Three Canadians took part in the first round of the 2013 CIK FIA European Championships for the KF and KFJ classes. Held at the beautiful motorsports facility Motorland Aragon in Alcaniz, Spain, the event drew entries from around the world with 35 nations represented through the 144 entries.
The trio of Canadians had their share of ups and downs as they battled the worlds best. Leading the way in the KFJ category, Alberta’s Parker Thompson came oh so close to adding another podium appearance to him impressive 2013 season. After a disappointing qualifying effort where he could only muscle the 30th best time, Thompson went to work in the heat races. Starting mid-pack for each heat Thompson would record finishes of 7th, 8th, 11th, 10th and 5th in the short sprints moving him up to twelfth in the rankings.
Entering Sunday’s final day of competition, the factory Energy Corse driver would start sixth in Pre Final B and move up to third, setting him up on the outside of row three for the Final. After trouble in the opening laps and falling well down the order, Thompson charged back and would cross the finish line in fifth, but would eventually be classified as fourth following a time-penalty to the race winner. A solid weekend has Thompson in the hunt for the European Championship when the second and final round hits the track in July in Italy.
Also competing in the KFJ division was Canadian born Devlin Defrancesco. In his first official event with the Chiesa Corse/Zanardi Defrancesco qualified down in 45th but like Thompson worked his magic in the heat races. Scoring results of 7th, 27th (DNF), 13th, 12th and 11th, Defrancesco would advance to Sunday’s Pre Final ranked 37th and in Pre Final A. Unfortunately his luck would run out and trouble in the Pre Final would result in a 32nd place result and no advancement to the Final. Defrancesco has shown great pace this year and only time will tell before this youngster will be up front battling for podiums and victories in KFJ.
The winner of the KFJ Final was Lando Norris on England. The youngster has been on a tear this year aboard an FA Kart, already winning the WSK Euro Series KFJ championship.
Finally in the premier KF division, Lance Stroll was the lone Canadian competing in Spain. Also racing out of the Chiesa Corse/Zanardi stable, Stroll was very impressive all week long, qualifying seventh overall. Avoiding all trouble and running up front in each of his heat races, the Quebec native would score results of 2nd, 4th, 2nd and 2nd in his heat races and rank third overall.
Sunday would see Stroll easily finish third in his Pre Final and and start sixth for the Championship Final. But before he could even get into a groove and start making his move Stroll would fall all the way to tail of field by the end of lap one due to an incident, then on lap two another crash would end his race entirely. Such a great week for Stroll ended in pure disappointment. Winning the KF Final was Switzerlands Nicklas Neilson on a Kosmic Kart.
The second and final round of the CIK FIA European Championship will be held in Ortona, Italy as the KF and KFJ classes will crown one of the largest karting awards of the year on the week of July 17-21.