Saturday would be an off day, and with only national kart classes racing on the Saturday, there wasn’t much to be done. The team checked off some media recording responsibilities and prepared tires and engine for Sunday’s big race day, and then headed back to the hotel for a little bit of R&R.
SUNDAY RACE DAY
Free Practice | 2x 10min | P3 & P3
The morning started out well. Deven went out in the first warm up practice session on old used tires to get himself into the right mode and was on pace with a breakout top four that included himself and his more experienced Klippan Cup winning teammate, Jonathan Landström. Home club ace Thindra Ramberg and another local driver, Jakob Wång, filled out what looked like was going to be a 4 way fight for pole position.
The second session saw the team mount their new set of tires for the second practice session to break them in a bit, based on testing done earlier in the weekend. Deven was again 3rd fastest, and there was not much in it for the fight for pole position. Landström showing himself to be the favorite going into qualifying with an extra tenth or two advantage. But the stage was set for an exciting qualifying session.
Qualifying | 8min | P4
The session was definitely exciting. In the end it was only 0.017s that separated P2 from P4 after Landström put down a marker by 3 tenths that would prove to be too good to touch for that session. Deven was in P2 until the last two laps, when both Ramberg and Wång were able to just pip his time of 54.478s. He only had time left for one lap to retaliate, and he did produce a new personal best, but lost out by just those few thousandths of a second at the death.
It was a relatively bitter pill to swallow since we had shown such pace on Friday and been 3rd in each of the practice sessions. It always seemed that Deven found himself on just the wrong side of those minuscule time differences. Mentally hard to process and it also meant that the two upcoming heat races would have to be started from the outside lane of the grid. Not an easy task, and memories of last week’s outside start in the Final at Malmö started to creep their way into the little racer’s head.
Heat Race 1 | 8 laps | P4 → P3
The first heat was an exciting battle that probably ended one lap too early from Deven’s perspective. He made the best start he could from the 2nd row of the grid on the outside line, pushing himself up against the 2nd placed Ramberg and trying to team up with her to get a good start. As the chaotic jostling ensued down the front straight, Deven managed to hold position going into the first real turn, the turns 2 and 3 right handed double apex combination, and then proceeded to hunt down the next karts up the road.
Wång was the first as Deven lined him up coming out of the final corner, and executed a textbook draft all the way down the front straight before pulling down the inside at turn one, which is more of just a kink in the track really, and completed the move.
Next up was Ramberg, who proved a harder nut to crack, the home track driver knowing every trick in the book at this fast paced track. Deven took two laps to catch her and one to pass, making the same exact move down the front straight as he nailed the exit out of the final corner to draft in behind and carry his momentum through to P2 at the second corner.
Now he had to try and finish the race catching Landström ahead. Instead of doing this, though, he spent his energy worrying about Ramberg behind and caused his own self-fulfilling prophecy. He should have simply put his head down and chased after the leader ahead. What he did do was turn his head backwards to check behind him at every corner and thus lost focus and speed, allowing Ramberg a chance to fight back.
Deven pulled a gap that should have been comfortable at a few tenths of a second, but he lost momentum with every glance backwards and slowly during the next two laps, Thindra was able to reel Deven back in and challenge for the P2 position. Deven started driving defensive lines and this only encouraged his rival to attack more.
On the final lap, she took her chance and beat Deven to the turn apex and forced her way through. Deven had very little time to react, but to his credit did as well as he could. He closed right back up on the local lady, and was right on her bumper coming out of the last corner, stuck out his nose and drag raced her to the checkered flag. Unfortunately it wasn’t enough and Deven had to settle for third place by just 0.067s. He was upset with himself afterwards, of course and received the same feedback from coaches and mechanics in the team tent afterwards at every turn. He was faster, should have looked ahead, and not back, and focused on chasing down the leader instead of trying to consolidate a position for 4 laps.
Heat Race 2 | 8 laps | P4 → P2
Still stinging a bit from the first heat, Deven went out for the 2nd one determined to secure a good starting position for the pre-final race to come, as well as show the rest of the field that he was not going to settle.
The start was unfortunately missed by P2, Jakob Wång, and it meant Deven had no escape route. He ended up losing a position down to 5th through the first lap. So a worse first stint than the first heat, but this time Deven was on a mission. He had really favored his straight line passing this weekend and again he took the 4th placed #121 of Gustav Roininen down the front straight using the draft to get a run. On lap 2, Deven took advantage of the #45 of Vidar Ottosson fighting back and forth with Ramberg for 2nd place when they should have been working together to go faster. Deven swept up behind them at just the right time, the end of the lap and sailed past Ramberg just after the finish line and pushed up against the back of Ottosson’s bumper the rest of the way down the straight and through turn one, diving down the inside at the braking zone of turn 2 to get the move done.
From there it was smooth sailing, this time Deven focusing ahead and even closing the gap slightly to Landström ahead during the closing laps, finishing a relatively comfortable couple of tenths ahead of Ramberg to take home P2.
It was another move forward in the field and this meant a P3 start for the Prefinal.
Prefinal | 8 laps | P3 → P2
Ramberg would start P2 in the Prefinal by virtue of her higher qualifying result after she and Deven were equal on points from the heat results. This suited Deven just fine though, as he would finally get his chance at an inside starting position.
There was talk of strategically finishing P3 again in the Prefinal to be able to secure an inside starting position for the Final, but in the end it proved too risky as there was a 3 way fight for 3rd place that developed behind the leaders Landström and Grabko, who drove away from the field with ease in the during this race, secure a 1-2 front row lockout for AD Motorsport going into the final. Both drivers showed great pace, finishing 4 seconds clear of 3rd place Ramberg, who had a proper fight on her hands to take home 3rd in a 3 way battle between herself, Ottosson, and Wång.
As it was, it was such a smooth sailing start, as Deven nudged himself up against Landström coming out onto the tram lines, and they sailed away at the start as one unit. Deven couldn’t quite hang with the more consistent pace of the experienced driver through the length of the race, but they built a huge gap together and it was a great moment for the team to start the final 1-2.
Final | 10 laps | P2 → P4
Here we were again, starting on the front row of the grid for the feature final for the 2nd week in a row. If you would have told us this would be happening in only our 2nd and 3rd races of the season in Mini 60, we would have been over the moon. Now when you have put in the hard work, and achieved it, your expectations naturally shift.
Last week in Malmö had been bitterly disappointing, starting P2 and falling back a spot to P3 when you knew the pace was there. Now, sitting in the kart in the same grid spot a week later, Deven was wondering in the back of his head, “Why do I have to start on the outside again??”
But it is still the front row. It means you have earned your spot during the race day to the top table, and the grid spot you have made claim to. Just how were we going to get our noses down the inside in time to defend our position??
In all reality it would most likely require some kind of mistake from the drivers starting in the inside line. This meant that either Landström, Ramberg, and Wång would have to miss the start slightly, while at the same time, Deven would have to rely on Ottosson and Roininen to do their part in supporting the outside at the start. They needed to push up against him if he was to have any chance at getting a run down to the first two corners.
Of the top 6 on the grid it was, unfortunately for Deven, Ottosson who let him down. He was not pushing up against Deven at the start and thus it was 3 against 1 as the top 3 on the inside line moved as one down the inside of turn one.
Deven hadn’t given up though, and he tried a cheeky over-under move into turn 2 and managed to get up alongside Wång at the apex. Wång bravely hung in along the outside and was there just long enough to make to the inside of turn 4 onto the short inside straight leading to the technical section of the track. Deven was still right on his bumper though and as they entered the chicane at turns 6 and 7 Deven nudged up against Wång’s back bumper. Unfortunately this upset the kart and Deven had a big wobble moment. He saved it with lightning reactions but lost a ton of momentum and had to take the rest of the lap to catch up again.
He was 4th as they crossed the line for the first time. This would be how the final ended. It was obvious that Deven was a little bit quicker than both Wång and Ramberg, but he never could translate that slight advantage into an overtake. At several points during the race, Deven closed up to Wångs rear bumper, and you thought, “Now he is going to dive in and make the move!” But it never came. On two occasions it looked like Deven got a very good draft down the straight, and where earlier in the day he sailed on by, now that same high end waft seemed to have diminished to the point where he couldn’t quite get there.
It was a very frustrated racing driver that crossed the finish line in 4th place after 10 laps of hard pushing with no reward. “I was all alone at the start, no one helped me! They all were pushing each other, it was like a freight train, I couldn’t get in there at all! So frustrating, that is two weeks in a row now!!”
To say that we feel his pain is an understatement. But on the other hand the opportunities were there, and with a little bit more racing experience they probably could have been converted. Going into the weekend, 4th place would have been a more than acceptable result.
Another very positive weekend in the development of our racing driver’s craft. He showed he is ready to fight at the pointy end of the grid, and has the bravery to hang it in there amongst more experienced drivers, as well as the skill to learn a new track quickly and come up to speed.
Going home with hardware in 2 of 3 races in this new and unforgiving international class has to be considered a win when expectations were much humbler. With this in mind we go to Kristianstad next week for round one of the Southern Swedish Kart Champion Cup (SKCC) which sees a huge field of 50 again with racers from Northern Europe gathering at the Åsum International Circuit to fight it out for top honors!
Yup, another one where it slipped through the little man’s fingers in the final. Again he showed great pace throughout the day, and a touch of bad luck combined with some naiveté during the final meant that he missed out on getting his 2nd podium in a row. But, it was an extremely positive experience for us again and he will continue to learn and grow. Being on the pace like this is very heartening for the team as well. We’re loving duking it out at the front!” ~Dan Grabkio, Team Principal, Grabko GP.
Grabko GP would like to extend a special thank you to our sponsors, without whose support and trust, this journey would not be possible.
Brunbergs | Trollhättans Oljor | Chassis Autonomy | The Grabko Group
Until next time, thank you all for the support!
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