By: Nathan Kelly/CKN.
Thursday in Valencia brought more cool temperatures as the drivers arrived at the track. Overcast skys blocked out the sun and any hopes of the day warming up. Drivers were given a single warm-up session in the morning to prepare for the two qualification heats that took place before lunch and after. Drivers were decided into four groups (A,B,C,D) based on their qualification times to set the grids for all three rounds of heat races. From this two groups would race each other at a time in a single heat race. Every class put on quite a spectacular show come the heats. Drivers from around the world brought their best to put on an amazing spectacle for fans in Valencia.
As the Juniors took to the the track, an electric atmosphere filled the circuit. Fans were standing on their toes awaiting the green flag to fly for the first round of heats.
In the junior class the battles were intense with all drivers preforming exceptionally well. The Senior class was no different, Zachary Claman-DeMelo was able to consistently remain at the front of the pack for both of his heat races. DeMelo showed great pace and remained very relaxed throughout the day, as he understand that consistency is what is important in these heat races. Another big story of the day was American Oliver Askew, who had two exceptional drives in both heat races but was stripped of his first points for a driving infraction. Askew was able to bounce back and record a victory in the second heat which was a huge advancement for Team USA.
In the DD2 Masters class all eyes were on Alan Rudolph as the driver was disqualified from yesterdays qualification. Rudolph paced the morning warm up but found himself starting in 36th position for both heat races. In the first heat things looked promising as the driver avoided a wreck in the first corner passing ten karts, but then he was caught up in another wreck further down the track causing him to spin. The second heat Rudolph showed great consistency, moving from 36th to 17th in the heat, if Rodolph can consistently have results like that it should significantly improve his position for the next couple days. In the DD2 class, drivers put on a professional show like no other. Consistent passing kept fans fully engaged for the entire race.
The custom Valencia CRG’s made for spectacular visuals as the heat races began. As for the North Americans, Canadian Ben Cooper had the strongest results of the day finishing second in his first heat and third in his second heat. Cooper was composed and confident with his driving and was not driving overly aggressive. The three time world champ understands that it is more important to maintain positions and conserve tires as opposed to win everything.
The Spanish weather is keeping drivers and teams on their toes as rain is a very strong possibility in the future. Saturday shows a 100% change of showers and drivers have yet to tackle the circuit in wet conditions. The next 48 hours should prove to be quite exciting and not something to miss.
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