The FIA Karting World Championship - KZ, the FIA Karting International Super Cup - KZ2 and the third round of the Academy Trophy began on Friday, 2nd October, 2020 with changing grip conditions while the skies showed a clear intent to rain on Lonato. Gustavsson (KZ2), Braeken (Academy) and Kremers (KZ) were the heroes of this first day of competition.
A very satisfying field of 162 drivers are competing in the FIA Karting Competition in Lonato, divided into three categories: 33 in KZ, 99 in KZ2 and 31 in Academy. As of the morning, Free Practice took place on a wet track which dried out gradually during the day while remaining subject to the movements of the clouds. Qualifying was marked by rapid changes in weather and the Lonato track saw a wide range of grip situations that made the drivers and their mechanics understandably nervous.
KZ2: Gustavsson takes over immediately
Qualifying Practice for the FIA Karting International Super Cup - KZ2 was highly variable. None of the four groups benefited from the same conditions as the others. The Vega rain tyres were sometimes replaced by their slick counterparts with more or less success.
The best lap by Matej Kacovsky (CZE) - 58''461 - in the first session was a surprise for many observers, especially as he was ahead of Valentino Fritsch (DEU), Matteo Zanchi (ITA) and especially Alexander Schmitz (DEU). Benjamin Tornqvist (SWE) was the fastest in Session 2 with a time of 56.367 seconds and was more than two-tenths of a second faster than his pursuers, starting with Lorenzo Giannoni (ITA). Giuseppe Palomba (ITA), one of the favourites, finished third and the Luyet brothers (CHE), Jean and Samuel, together in fourth and fifth positions.
Reigning European Champion Viktor Gustavsson (SWE) took full advantage of the circuit's increasing grip in Session 3 to take pole position - 53''419 - relegating his rivals by more than four-tenths. On slick tyres under a few drops of rain, Arthur Carbonnel (FRA) was the fastest in the fourth session with a lap of 58''547, followed by Alessandro Buran (ITA).
Charles Leclerc was present to congratulate the poleman, who was running on a chassis bearing his colours. Gustavsson commented: "The Free Practice had shown that my equipment performed well in both wet and dry conditions, but the conditions were still quite stressful. Pole position is always a good thing in a competition like this.”
Belgian pole position for Braeken in Academy
Like the other drivers at Lonato, those in the FIA Karting Academy Trophy had to deal with the rain during their Qualifying Practice. However, the track was drying out during Session 1, while it regained moisture due to a rain shower for Session 2.
Tom Braeken (BEL) finished on 1'01''600 in the very last moments of Session 1, 0.138'' ahead of Oscar Wurz (AUT). Gianni Andrisani (DEU) was third, Alexander Gubenko (RUS) fourth at nearly four-tenths off the leader and Ivan Domingues (POR) fifth.
Trophy leader Connor Zilisch (USA) finished at the top of the second session with 1'03''711, more than two seconds from pole position, as rain made one of its many appearances. Only Macéo Capietto (FRA) was able to keep up the pace 63 thousandths from the American. In third position, Keanu Al Azhari (ARE) was six tenths further back.
Braeken was very pleased with his second pole of the season: "I'm very happy with this second pole of the season because I didn't really expect it. I love this track and we really made the right technical choices for the difficult conditions."
Kremers already in the lead in KZ
Divided into two sessions for their Qualifying Practice, the 33 participants of the FIA Karting World Championship - KZ had to face a wet track which nevertheless improved very slightly over the laps. Reigning World Champion Marijn Kremers (NLD) took pole position in the final metres of the second session. Was this a sign?
In the rain, Luca Corberi (ITA) set the fastest time of the first KZ session with 1'00''822. Jeremy Iglesias (FRA) came close by 52 thousandths, while Jorrit Pex (NLD) was third by 0.127". Marijn Kremers (NLD) took pole position in the final run with a time of 1'00''496, one-tenth ahead of Stan Pex (NLD). A third Dutchman, Bas Lammers, completed the top three four-tenths further down the field.
Kremers commented: "We had worked hard yesterday to be fast in the dry. The team had to adapt everything today and they adapted superbly. I immediately understood that I had the best chance of setting my fastest lap at the end of the session. I was careful to cross the line just before the chequered flag and I gave it my all on my last lap!”
The weather forecast for the day of Saturday, 3rd October suggests significant rainfall in the morning and a noticeable improvement with possible sunshine in the afternoon.
Provisional Programme of the Lonato Competition:
Saturday, 3rd October
08:00 - 09:55: Warm-up
10:00 - 16:55: Qualifying Heats
Sunday, 4th October
08:00 - 09:55: Warm-up
10:00 - 11:55: Qualifying Heats
12:55 - 15:50: Finals