After a relatively good opener of my Formula Karting campaign it was already time for the second race of the season in Essen (DE).
Essen has never been my favourite track, although I had found something extra during the 12 hours last year, so I thought I would be able to stand a chance for a good day’s result. However, we had to wait and see how the kart differences were going to be, last year it turned out to be a weak point in Essen.
On Friday evening I went down to Essen together with Traxxis teammates Ward Maenhout and Nick Van Ostade to do several heats. Nick turned out to be very strong, as expected, and I expected him to be comfortable in the top five a day later. I had to try something myself, but at the end of the evening I had a good feeling.
On Saturday my race could not start worse with a second to last starting position in the first heat. in qualifying, I immediately noticed that this kart had no power. Sadly enough, I was not allowed to change before the heat started. Due to some bumping in front of me, and a well-timed shortcut, I could win a few places, which ultimately gave me one miserable point.
Since Formula Karting works with a half-scrap result (the worst result only counts half), I was in bad papers right away.
In heat two I drew a decent kart and qualified in 6th place. However, I was pushed into the tires halfway by Selina Balneger by driving me straight to a corner of the track. Unfortunately, she was not punished for that move. I eventually became 10th, while I was in 6th or 7th place before the incident.
Heat three was a bit similar, even though my kart was just a bit less and there were some drivers behind me a bit faster after I started 7th. In the final stages, I got hit by Christian Douven when he took his shortcut. I went wide and lost three places, so I only finished in 11th.
The last heat I a solid kart in which I could qualify as 8th after a medium hot lap qualification. I won a place in the final stage when Nick did an optimistic manoeuvre on Thom Van Dijk. With that 6th place I went up from P14 to P9 in the day standings.
The pace was not quite there, but with the bad luck in race 1 in combination with the actions in the next two heats I was happy to finish in the top 10. Without these things a 7th place would have been the maximum achievable.
Next appointment is the circuit of FKI Machelen, a track that suits my driving style a lot more and where I hope to gain some points on my closest competitors!