Qualifying Heat 1 | 12 Laps | P26→DNF
The first heat went about as expected from that far back. You can only perform heroic miracles from the back if the people around you decide not to just drive into each other. This was unfortunately not the case. Several crashes occurred all around our driver, who was dodging bullets going into the first corner, and didn’t even make it to the apex of turn 2.
Everyone converged on the apex, Deven was in the middle of a three wide sandwich as both the outside and inside kart, both of which were not fully up alongside going into the corner, decided to attempt to dive through past in kamikaze fashion.
Deven was moderating his speed because there was another wall of karts in front of them all as well, and he knew he just had to make it through to be able to start racing. The others obviously thought they were going to win the race from the back on the first 3 turns.
Down the inside of Deven one kart flew, putting wheels on the grass on the inside and clattering at speed into the kart ahead, in turn pushing that up on top of the kart ahead of it.
This just resulted in a big crash right in front of Deven that was impossible to do anything about, with nowhere to go, surrounded on all sides. Deven ended up sideways on track, and rolled himself backwards with his hands using the rear wheels to get started again. He was last on track and by the time he got going again was almost an entire lap down.
By the time he got to turn 6, the glass corner, he let off to let the lead pack lap him and then his engine died due to this. He rolled back down the hill slowly towards turn 7 but came to a stop again. Here a steward tried to pull his kart while he was getting it restarted, and because of this, after he got going again, he finished a couple of laps before getting black flagged for restarting after receiving assistance from a steward.
Just going from bad to worse.
Qualifying Heat 2 | 12 Laps | P26→P15
At least we survived the start! Actually quite a good start. Able to avoid the melee somehow as several karts flew off the track to the left and right of him through the first 4 corners, he found himself in P16 going up the hill towards Glass corner for the first time.
This though, was pretty much where his pace lay today, in the mid pack. He had some good fights with colleagues, but lacked the speed to push up towards the top ten.
In the end he finished P17 but was promoted to P15 after front fairing and unfair driving penalties ahead were assessed. About as good as we could hope for on the day.
Super Heat | 12 Laps | P25→P16
Despite the DNF, Deven moved up one spot to 25th on the grid for the Super Heat. That far back it doesn’t really matter whether you are on the inside or the outside. In a very similar race to the second heat, Deven this time was caught up slightly in a start incident along with about 10 or so other karts that all lost momentum and had heavy engine bog downs out of turn 3. Deven managed to come out of the ruckus in P15, and the top 10 had all disappeared off on their own race by then.
Deven again had some decent and fun racing in the midfield, but lacked any real pace until the end of the race, where he found a little bit of rhythm to combat the rubber out on track. He fought hard and came across the line again in P17, this time elevated to P16 after a front fairing penalty ahead.
Even though he had gotten into the midfield, we knew that it was about all he could do to hang there in these conditions given his size, and so instead of looking forward to the final to see if we could push ourselves up towards the top 10, we were just hoping that his race would be clean and he could finish inside the top half of the 33 kart field.
Final | 16 Laps | P22→P27
But alas, it was not meant to be. In a remarkably well behaved start, it was mostly “hold station” through the first sector in the Final, which was remarkable in and of itself. It felt like people actually wanted to finish a final this time around.
Little bit of shuffling back and forth but he was in P20 after lap 1. Some more actually quite fun and good racing culminated in Deven getting himself up into P17 on lap 7, when friend and fellow racer who usually finds himself much higher up the grid, the #9 of River Nillson, found himself fighting for position with Deven on track. For 2 laps it was good hard clean racing with several changes of position, however, with only 5 laps to go, on lap 11. It all ended in tears for both drivers.
River made a good dive move down the left handed hairpin at turn 3, but Deven hung in and positioned himself well for the switch back at the right handed hairpin of turn 4, and retook the position cleanly. They had done the same thing on the previous lap. River was forced to take a later apex and thus was on the inside as they exited the corner, and thought he could make a run at Deven with an over under move. Unfortunately he never turned his kart in, just kept pushing to the outside, driving into Deven who was already white lining it on the outside. The front wheel of River’s kart made contact with the rear wheel of Deven’s and as a result, Deven’s kart hopped up in the air and did a 180° turn before landing facing the wrong way, whilst River was launched off the outside of the track into the grass, spinning out and ending his race.
Deven got restarted but was last of the runners on track and almost a half lap behind. He was able to stay out far enough in front of the leaders to not receive a blue and orange flag, so got to take the checkered flag, but it was a super disappointing end to a very forgettable weekend. River would be disqualified for his part in the incident, but there were no hard feelings between the drivers afterwards.
All in all a weekend that you just want to put behind you, after having come in with high optimism after a maiden victory and having shown good pace in the past race here, the last thing we were expecting or hoping for was what we got, and not really much we could do about it either.
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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