The FIA Karting competition in Genk started this Friday afternoon, 4th September, with the Qualifying Practice for the second round of the FIA Karting European Championship - KZ & KZ2 and the FIA Karting Academy Trophy. The health constraints in force in Belgium concerning the Covid-19 required the implementation of a very strict protocol, which made it hard for a significant number of drivers to reach the Genk venue. Sweden's Noah Millel and Viktor Gustavsson were the fastest in KZ and KZ2 respectively, while Belgium's Tom Braeken was the Academy pole position holder.
With a total of 70 participants, the field was significantly reduced compared to the first competition in Adria in August. However, the standard was unquestioned thanks to the presence of the favourites in the title race and many talented drivers. The CIK-FIA has taken this new element into account in publishing a new timetable.
The weather wasn't very pleasant at the Horensbergdam circuit of Genk. Light but persistent rain made it necessary to use the Vega rain tyres from the Friday morning Free Practice sessions onwards. A light but persistent wind wasn't enough to dry the track completely, and the sun remained hidden under heavy cloud cover. Less than an hour before the first Qualifying session, when the sky cleared slightly, the track was finally dry enough for the slick tyres and the lap times improved significantly despite the temperature not exceeding 20°.
Milell causes a surprise in KZ
Noah Milell (SWE) achieved an amazing pole position in the Qualifying Practice of the FIA Karting European Championship - KZ in Genk against several top names in the category. However, the gaps were very small, with the top five being grouped together in less than a tenth of a second. Stan Pex (NLD) took second place four thousandths behind the poleman, while Marijn Kremers (NLD) followed in 3rd position in front of Matteo Vigano (ITA) and Riccardo Longhi (ITA). Simo Puhakka (FIN) and Alessandro Irlando (ITA) were slightly dropped in 7th and 8th position.
Another pole position for Gustavsson
As in Adria, although the conditions were very different, Viktor Gustavsson once again showed himself to be the fastest driver in the Qualifying Practice sessions of the FIA Karting European Championship - KZ2. He was four hundredths of a second faster than the leader of Session 2, Senna Van Walstijn (NLD). Tom Leuillet (FRA) was third in front of Paavo Tonteri (FIN) and Simone Cunati (ITA). Leonardo Marseglia (ITA) finished in the top 10, Giuseppe Palomba (ITA), fourth in the provisional Championship classification, was only 14th.
Braeken shows off on his home turf
Living only a few kilometres from the circuit, Tom Braeken (BEL) made a point of being the fastest of the Qualifying Practice sessions for the FIA Karting Academy Trophy in Genk. He even relegated Zachary David (PHL), the fastest of Session 1, by more than four tenths of a second. Gianni Andrisani (DEU) was also noticed in 3rd position ahead of Jonathan Weywadt (NLD) and Matteo De Palo (ITA). Maxime Furon-Castelain (LUX) was 8th, whereas the leader of the provisional classification Connor Zilisch (USA) finished only 17th.
Provisional schedule for Saturday, 5th September
09:00 - 10:10: Warm-up
10:20 - 16:10: Qualifying Heats