It was a short winter break, but still a period of no karting. The season has started again, with the first two races taking place in La Conca for the WSK Champions cup.
Not the talk of the paddock
VEGA Trophy… A race organized in a hurry, postponed once, and when it actually happened the number of drivers was so small that the organization did the best to cover it up. No official information released at all.
WSK Champions Cup
Driver and teams didn’t seem to respond well to the increase of races this year. There was just enough drivers for one group of KF, and a few more in Junior and mini. KZ did not complete a category so the drivers had to be sent back home. Not your usual WSK paddock.
WSK and CIK might need to reconsider the amount of races organized, as well as the format. It doesn’t seem like a lot of drivers or teams can follow this long calendar of 20+ races a season.
It might have been a lack of number of drivers, but there was definitely a lot of talent present there. A lot of good drivers competing at the front, in the most difficult conditions. We saw some new drivers making some amazing appearances, as well as the more established ones reaffirming their position.
In KF Karol Basz was expected to be right there at the top, but Nielsen was just a step faster. Funnily Richard Verschoor debuted ahead of both, and even caught them both sleeping at the rainy restart of the first race. Casper Roes also made an amazing appearance, and while he lost his first podium due to a technicality, he came back to prove himself by positioning again on the podium in the second race. Good showing also from other drivers like Correa and Baciuska.
In KF junior, Logan Sargeant gave an amazing performance, but newcomer Petr Ptacek jr showed some great skills in the heats of the first race. The second weekend however showed us the Petr is still making some mistakes due to lack of experience, but we should expect a lot to come from him. Another newcomer, TonyKart official driver Simmenauer was consistently in the top 5 and showed some great racecraft. Others to look at in the coming races include last year’s Final Cup winner Indonesian Presley Martono, Belgian Kenny Roosens and French Milan Petelet, who showed good driving skills but didn’t have a good result.
Star of the WSK Champions Cup
Hands down Richard Verschoor. A 14 years old comes for the first time in KF, with a satellite team and beats the factory supported Niklas Nielsen (Tony Kart) and Karol Basz (Kosmik) to take his first win in his first race in the category. Absolutely stunning. Richard finished 2nd overall in the cup, and for sure we will be seeing a lot more of him as the season progresses, both in KF as well as Rotax series.
The new front bumpers
I have to admit, my initial thoughts on this were very negative. However after a few starts, I started asking myself how come we have no first or second corner crashes. In a track where traditionally we had very serious accidents (ambulances involved), for the first time there were absolutely no first corner incidents.
The mount still has problems, with drivers losing the bumpers just by driving over the kerbs. Also, it seems many figured out ways to not be caught and escaped any penalties, and the lack off attention from the WSK officials didn’t help. However with a little bit of fine tuning, to make it a bit less sensitive, and a regulation that closes some penalty loopholes it will work just fine. Overall, while the system needs still a lot of work, it’s definitely a massive step in the right direction to making the sport safer and fairer.
As far as sporting goes, I think WSK made a good decision to go with VEGA tires this season. They seem to behave a lot better than last year’s choice and there were no complaints heard around the paddock. I personally expect the same when we first see the KZ on track in 2 weeks time.
What’s coming next
Two Winter Cups, one from Rotax in Campillos and one from South Garda Karting are expected to have strong attendances and great showing.
Overall it’s been a great start to the season, hopefully we will see some great races in this very long season.