With each new CIK-FIA homologation, the Birel ART brand uses all the expertise of its factory and the immense experience of its Racing Team to develop extremely high quality chassis, capable of winning in all categories, whatever the type of tyres. This was again the case in Genk, at the first round of the European KZ and KZ2 Championships. This time, the honours went to the Birel ART-TM Racing karts in the colours of the Charles Leclerc by Lennox Racing team. Tom Leuillet dominated the KZ2 Final, while Matteo Vigano crossed the finish line in 3rd place in KZ. Pedro Hiltbrand kept all his chances in the Championship by entering the top five.
Once again, Birel ART chassis were the best represented in the KZ and KZ2 categories in Belgium, equipping 30% of the grid. In the premier KZ category, Pedro Hiltbrand had a magnificent run to transform his 16th place in Timed Practice into 6th after the heats and the Super Heat. After a perfect start, the Spaniard finished 5th after having been involved in the fight for the podium. No doubt that he will be keen to improve on this result in a month's time in Italy on the Cremona circuit. Although the Dutchman Marijn Kremers and the Italian Riccardo Longhi did not obtain the expected results on a circuit that has often been successful for them in the past, Matteo Vigano remained at the front of the meeting with the Charles Leclerc by Lennox Racing team. The Italian was rewarded with a convincing 3rd place.
The Birel ART-TM Racing team at the top of the KZ2 category
With 89 entries and more than 80 drivers grouped in less than a second in the Timed Practice sessions, the KZ2 category was one of the most complex to manage for the teams. The Genk circuit was bathed in sunshine for three days, with a track that became increasingly rubbery and grippy as the races progressed. Alessio Piccini, Giuseppe Palomba and the young and promising Oscar Targett were all capable of finishing in the top five. Unfortunately, they also had several race incidents that deprived them of a good position on the grid in the Final. Palomba started 24th and gained 10 places to finish in the wake of his team mate Piccini, while Targett was 21st (+4).
There was less success for Moritz Ebner, Henry Johnstone, Leonardo Marseglia and the young Cristian Bertuca, who was fast but still lacking experience in the category. On the other hand, Birel ART would like to congratulate the drivers entered in private teams for their performance, such as the German Robert Kindervater, 8th in the Final with the Birel ART Racing KSW team.
A big tip of the hat of course to Frenchman Tom Leuillet (Charles Leclerc by Lennox Racing), who won all five of his heats, earned his place on pole for the Final after the Super Heats and dominated the Final from the first to the last lap with the fastest race time.
"The team will now move to Sweden and return to the two OK / OK-Junior classes, but we are all already looking forward to Cremona in June for the KZ / KZ2 Final," concluded team manager Riccardo Longhi.