It was another frustrating weekend for the team, as the race weekend started with a slow roll, but gain really promising momentum before coming to a screeching halt in the semifinal race.
Deven was off the pace in the free practice session 1 and 2, not able to get into a rhythm at all despite having the kart dialed in pretty well for the track from the start, something that had been lacking in the previous round in Växjö. We needed to make up 1.6s to get into the mid-pack fight in qualifying, and so it was a tense debriefing session, crunching the data with the driver and getting feedback in return.
It paid off well, and Qualifying was much improved. Deven was able to extract much more out of the kart and the chassis setup, found the pace he needed, and made of the targeted time, and found himself bunched up at the tail end of the mid-pack group, after posting a best lap of 53.073s in the session. One more tenth of a second would have seen him up 7 more places in the field of 49, but he would have to settle for 37th overall.
This meant a 13th row starting grid position in the first sprint race, 26th of 34 on the grid, and a bit of work to do to get ourselves in a good position in the semifinal to make the feature race.
This race turned out to be the highlight of our weekend. Deven got off to a blistering start, holding position and smartly avoiding any first turn altercations and then showing really smart opportunistic race craft, weaving through a bunched up pack in the first sector, and making up 5 places.
So 21st going into the long back straight, and things already looking positive. Good, tight driving and consolidating of our position in the next few laps put us in a position to be opportunistic and look further up the field instead of behind us. In fact, Deven was catching the small group ahead of him and had plenty of race left to attach onto the back of them. His persistence was rewarded as well as an incident ahead of him claimed 2 more drivers and suddenly with 4 laps to go, we were in 19th, and up 7 positions from the start.
Unfortunately that incident was more intense than initially thought, and the race was put under virtual safety car for the final 3 laps. and a 19th position in the first sprint race was in the bag.
The 2nd sprint race was all about consolidation, and we started 25th, and our start was not quite as good, we held position, and gained a place, but then 3 laps in he was turned around from behind fighting for position. The offending driver got a black and white warning flag, but the damage for the team was done, and while Deven valiantly drove on, and was able to make up 2 places again in a great resilient drive, we had to settle for 27th in a full 34 kart starting field.
The first sprint race result was then vital in getting us the 18th starting position on the grid for the semifinal. All that was needed was to make up one place to ensure making our debut in an SKCC final.
But it wasn’t meant to be this weekend. Deven made a good start, but rounding the first corner, there was a crash that forced him to the inside, where he had the racing line, but another driver cut right across him, plowing into the side of his kart, leaving him a passenger as he slid across the track at turn 2. This caused a heavier collision as those around ended up involved as well with no time to react, but luckily there were no injuries despite a kart involved overturning and narrowly missing our driver as it came to rest.
That ended our weekend and there was nothing more to do than pack it up and take the week off opportunity to regroup and come again in 2 weeks in Kristianstad.
Team Principal, Dan Grabko, had these reflections on the weekend, “We actually have a lot of positives to take from this weekend, despite the end result. Much more mature driving from our youngster today, and I’m really happy with the progression we made during the day. We had setup dialed in pretty much from the start which allowed us to concentrate on driver instruction and feedback. That paid off in qualifying and the first sprint race, which was really fun to watch from our perspective. Really too bad what happened in the semifinal through no fault of our own, but the most important thing is that everyone is unhurt. Now we have to recharge our batteries and get ready for Kristianstad in two weeks.”
So another exciting race weekend. Join us for more as we make the #grassrootsracing journey!
Grabko GP is a grass roots race team whose main focus is on amateur and young driver development, from first forays into karting, through amateur racing series, with the aim of one day culminating in the minor formulas and beyond. The team aims to promote participation in and love for motorsport while enabling the development of elite racing drivers.