QUALIFYING - 8 MINUTES - P2
Of course it is one thing to have data indicating a predicted theoretical time, and quite another to go out and execute on that to make it a reality. As they lined up in the pre grid for qualifying, though, Deven gave his reassurances to his race mechanic. “I’m going to do it,” was all he said.
It was now almost 11:00am, and track temps had risen and the sun had even peeked out to accelerate the drying of the track. Due to all the running in between, a good amount of rubber had been laid down as well by this time. So now the only thing left was to go out and lay down the hammer.
And boy did our little man Deven do exactly that. He went out and put up the benchmark for others to chase after immediately. As the 8 minute session wore on, it became clear it was going to be a two way shootout for pole position, with Deven trading blows with his rival back and forth. It was a show of maturity for The Grabko GP driver, as he made sure to give himself proper track position to be able to pump in push lap after push lap, and hit back every time.
In the end, though, it was the #225 kart of fellow Intrepid Driver Program teammate Max Emanuelsson who pipped Deven to pole by just 0.114s. A great fight and a great feeling to be slugging it out at the very front of the field. To say it was an excellent result for the team and driver would be an understatement, and the reward was a front row starting position for both of the qualifying sprint heats to come.
FEATURE FINAL - 13 LAPS - P3
This is what it is all about. Fighting for the win against high level competition. To finally be in this position after all the hours and hours of practice, seat and travel time, hard work, rising back up after many many discouraging and difficult race weekends and coming back for more to take on the next challenge. This was the moment to make it all worth while.
13 laps. May the best man win.
Deven was visibly nervous at the start. Again he misread the lights and half put his hand up to signal an extra formation lap before catching himself. This time though, he didn’t get away with it. Leo was lined up 3rd now after the sprint race results and thus had the inside line and didn’t have to try to dive to the inside, and so had no risk of a false start. He was able to get up alongside Deven and force his way through to 2nd, behind Max who had gotten a decent start as well, at the fast left-handed turn 1. Deven didn’t let this phase him though. He got his game face back on immediately, consolidated his 3rd place position and started the hunt. An early stint in laps 3-5 saw our Intrepid Driver Program racer 2-3 tenths of a second faster than the leaders and catching right up to them, being particularly strong in the final sector 3 of the track.
The pace just wasn’t sustainable though. He was working his tires too hard at this blistering pace, faster than anyone on track, and tire pressures were getting too high. The next stint saw him lose about a tenth and a half of a second while the more experienced Max and Leo ahead were just coming into their tire window. It was a subtle but noticeable reversal, that saw Deven stop his advance as the leaders equalized their pace to his.
All was not decided behind him either. Both Eric and the #6 driver, Alvin Johansson out of Jönköping, were both having excellent races as well and giving Deven some pressure from behind. He handled this well for his part though and was comfortable enough to keep his attention ahead.
The leaders worked together well to pull away until the final laps, and left Deven pulling the two behind him along in his quest to get within that magical 1 second gap to be able to do something in the final stages. It never quite materialized though, as Eric unfortunately had to retire with only 2 laps to go due to a technical flag as his rear bumper came loose. A tough break for him, and it also left Deven with no help to make the final push up to the leaders.
In the end it was a fine 3rd place as Deven crossed the line, just 1.4s off the leaders who had yet another photo finish, with Leo again snatching the victory away from Max at the line. A milestone moment for both the team and Deven in his racing career, as he proudly stepped onto the podium for the first time. Way to go, kiddo!!
It was a triumph in another way as well as it was a complete lockout of the podium by The Intrepid Driver Program Sweden and LK Racing, With Leo, Max, and Deven all representing the Italian karting manufacturer at the race.
So there you have it folks, an EPIC race weekend for the team, and we can’t wait for the next one! Coming up in 1 week's time, we are down in Växjö, Sweden for the double race Gold Cup, rounds 2 AND 3 of the Southern Swedish Karting Championship Cup (SKCC).
See you all there!