It proved to be a positive testing day, with carburetor and sprocket settings gone through. Deven was on point from the first run of the day, and inside the top three in all sessions, noting the fastest time of session 3 in the afternoon, which will have given him confidence going into Sunday.
SUNDAY - RACE DAY
Free Practice | 2x 5min | P2 & P3
The pace from the test day translated directly into the morning warm up sessions, where Deven found himself again at the pointy end of the field, just a couple of tenths off of the P1 marker set by rival Jack Salomonsson, and right on pace with the other top 3 contender, Hampus Holmberg. After the sessions were completed it was looking like a 3 way shootout for pole position.
Qualifying | 5min | P3
Qualifying started out very well, with Deven setting the 2nd best time on his first flying lap only one tenth off pole position. He failed to improve on his next lap, and only had one left to go for pole. He started out with a purple first sector and a personal best 2nd sector, but in an unfortunate twist of fate, ran head on into traffic right at the end of sector 3, which compromised his exit out of the final corner and onto the start finish straight. He was visibly frustrated, slamming his fist down on the steering wheel as he crossed the line. And he was right, the forced tighter line cost him a couple of tenths and he ended up 3rd after both Salomonsson and Holmberg were able to complete clean final flying laps and improve their times.
The positives to be take from the extremely short session were that Deven had qualified inside the top three in only his 2nd ever Mini 60 race, and that he would be starting from the inside grid position of 3rd for all three of the heat races.
Sprint Heat 1 | 5 Laps | P3 → P2
Starting 3rd is probably the best starting spot other than pole position. You can push right up against the pole sitter without worrying about false starting, just have to make sure you stay inside the tram lines until the lights go out.
Deven executed this to perfection in all the heat races. He barreled down to the high speed first corner right on the bumper of the #21 ahead. There was a heart in mouth moment going into the hairpin at turn two, where Deven opened up to take the normal race line, and had the #46 of Holmberg been more alert or daring, he could have dived down the inside and taken back his 2nd spot right there.
As it was, Deven got away with it, and proceeded to concentrate on trying to hunt down the leader for the next few laps. But as is always the case in Mini 60, one small niggle and it can create a lot of pressure from behind!
On lap 4 Deven was just a bit late on the gas out of turn 13 onto the reverse back straight, and this was all the invitation Holmberg needed. He got a run on Deven and took him down the inside of turn 14, into the final twisty section of the track.
Crossing the line now in 3rd, with only 1 lap to go, Deven needed to hit back if he was going to show that he was no easy mark. He did just that. In almost a carbon copy of his last lap heroics at this same track during the SKCC 6th round last year, he made an excellent exit going through turn 4 up the hill and carried that momentum all the way through the long back straight, drafted up behind and at the last moment ducked down the inside and made the pass.
This time he nailed the turn 13 exit out onto the reverse back straight and in the end took the checkered flag comfortably in 2nd place. It was a great achievement both physically and mentally for the young race driver, confirming he had the pace and the gumption to take top results!
Sprint Heat 2 | 5 Laps | P3 → P2
Now brimming with confidence, Deven went into the next race more relaxed. However, everything didn’t go as planned in the build up. At the start, Holmberg was eager to not let the same thing happen to him and actually jumped the start by almost a full kart length at the 25 meter line. This was completely missed by the race officials and the start was allowed to go on with no penalties applied.
In addition to this, the pole sitter, Salomonsson, missed the start slightly and when they crossed the start finish line the fourth placed kart, #19 of Gustav Christensen, was right up alongside Salomonsson. Deven was desperately pushing up his back bumper, to get them both alongside Holmgren into the first corner. Again, had Holmgren been a bit more aggressive, it seems he could have taken both Jack and Deven at the start given his jumpstart advantage, but as it was, Salomonsson was able to take the inside line again, and Deven was on hand to follow through. Holmgren was forced to let off for a fraction of a second and it was all Deven needed to beat him to turn 2. But the lap one dram wasn’t over there!
Deven again lost momentum coming out of the turn 13 hairpin exit and got taken on the inside of turn 14 into the final twisty section of track, and crossed the line after the first lap in P3.
This time he was right on the back of the #46 racer, though and dove in on the inside of turn 4 coming up the hill. This took Holmgren completely by surprise and he ended up out in the marbles and was forced to let off the gas, losing him a lot of momentum. HE was forced to block from behind rather than go forward and Deven had his gap.
From there it was a comfortable race, and Deven was showing great speed through the tighter, twisty sections of track, pulling away easily from those behind him and gaining on the leader. IT was the straight where it was showing that the team only had their testing motor available to them this weekend, and the last little bit of power was not there, the field gaining back on him down the two back straightaways.
This made it very difficult to make any headway forward, and Deven finished P2 with a comfy 0.5s margin, but 3.0s back from the winner.
Sprint Heat 3 | 5 Laps | P3 → P2
Something needed to be done to help our enthusiastic driver get closer to the leader for the final heat before the final. Nothing drastic, just a tweak here and there. A few small adjustments were made to that effect. Fingers were crossed that they would have the desired result.
The start went as planned for Deven again, as he cemented down his technique on the inside line, for the third time running getting the second spot right out of the blocks into turn one.
This time, though, it readily became apparent that there was a bit more pace in the machine, and it became a 3 way battle for the heat victory. Deven was visibly much quicker through the twisty sections of the track coming up the back bumper of Salomonsson every lap of the race out of the final sector of the track and on to the shorter start and finish straight. He lacked the Fasberg™ Waft his race motor provides and lost out on the three main straightaway the track has to offer. He could only hang there if he got a perfect draft, which he did on a couple of occasions, but had no get up to pull up close enough to do anything about it. Only 0.7s from the win in the last heat before the final. His reward for his performances? A front row start, albeit from the outside of the grid.
Final | 10 Laps | P2 → P3
This last bit was a key factor in the Final race. Deven would have to start out on the outside of the front row, and wait to get on the gas at the rolling start until after the leader. Then he would have to somehow avoid the same fate he had dished out in the three heat races, and not get pushed out wide and be forced to duck in behind the P3 kart. Tall order, as Deven himself had shown earlier, even when P2 jumped the start it was very hard to hold position going into turns one and two.
In addition to the start, there was the weather to take into account. The Final was twice as long as the heat races were, and the sun had come out, air temperature had gone up. What to do about tire pressure to compensate?
Too much pressure and the tires would have too much grip later on, causing the motor to run less freely out of the exits of the corners, and that would be especially bad for Deven who was running a 30+ hour old test motor.
Too little pressure and the tires would never come up to temperature properly and have too little grip, causing the kart to be weaker where Deven was strongest, in the twisty sections of the track, also hampering traction out onto the straights and working against the old tired motor.
Dilemmas! A decision was made and the pressures set. Pep talk, well wishes and final walkthrough of strategy completed, off the field rolled onto the track from the pre-grid line-up.
At the start it was unfortunately a case of the expected happening. Despite a pretty decent start, timing it very well, he couldn’t prevent P2 from getting down under him along with the leader, and he conceded the spot going into turn two.
However, all was not lost as Deven had shown during the course of the day that he did have the measure of his race rivals. In this case, however, it just wasn’t meant to be. The tires never came alive as hoped, and worked against him in his strongest section of the track and didn’t help him out at all during the rest of the lap.
The gap to the front two slowly increased as the race went on, despite Deven’s best efforts, and the race ended in relative disappointment with a 5 second margin ahead. On the positive side, despite his troubles, he stretched out a very comfortable 2.5s gap behind him by the end of the race, cementing that he was well worthy of a podium on this day!
What an exceptional weekend! Deven’s race craft and technique, and awareness on track has developed at a highly accelerated pace since the pre-season test in Lonato in February, and after a strong debut at the prestigious Klippan Cup he followed it up with a stellar performance here in Malmö, capping a very successful weekend with his and the team’s first ever Mini 60 podium! Hopefully many more to come from the young and energetic race driver!
Yeah, we let Deven down a little bit there with setup and tire pressure in the final. Went along the same lines as the adjustments made for that 3rd heat where he was right on the pace, but obviously just too far. We will have to accept that as a learning experience and try not to make that same mistake again. Deven was excellent though, in his application and focus on the track. Really happy with the speed of his development and hoping it continues. If it does he could be pretty dangerous come the 2nd half of the season. Congrats to Jack (Salomonsson) today, he was quick and we just couldn’t quite catch him on the day. Also big thanks to Alex Dahlberg, who supported us remotely today, wouldn’t have been as good as it was without their help.”
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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