2013 CIK FIA European Championship Round 1: MotorLand Aragon International Circuit
Friday: Testing / Qualifying/ 1st Heat Race
Saturday: Remaining 4 heat races
Sunday: Pre-Final / Final
(Heat Races= 6 laps, Pre- Final= 9 laps, Final 15 laps)
Track: MotorLand Aragon International Circuit
Location: Alcaniz, Spain.
The track was a pretty beautiful facility located in the same complex as the official Motorland GP Circuit which see’s events such as most Formula categories throughout Europe and the prestigious Moto GP. The track was complete with a bar and restaurant overlooking the track on a hill. The track had full pit boxes for teams to use as well. The track layout was very exciting to drive. It was always on edge, due to a lot of elevation throughout the circuit. It is probably the most elevation we’ll see in a circuit throughout the European year of racing. The track also had Formula One style run off on the out skirts of the track, but in addition to that it also had “kitty litter” which are gravel traps used to slow the speed of karts going off track. I really disliked this, because in karting if you do go off track, this shouldn’t finish your race. You should be able to rejoin. But with the kitty litter at this particular track as soon as you go off coarse your not only stuck in the gravel, but your chassis is heavily damaged due to hitting stones at high speed. Also, the rocks constantly got on track from drivers rejoining after a trip in the gravel. Apart from the rocks, the track layout was good in my opinion.
Alcañiz is a town and municipality in the province of Teruel, in the autonomous community of Aragon, Spain. The town is located on the banks of the river Guadalope. Alcañiz is the unofficial capital of the Lower Aragon historical region. Its distance from Teruel, the provincial capital, is 149 kilometers and from Zaragoza, the capital of Aragon, 105 kilometers. It is a beautiful area located in the mainland, with extremely hot temperatures. It had a beautiful lake located 3 minutes from the track. I took full advantage of the lake, after every scorching day at the track I would hit the lake to cool down before heading back to the hotel.
Track Facility: 8/10
Track Layout: 8.5/10
Track Location: 8/10
Devastating qualifying for my team and I
Qualifying was a tough one to swallow. In the beginning of practice early in the week we had good pace. I was always right there with target pace time, but as the week went on in approach to qualifying we just seemed like we lost the pace. My competitors continued to advance their pace, while my pace stayed similar. I thought for qualifying we would have it nailed down though and I was quite confident of this. In qualifying I made the first mistake, and that was me being unable to catch a draft. This would have without a doubt improved our showing, but as a team we definitely still struggled for pace in qualifying. We took a disappointing 30th overall out of 84 drivers. After qualifying as a team we all dug deep. Everybody did there separate part. GFR Engines put their heads together on how they could get more out of their department. Tillotson worked non-stop to see us back to where we needed to be at the front. My mechanic Marco Sigalini and everyone at Energy Corse Factory worked endlessly with my feedback and data acquisition to figure out how to improve the chassis. And lastly I prepared myself to have perfect drives throughout my heats and help the team in all directions to improve our overall package for Sunday.
Hard work pays off!
With some of the best drives I think I have had in my career, and the teams hard work we we’re back in the ball game. It wasn’t easy by any means, starting on the outside row in tenth for every single one of my heats was a tough feat. I knew one crash could make what was a tough weekend into a disaster. But I did what I had to do, make solid drives in all of my heats and develop our package for the all-important Sunday. With finishes of 7th, 8th, 11th, 10th, and 5th I would sit 12th overall out of 84 drivers after the heats and heading into the Finals. A huge improvement in our pace, and we we’re most certainly ready for the Finals coming off confidence getting through our heats.
Confidence turns into results in the Finals!
What was a tough start early in the week was rapidly turning out to be a solid weekend for points and an excellent recovery. I would take the start sixth for the Pre- Final where I would quickly move to the inside on the start and come out of the first sector in fourth. At the end of all the battling I would emerge 3rd to take the checker flag in the Pre- Final. Then it was time for the Final, what the whole weekend had built up for and I was taking the sixth starting position. Tough luck on the start with me having to go into the gravel to avoid an accident lead me to fall back to 14th. From there I went on a mission charging my way from mid pack. I owed it to my whole team and everyone involved, they put their absolute best efforts forward after qualifying to see me at the front. I made an entertaining charge at the least back to fifth. At the end of the race I took advantage of a penalty and would advance to a fourth overall finishing position in the European Championship Round One. That sits me fourth overall in the European Championship points, and puts me in a good position heading into the second round held in Ortona, Italy on the week of July 17-21.
This all could not be possible without the partners of Parker Thompson Racing. Thank you very much Sylvan Lake RV, RLV, Bell Racing Helmets, Tillett Racing Seats, CanadianKartingNews.com, Racing Against Cancer, Panigada European Transport, GFR Engines, TM Racing Engines, Douglas Wheels, Tillotson Carburetors and Energy Corse Factory. For more information check out www.parkerthompsonracing.com or Parker Thompson Racing on Facebook and Twitter @parkertracing.