vega), He dropped six positions back during the first lap of the final! More motivated than ever, the English driver started an incredible recovery and won the race. The Italian Alessio Lorandi (Tony Kart-Vortex-Vega) went through the same experience, and after getting involved in the tussle of the first lap which made him lost several positions, he closed the gap thanks to a series of fast laps, eventually arriving in second. The third step of the podium was achieved by the Russian Vladimir Atoev (Tony Kart-Vortex-Vega).

Canadian Parker Thompson (Energy-TM-Vega) led the North American contingent in fifth. Thompson was 20th after qualifying and held the position through the heat races. Starting 10th in pre-final B, Thompson ran to sixth to earn a 12th grid position for the final. From there, Parker had a solid race moving up to the fifth position. Fellow Canadian Devlin DeFrancesco (CRG-Vortex-Vega) was 11th in qualifying and improved his position with three top-five finishes in the heat races to be classified eighth. DeFrancesco was shuffled back on the opening lap of pre-final B, eventually finishing 16th and able to move on to the final. Unfortunately, a wreck on the opening lap kept him from competing.

Spaniard Eliseo Martinez (Hero-LKE-Le Cont) seems at his ease when his name is on top of the 60 mini ranking, and he wanted to feel this pleasure in the Final too, despite the Indian Kush Maini (Tony Kart-LKE-Le Cont) and Lorenzo Colombo (Top Kart-LKE-Le Cont) trying hard to pull him down from the head of the race. In the final tussle Maini and Lorenzo, who were fighting for the top positions, got hit by penalties and dropped back in the ranking. So, the runner-up was the Malaysian Muizzuddin Abdul Gafar (Hero-LKE-Le Cont) and third went to the Italian Leonardo Marseglia (Top Kart-LKE-Le Cont), who set the fastest time.
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