At Kristianstad, now one of the most important dates on the CIK-FIA calendar, two excellent European Champions were crowned after a hard-fought Competition. Ben Hanley in KF and Christian Lundgaard in KF-Junior took their first European titles against an substantial and tough field.
Kristianstad has delivered on it's promises by bringing together one of the most consistent entries of the 2015 European season. In KF, Ben Hanley had an advantage in the provisional standings, but his job was not so simple that it could be expected, with the young Marcus Armstrong winning the Final. As for the KF-Junior category, it was the end of a long suspense as the Dane Christian Lundgaard won the Final and the Championship.
The last of the three Competitions of the CIK-FIA European KF and KF-Junior Championship has once again demonstrated the quality of the organisation of Kristianstad Karting Klubb, whose absolutely passionate team demonstrated motivation and exemplary reactivity. The Asum Ring circuit also provided an interesting sporting challenge, while changing weather conditions brought additional complexity for the drivers and teams. The Competition has therefore been very selective, especially as many penalties were given by the sporting authorities.
Soon to replace KF, the OK engines were again presented with several demonstrations on the track, in the hands of experienced drivers, and also the media, with a view to preparation for the 2016 season.
First win for Armstrong, first European Championship for Hanley
The Swedish Race has not been the easiest of the European season for Ben Hanley. Nicklas Nielsen (Tony Kart-Vortex-Vega) set the fastest time in Qualifying Practice ahead of Alexander Vartanyan (Tony Kart-Vortex-Vega) and Karol Basz (Kosmic-Vortex-Vega). But the Briton caught up in the Qualifying Heats with three victories. The young Richard Verschoor (Exprit-Vortex-Vega) came back to 2nd position ahead of Tom Joyner (Zanardi-TM Racing-Vega). Hanley was still the strongest during the Prefinal, where the rain had greatly complicated the task of driving on slick tyres, resisting the return of Nielsen, with both drivers finishing far ahead of the pack led by Joyner then Vartanyan. Although raced entirely on a dry track, the Final held many surprises. Firstly, despite an attempted attack from Joyner, Hanley then had to give in very quickly to Nielsen. He did not benefit from his leadership long as he was forced to retire shortly afterwards. This is where the young Marcus Armstrong (Tony Kart-Vortex-Vega), from New Zealand, took up the torch after gradually climbing from 6th position and won indisputably for the first time at this level. Delayed in the early laps, Verschoor managed to regain nine positions to finish 2nd ahead of Joyner and Hannes Janker (CRG-Parilla-Vega) who was very convincing, while Hanley, faced with carburation worries, finished the race in 5th position.
Ben Hanley's accumulated points in the previous two Competitions enabled him to win his first European Championship at 30 years old ahead of Tom Joyner and Richard Verschoor, a representative of the next generation. Although excluded from the Final, Felice Tiene finished in 4th place ahead of Juan Correa.
Final victory and title for Lundgaard in KF-Junior
The outcome of the 2015 CIK-FIA European KF-Junior Championship would only be decided in the Final at Kristianstad. Several Drivers could claim the European title and twists and turns maintained uncertainty until the end of the Competition. Numerous penalties have influenced the evolution of the rankings. Kenny Roosens (Kosmic-Parilla-LeCont), then leader of the provisional classification of the Championship, set the fastest time in Qualifying Practice before a long series of technical problems. Strangely, the classification of the Qualifying Heats didn't seem to fully reflect the strongest Drivers. The situation returned to normal in terms of hierarchy during the two Prefinals, which also selected the top 34 who gained access to the Final. Christian Lundgaard (Tony Kart-Vortex-LeCont) and Ivan Shvetsov (Tony Kart-Vortex-LeCont) shared the front row, but Lundgaard immediately jumped ahead of the race, first followed by Marta Garcia (FA Kart-TM Racing-LeCont) and Felipe Drugovich (Kosmic-Vortex-LeCont), while Bent Viscaal (Tony Kart-Parilla-LeCont) ahead of Caio Collet (Kosmic-Vortex-LeCont) were in the top five.
Christian Lundgaard ensured the title of European Champion with a beautifully dominant victory, two firsts for the young Danish driver. After a good recovery, Presley Martono (Tony Kart-Vortex-LeCont) clinched 2nd place in the standings by finishing 7th in the Final. Eliminated in the Prefinal, Kenny Roosens still took 3rd position in the CIK-FIA European KF-Junior Championship ahead of Marta Garcia and Clement Novalak.
Info CIK / © Photo KSP