To be able to repeat his rolling start heroics like he did two weeks earlier was a big ask, but apparently our young racing driver knew what he was on about. It was as he said it would be. After somehow reacting faster than anyone else, he slalomed his way through the first sector, finding the room he needed to edge past his rivals, and took 4 places as he snaked through the infield section. Then in the first hairpin before the back straight, a kart clumsily made a late lunge down the inside that had no chance of succeeding, and ran into the left back corner of Deven’s kart, almost spinning him out completely.
Luckily Deven was able to save it with some lightning reactions, but this put a stop to his march up the field and he ended up losing back all the places he had won as they skipped by down the back straight, and so he was still P13 after the first lap. No longer one to get frustrated, Deven pushed calmly back up the field and started picking off those ahead one by one. One position lap 2, another lap 3, so now 11th and 7 laps to go but the 10th place kart was a few seconds ahead and Deven would really have to get on his horse if he was to catch them in time. He did it with 3 laps still to go and made a clean move at the back hairpin to make a top 10 finish in the heat. Good start but more work to be done.
It was squeaky bum time as the Swedish flag waved and started the race as they all rolled up to the line. Deven timed it perfectly and looked like he had afterburners fitted to his race machine compared to the rest of the field. He deftly dove in to the inside, catching the kart starting beside him by surprise and then shot through a gap that formed into the first corner as the drizzle started coming down slightly more and there was less grip than most had anticipated. He took turn 3 smoothly as though the rain wasn’t there, and took a couple more spots. Then through the tight infield complex of turns 4-6 he took another, and then at the turn 7 hairpin one more before the short back straight. Suddenly he looked up and was right on the back of 3 karts ahead of him through the fast twisty final section of the track and as he crossed the line for the first time he was P6! Then by the time he had completed turn 2 in the 2nd lap he was 3rd! He took one going down the inside of turn 1 and then was right on the back of the two karts ahead, as the drizzly rain continued to come down and they both misjudged their speed and he went right through. Deven didn’t even realize he was 3rd. He kept looking ahead and trying to find the next group of karts, but could only see 2 a few seconds further along, and finally realized how far up through the field he had come.
Thing was, there was still 7 laps to go! Deven’s skill at the start had gotten him this far, but now he wanted to take home his hard fought 3rd place, and was being heavily pressured from behind. In the tricky conditions, he didn’t really dare to go completely flat out and as a result was put on the defensive. He covered the inside lines at the three big overtaking spots on the track - the long turn 1, the turn 7 hairpin, and the turn 8 hairpin that came right after the back straight. He defended so resolutely that he was almost at the inside white line at these key sections of the track and as a result was compromised on the exits of these turns. He somehow kept his speed and momentum though, and the kart behind could find no way through. Deven made it through the trickiest conditions of the day and fought off hard pressure from behind to cross the line in P3. What a performance!
Pre-Final | 12 Laps | P8 —> P6
Our little fighter pilot’s reward for his performances in the sprint heats was an 8th position on the starting grid for the Pre-Final, up 11 spots overall from where he qualified at the beginning of the day. Normally this would have been time for the Final, but the MKR series format in which they were competing included a Pre-Final race as well. Could be both a blessing or a curse, depending on how the races went. On the one hand you got to have an extra race to try ad move yourself up the field for the Final if you had qualified badly or had gotten unlucky in a sprint heat. On the other, it was an additional race where everything had to go your way to achieve a result.
The track had rubbered in so much during the day at this point that grip levels were sky high. The team consulted with the driver and both agreed to go lower in both gearing and tire pressure to free up the motor for the short and twisty but very high speed track. It paid off as well, as Deven got off to another great start, even after again having to start on the outside line, he was able to find a gap immediately before turn 1 and get himself on the inside and follow the kart ahead through. One spot up right at the start, and then another at the turn 7 hairpin. He was P6 after the first lap and was showing strong pace. As the race settled in, it was clear it was going to be a fight for 6th spot between two good friends and teammates. Alve Alehall of Team Alehall Racing, was not only friend and a fellow Uddevalla Karting Club member, but also part of the Intrepid Driver Development Program together with Deven. He had been right up there alongside our man the whole day as well, vying for a top spot, and this was the first real instance this season they had gotten a chance to race directly against each other for position.
It was an entertaining battle for sure. Alve seemed to have the pace to close up on Deven, and did so, then took him a little bit by surprise, getting by him on that same turn 7 hairpin. But Deven wasn’t giving up, and the position change lasted less than a lap. As they crossed the start finish line down the front straight, Deven had drafted right up onto the back of him and won the late braking challenge between them, thus able to get up alongside into the sweeping turn one, and complete the pass back into the sharp left hand turn two. He was then able to close the door through the infield section and then maintain just enough gap to keep the fast driver at bay behind him for the remaining laps and was fairly comfortable in the end crossing the line in 6th. Could this day get any better for our man? There was one race left to find out.
But the pressure was not off. Forced again into defense on the inside line for turn one, he was never able to stretch his legs and drive the optimal racing line, and so couldn’t get a gap to those behind. There was too much pressure being put on him and he knew that if he left a gap at the inside there would be a dive down there to get him. So lap after lap he covered the inside at turns 7, 8, and 1, never giving even a whisper of a gap in those places on the track. He defended for his life to put it plainly. It was a nail biting 16 laps with a couple of close calls, where Deven got some worse exits onto the back straight and almost got passed around the outside. But every lap he made his corner exits at those three turns and then moved over almost to the inside white line, looking behind to make sure he had room to do it. On several occasions in the latter stages, the kart behind realized this and tried to beat him there, but Deven was having none of it, and he would have to weave back to the outside again and lost his momentum in doing so. With only a two laps to go this caught the man behind out and Alve Alehall was there to take advantage, making a pass of his own that alleviated the pressure from Deven considerably. At that point, with less than two full laps left, Deven was able to push on the last lap and avoided any danger from Alve behind. He crossed the line in 5th position! He had done it! 5th place overall and 3rd of the Kart Cup West entrants, it was going to be another podium!
Or was it? In the afterglow of the euphoria in the team and our driver, having gone through technical inspection, weighing in, and leaving the kart in Parc fermé for the protest period as a top 5 finisher, it only then was communicated that at some point during the race, Deven had received a 3s time penalty for weaving on the back straight. It was a shock. Discussions with race officials revealed no concrete or solid explanation. Deven had defended stoutly, but always only covered the inside, he had never weaved or attempted to block. Our man was devastated. Having driven probably the best race weekend of his young career, he couldn’t understand what had happened. Neither could the team. Neither could the rest of the paddock. Throughout the pit area, teams came over left and right to console the team and the driver. Both those that had finished ahead and those that had finished behind expressed their confusion at the decision. They hadn’t seen anything wrong or unfair with Deven’s driving. It was a very hard pill to swallow, and understandably the team was extremely frustrated.
The result of this seemly phantom weaving and the 3s penalty applied was that Deven fell down the results list a whole 7 places overall and 2 places down in the Kart Cup West results to finish P12 and P5 respectively. It was a hard one to take, but sometimes the bitter pill can’t be avoided. Despite the mysterious penalty, there were some good takeaways from the weekend. Deven showed the fighting spirit needed in every racing drivers heart, and an absolute killer instinct and race intelligence that will take him far as he develops in his career. The team also consolidated their position in the Kart Cup West series, moving up to 2nd spot in the standings with only 2 rounds to go. A very good position to be in as the series takes a break for the summer and comes back in August with round 4 in Gothenburg. Now for the team there is one more big race weekend to go before we too take a well deserved summer break, and that is Round 4 of the Southern Swedish Karting Championship Cup. We will be heading down to Ängelholm, Sweden and the Klippan Karting Circuit to do battle again.
The Team would like to thank its sponsors and partners, without whom we wouldn’t be able to compete at all:
Improx Customs | Profil #461 | The Techno Creatives | Dumpling X Sweden | Elevate: Bespoke IoT Platforms | Weret: Surf Watches from Sweden
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