SUNDAY RACE DAY
The intervening Saturday had been full of light to moderate to heavy showers with periods of sun and wind in between, so we definitely didn’t envy the Saturday running categories, and were happy to be spectators on the Saturday.
Warm Up Practice | 10 min | P6
The inclement weather left its mark, though. The first session of the day was definitely slicks, but it was also definitely a drying track that was not fully ready for hard pushing, especially into the first corner which is a high speed sweeper with high lateral force.
The conditions suited Deven well, just as he likes it with low grip and finding where the traction was on the track. This bore out as well with the result. A strong P6 that would be a precursor to the rest of the day. The team also chose to run in the race tires during this session, given the data collected on Friday.
Qualifying | 8 min | P13
When they went out for qualifying an hour later, the track was easily in full dry mode, the running of the other categories combining with the sunny and windy weather to swish away the remnants of wet at any meaningful place on the track.
This meant the grip levels had risen as well and the times dropped accordingly, the pole lap being almost 9 tenths of a second faster than the practice session’s top time. Deven went 7 tenths faster than his warm up time, but it was only good enough for 13th in another very tight qualifying session in this championship where 2 tenths of a second is an eternity.
Slight niggling wobbles here and there were all it took, and lap after lap went by as a full lap couldn’t quite be put together. Deven’s best sector times would have been good enough for a top 5 result, but you have to do them all on the same lap for it to matter. Definitely a development focus for the future.
However, 13th on this grid was not by any means a disastrous result. It was a good place to fight from and Deven’s overall general pace was better than the qualifying result reflected. We were still in a positive mood going into the heat races.
Qualifying Heat 1 | 10 Laps | P13→P9
Starting from the inside for both the heats was definitely not a disadvantage, and provided Deven with a solid platform to go the attack from. This he did. Making a good start, he maintained position and survived the first corner skirmishes that can so easily result in incidents.
He battled for P11 during the first lap and lost a bit of a gap to the lead pack ahead of this, but when he finally got clear at the turn two hairpin on the 2nd lap, he began chasing them back down, as they were fighting hard amongst themselves.
On Lap 3 Hugo Eklund went wide on the hairpin leading onto the inside back straight, and got two wheels in the grass, causing him to pull out of it and lose momentum. Deven was able to follow the #313 of Malmross through and into P10.
From there it was a long and drawn out chase as Deven and Malmross essentially worked together to get themselves back up to the pack fighting over P5. They both made it on the last lap as the fight for position intensified, and in the end, Deven lost out only a couple tenths as Malmross was able to take advantage on the final corner and eek past and make a couple of positions. A penalty right in front of Deven meant he was elevated to P9, and it was a solid start to the racing for the day - definitely something we could build on.
Qualifying Heat 2 | 10 Laps | P13→ P6
In what would eventually be confirmed as the highlight of the day, Deven showed real class in this heat. He made a very good, clean and aggressive start, making up 4 places even while getting bumped around by almost everyone.
He then went one better, taking advantage of a fight ahead to dive down the inside for P8 coming down the hill. On lap 2 he charged up the hill through the chicane section, and got a great run on the #110 of Danish driver Nicklas Petersen and was P7 after a classic draft and pass manouver down the long back straight. On the same lap, championship leader Matteis Stigsen had a moment on the inside back straight and lost momentum, very similar to Eklund’s mistake in the first heat. Deven didn’t hesitate one bit here either and made a good move down the inside into the braking zone before the fast Dane could make a move to defend. P6.
Deven was putting in faster and faster times over the next few laps, chasing down the fight for P4 and getting closer, having a slight pace advantage over them. However, Stigsen was just that tenth or two faster and he caught back up to Deven, who now had to deal with a fight of his own. He felt as though if he fought with Stigsen too much, he would lose too much time and invite even more pressure from behind, so he didn’t defend too aggressively when Stigsen went for the move to put him back in P7 at the first hairpin on lap 6. This ended up being a very smart move, as Deven was able to follow Stigsen bumper to bumper up the hill through the technical chicane section, and they moved as one against the dangerous Dane, Liam Secall.
Liam showed his true nature as a driver as Stigsen and Deven drafted up and made the move together. Secall steered right at Stigsen, trying to scare him into backing off, in an extremely unsportsmanlike move that should have been heavily penalized. This is not this driver’s first offence in this series either, having earlier sent Deven off in the wet from behind at the earlier round in Klippan, again unpenalized. And Secall was not done for the day either, but more on this later.
As it was, Deven and Stigsen were through, very luckily without incident given Secall’s complete disregard for safety and fair racing. Deven was able to hang with Stigsen during the intervening laps to the end and put in his best times of the race during this final stint, bringing home a well deserved P6, despite some later lap pressure from the always quick and consistent River Nilsson from behind.
Super Heat | 10 Laps | P7→P9
After all the points were tallied it was a tie on points for 6th spot in the rankings, with both Malmross and Deven on 15 points, Malmross winning the tiebreaker on qualifying result. This was all fine because it meant another inside starting grid position for our driver, and again, he would use this to make a good start.
He was up in P5, making it past Malmross, Stasiak, and Granquist, but losing out to a hard charging Nellegård, netting him two positions as they went down the back straight for the first time. Granquist hit back at Deven at the entry to the downhill section, getting by under braking at the extra wide entry to the corner, and as they crossed the start finish for the first time Deven was in P6.
The Kid was having a hard time finding a rhythm, and was fighting the kart more than he had been earlier. At least this is what he felt in the driver’s seat. He was struggling to hang on to Granquist ahead and was being sucked into the fight behind him as well.
On lap 4 Malmross got back past him at the turn 2 hairpin, and he was in P7. Two laps later and he seemingly had control of the challenge from behind of the #127 of Alex Stasiak, but then Stasiak pulled a dirty move on Deven. He rear ended The Kid into the apex of the final corner at the end of the downhill section and pushed him out wide, and then sailed through on him. It is hard to say whether this was done intentionally or if it was just a misjudgment, but either way, it should have been penalized, and again was not. It was all Deven could do to stay on a relatively clean part of the track and not lose too much momentum.
Luckily he salvaged the kart in time and was able to regather himself, but now it was also River Nilsson on his back. He held him off until the last lap, when they exchanged positions several times before Deven dove down on him at the top of the downhill section, and outbroke himself just enough to let River through on an over under move. Nilsson defended the position successfully through the final part of the lap, and it was P9 for Deven in the end.
It was a slightly disappointing result, and Deven felt hard done by with Stasiak’s unfair pass. Also, it never feels good going backwards positions in a race. Still it was not the end of the world. Had the day ended there everyone would have been satisfied. But this was not the end of the day. The final was still to come.
Final | 14 Laps | P8→P18
After the results of the Super Heat, Deven would be ranked 8th overall and start from the outside of the fourth row of the grid for the Final. The first time all day he would start on the outside, but he managed it very well in the end. In fact, the start ended up being the only highlight of his final.
He was able to follow Nellegård through the first 3 corners and together with the lead pack power up the hill through the chicane section for the first time in P8. As they all bunched back up together at the hairpin leading onto the inside back straight, Deven hung back and saw his opportunity and pounced.
The 3 karts ahead tried to go through the hairpin 3 abreast. They somehow all made it through relatively unscathed but Deven had a clean run through and had momentum. Nellegård had the inside line out of the corner and Deven pushed up onto him to follow through any passing move that might occur. It did. Nellegård made a move down the inside and he and Deven went through on Granquist as one unit, and Deven had gotten himself into P7.
That was the end of the first lap, and how we wish it had been the end of the story. Unfortunately it was not…
Deven opened up for the turn 4 corner to start the uphill climb section of the track and Granquist took advantage, diving in. This pushed Deven out into the marbles at turn 4, which in turn caused him to have less grip on the exit at the top of the hill. So here he got a little bit wide and put his outside front left into the grass at 90+ kph.
He held it but now the spiral effect happened. When he turned into the super high speed corner at the end of the straight, nothing happened as his tire was full of dirt. He slid out into the marbles here as well and barely held it, desperately not willing to let off the gas and lose positions. Now he had no grip at all and was left hanging out to dry as he came to the double apex that came next, slithering wide as he turned in at the normal spot, but with no grip in the tires.
From there to the bottom of the hill he lost 7 positions and in almost the blink of an eye he had gone from P8 to P15. Things couldn’t get worse, right? Well you would be wrong. At least from there he would have had a chance to fight back. It was a long 14 lap final after all and he had more than 10 laps to get back in the game.
But alas, the heedless kamikaze driving of Liam Secall struck again.The guy simply threw his kart into the hairpin at turn two with no hope of actually making the corner, instead clattering unceremoniously into Deven, and effectively ending his race. Deven came to almost a complete stop trying to avoid the unguided missile that was Liam Secall and rolled slowly back out onto the track with any hopes of salvaging his race completely destroyed.
He took in over a half second a lap on the rear guard of the field, but even with 10 laps to go, he couldn’t quite make up the gap, finishing in P18 in the end, less than a second off of the pack fighting ahead when he took the checkered flag.
It was a really sour pill to swallow given everything that had come before, The Kid showing top race pace and fighting in and around the top 5 all day long.
In another very strong performing weekend, Deven just could not buy a break in a Final in this series this season. The last four rounds of the championship have seen him involved in a crash in every single final, and none of them could have been avoided by anything he could have changed. It was a lot to take for the young driver, who had given everything today to break the SKCC curse that had haunted him since the Summer Break, and shown he has what it takes to fight at the front of this incredibly talented field.
I just can’t believe it. I felt it all slipping away when I got out in the marbles, but knew that if I could just get my tires back, I could fight my way back through and salvage something, and then he (Liam Secall) just rammed into me! I am so upset right now, this is crap, and of course he has to retire after ruining another driver’s race. He sent off Noah (Antonsen) at the start as well - does he get a penalty? Does he get DQ’d? Nope. Just like Klippan, he gets nothing! Anyway, it is so sad, because I was on it today, I felt really good and knew I could bring the fight to those guys even if I didn’t quite have the one lap pace, I was definitely racy!”
No words really from me. Really sad and disappointed for Deven. He wanted this one badly to show everyone that the results in this series this season don’t reflect his true competitiveness. Even with this Final, though, I think he accomplished that at least, today. Really strong performances leading up to the Final, and proud of the work he did and put in up until then. Now we have one last race this season and it is a Championship decider next week in Borås. It is a three horse race to the finish, and anyone can win it, so we have to bring our A Game. I think Deven will be well up for it.”
Grabko GP would like to extend a special thank you to our sponsors, without whose support and trust, this journey would not be possible.
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Until next time, thank you all for the support!
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