CIK-FIA European Championship Round 2 Ortona, Italy
Friday: Testing / Qualifying/ Superpole / First Heat
Saturday: 4 Heat races
Sunday: Pre-Final / Final
(Heat Races= 8 laps, Pre- Final= 10 laps, Final 15 laps)
The Track: Circuito Internazionale d’Abruzzo, Contrada Villa
The Circuito Internazionale d’Abruzzo, Contrada Villa definitely wasn’t a track to brag about on the European racing calendar. I didn’t find the track layout very appealing at all. To add to this it lacked the luxuries most European circuits had, like a grass infield and smooth asphalt. Instead it had a sand infield and it had a very bumpy track surface. This is probably the bumpiest track I have been on in my career of karting, and definitely hands down the bumpiest in Europe. The reason I did not favor the actual layout of the track was due to its simplicity. It was not a very technical track at all, with a lot of straight-line sections that got pretty boring after many laps. It also lacked places to pass. The places the track offered for passing zones we’re very risky and lost a lot of time as well. The track did make for some exciting races for the fans, but for the drivers it was not an ideal track for race craft. Even the track bar and restaurant was below average compared to many other tracks within Europe.
Track Facility: 6.510
Track Layout: 6/10
Track Location: 8/10
The Location: Ortona, Italy
Ortona is a coastal town and municipality of the Province of Chieti in the Italian region of Abruzzo, with some 23,000 inhabitants. Ortona was the site of fierce fighting between German and Canadian forces during the Italian campaign in World War II. The ferocity of the battle led it to be known as the “Little Stalingrad.” Now Ortona is the site of a beautiful beach, and a lot of summers break students and vacationers migrating to the area. The area I stayed in was directly on the beach, so every night after the races I got to enjoy what the beach had to offer. As far as location, I would say Ortona is one of the best locations we have had all year!
Starting on a good note
The weekend started off really good. All throughout practice we showed pretty good pace. But we waited till qualifying like always to pull everything out of our sleeves. In qualifying I posted the second fastest time in my session, but due to my group being the last to qualify and the track getting slower and slower I would take an eighth overall. For those who are wondering there was no Superpole in the CIK FIA European Championship rounds. With my 8th overall I would be in group B starting second row inside for four heats and second row outside for one. At the time I was really happy with that, only having to deal with the outside once. I didn’t realize though that the outside was a lot better than an inside starting position at this particular track. Disappointing because this was my first time getting a good group number for the inside starting row for the European Championships.
Heats leave me on a high; but there’s still a long ways to go
The heats we’re absolutely stellar for Energy Corse and I. We we’re always at the front and avoided all the collisions and incidents. We never left the top five and had finished that followed; 2nd, 3rd, 5th 2nd, 2nd. After the heats I was really proud of everyone as a team. Looking at the overall sheet you saw that I was 3rd overall out of all the KFJ drivers going into the finals on Sunday. This has been our best heat races performance so far this year. Third overall would give me a starting position of second in the pre-final. Another thing to raise my hopes up about Sunday was that the championship was very open, with a lot of the European Championship contenders with tough heat finishes I was actually the first Championship contender after the heats. Going into Sunday I knew I had a pretty good shot to take the European Championship tittle if I could run two clean Final races.
Emotional ending to a weekend to still be proud of
All the hard work of the week by Energy Corse and I literally vanished in the opening laps of the pre-final. I was starting on the inside row one due to the pole sitter choosing the outside row. This gave me quite a disadvantage due to all the dust that was sitting on the inside rows lane. For the Pre- Final Energy Corse and I tried something that we hadn’t tried yet this weekend. A very short sprocket setup ratio. With this ratio we we’re looking to gain a lot down the straight and sacrifice a bit through the infield and through the corners. We knew we we’re going to be close to the limit for what the engine could handle for sprocket setup but we wanted the win, so that means putting everything on the line. Getting through the first corner I came out about third position. On the second lap I immediately made a lunging pass for second position on the straight but in the infield the driver was able to lunge me back pushing me out in the marbles. It was like I was crippled with my sprocket setup from there on because I couldn’t carry the roll speed needed through the corners and I started to fall back. I was in fifth by the start of the third lap. Now I started to push a lot know I had to make up for the sprocket. In one of the infield technical corners I pushed the cold tires just a tad over the limit and was punished heavily for it getting lunged by another driver. Again I was pushed out in the marbles. A slow exit off of the corner of me getting passed in lead to an attempt of an outside maneuver by another driver. We made contact, as I had no idea the driver was there, we hit my rear wheel to his front wheel and I flew in the air severely bending the axle. Defiantly the most bent axle I have ever had in my karting career. This lead me to not finish the race. I was destroyed after this emotionally. Really upset, and I knew it wasn’t an actual fault of mine it was just how the race played out that was disappointing. Still a weekend to be proud of with our really good pace and excellent heat races, just to bad we couldn’t have put the cherry on top and come home with a solid Final result.
This all could not be possible without the partners of Parker Thompson Racing. Thank you very much Sylvan Lake RV, RLV, Bell Racing Helmets, Tillett Racing Seats, CanadianKartingNews.com, Racing Against Cancer, Panigada European Transport, GFR Engines, TM Racing Engines, Douglas Wheels, Tillotson Carburetors and Energy Corse Factory. For more information check out www.parkerthompsonracing.com or Parker Thompson Racing on Facebook and Twitter @parkertracing.