With the Winter Cup in the rear view mirror, the European karting season is in full season with this weekends WSK Champions Cup kicking off a very busy couple of months for karters and karting teams in Europe. The WSK Champions Cup is new for 2014, where the promoters elected to run back to back events at the La Conca Circuit in the very south of Italy, crowning a quick early season champion for the four premier divisions in European karting; KF, KFJ, KZ2 and Mini. For the most part, every manufacturer and team was in competition and action on track was intense with over 200 drivers registered for the weekend.
KFJ: Defrancesco displays well after long off-season recovery
The largest class of the weekend had a pair of Canadian drivers included as Devlin Defrancesco made his official debut with Morsicani Racing aboard a TonyKart while Kami Moreira-Laliberte was also on a TonyKart after he joined the Baby Race operation for the event.
Coming off a five-month absence from competition to recover from a wrist injury, Defrancesco showed no signs of the off-season as he posted the fastest time in his qualifying group and second overall with Laliberte was 36th.
Split into five groups for their heat races Defrancesco was near flawless, winning two and finish second in two, but a hiccup in the B vs E heat scored him a 14 and he would ultimately rank fifth when the heat races were complete. Laliberte on the other hand raced very well, scoring fourth in his first heat, but a disappointing 22nd in his final run moved him down to 28th in the ranking.
Unlike in North America, two pre finals are run in Europe, one for the odd numbers and one for the evens using the rankings from the heat races. With the top seventeen in each advancing to the Final, anything can happen and a great weekend can end in the snap of your fingers. For Defrancesco this was nearly the case as he started Prefinal A from third but ended lap one in 26th and with a lot of work to do. But an enormous drive saw him drive all the way back to fourth in the 16-lap run, posting the fastest lap on the way. Unfortunately for Laliberte his weekend would come to an end with a disappointing 24th in the prefinal.
Racing with the worlds best Junior drivers, Defrancesco managed a sixth place result in the Final after falling back to tenth at the start. Maybe not quite the result he was looking for, but a great start to his sophomore KFJ season.
It was a pair of Brit’s earning the top two positions as Enaam Ahmed (FA Kart) and Daniel Ticktum (Zanardi Kart) were joined by Matvey Maslov (TonyKart) of Sweden on the podium.
MINI: Serravalle Strong in Pserra European Debut
Pserra Racing officially kicked off their European race team at the Champions Cup with Antonio Serravalle returning for another season of Mini class competition. Aboard his familiar TonyKart Serravalle was eighth in Qualifying that featured 44-karts.
A mixture of heat race results would rank Serravalle up one spot from where he qualified, with his seventh place rank placing his Prefinal A where he quietly finish fourth.
Battling just behind the leaders in a race for third, Serravalle would match Defrancesco’s result and finish sixth in his 2014 European season debut.
Winning the race was Italian Guiseppe Fusco on a Lenzokart with Spain’s Davide Vidales second and Dmitrii Bogdanov third.
KF/KZ2: No Canadians in Action
There were no Canadian drivers competing in the Senior divisions this weekend. KF was won by Italian Alessio Lorandi (TonyKart) while Ben Hanley won the KZ2 Final aboard an ART GP chassis.