After dominating the highly competitive field in the OK senior category from the beginning of the weekend at the third edition of the international German Kart Championship, Dutch driver Kas Haverkort set himself up to regain the lead in the 2019 series when he secured pole position and won both qualifying heats Saturday, to be starting on pole in Sunday’s first final. Taking P2 for a podium place was enough points to move him up to second in the standings, but a forced retirement in Race 2 ended his chance to reclaim the championship lead at the halfway mark.
With the continued motivation and determination to overcome the challenges he faced in the previous round, the CRG Keijzer Racing Team driver was on a mission to make this weekend another winner, as he had at round 1 of the DKM this year, when he arrived at the famous Erftlandring circuit in Kerpen, Germany. The 15-year old outshone the local heroes in Saturday’s official timed practice to set the fastest lap of the field of 44 in the premier German series class.
Taking victories in both his qualifying heats amidst the unpredictable changing summer weather, the CRG driver was the only OK competitor to make it a double win Saturday, posting the quickest lap of the race in his first heat as well. This gave Kas the ideal opportunity to claim maximum points the next day and aim to reinstate his position back at the top of the leader board going into round 4 at a very familiar track at Karting Genk, Belgium in just a few weeks.
The young Dutchman claimed a podium place in Race 1 Sunday after finishing a strong second behind Red Bull Junior Team driver and defending OK 2018 champion Harry Thompson (GBR), crossing the line with a gap of more than a second to the new series leader and vice-champion from last year, Hugo Sasse (GER). With a front-row starting position and clear strategy, Kas had a good feeling going into Race 2. Unfortunately, engine problems yet again ruined his chance of securing another podium and collecting vital points, when he was forced to retire on lap 14.
Looking back, it was an extremely positive start to the series at Lonato, Italy in April, where Kas also took pole position and two podiums, ending the opening round with a demanding victory over the current World number 1 Lorenzo Travisanutto in the final race, to be the early leader in the 2019 standings. However, the following event at Wackersdorf in Germany was more of an “education” according to the 2017 Junior DKM champion, where he had dominated the ADAC Masters at the very same circuit prior to the second round there. The luck was not with him though and two mechanical failures – carburettor and engine – prevented Kas from another podium and crucial points, retiring in P4 of the last final within several laps of the chequered flag.
Regardless of the mixed weather and seemingly unavoidable hurdles that have played a significant role in every edition in this series so far, the likeable teenager has consistently shown his developing talent and consciously aims to maintain a positive outlook. But, the reality of being plagued with technical issues at some stage in each of the three rounds is a major concern, which Kas honestly believes himself is now necessary to take the steps to try to avoid the risk of losing his shot at the coveted German title and for his other racing commitments this season.
This week, Kas Haverkort will start at the FIA Karting European Championship in Le Mans and make the switch to an alternative engine brand for the international event in France, hoping to find the reliability and the results he is quietly confident of and more than capable of achieving.
Kas Haverkort – “I think it was a really positive weekend in general, with qualifying P1 to be 4-tenths faster than the next driver in my group and almost a tenth gap to P2 in the overall ranking. In the heats it was also a great result for us in the wet and dry conditions, winning both races Saturday with a fastest lap as well. In the first final Sunday I had some problems though with traffic, when one guy was one lap behind and went off in front of me, so there was a lot of dirt on the track and Harry [Thompson] could get past me. Still, with P2 and the speed, everything was okay. In the second final, I was on P2 after a good start and had the pace for a few laps. After some time, I felt the chain was moving around on the sprocket and just over half-race distance the engine broke. We couldn’t do anything more than what we did, but overall it was a good weekend. I’m pleased with the results otherwise and to be second in the points standings. A big thanks to my team and all my supporters.”