SUNDAY RACE DAY
Free Practice | 10min | Group 2 - P12
The team elected to go out on scrub tires from Friday practice for the initial warm up practice session in the morning. Interestingly, about half the field decided to go with new practice tires for this single session before the scanned race tires were required to be used.
This resulted in a bit of a skewed timesheet, and the team were not too concerned, as the pace on the used tires was even better than Friday. It would remain to be seen what could be done in qualifying.
Qualifying | 8min | P15 in Group, P29 Overall
Unfortunately the qualifying duck could not be broken this weekend, and would of course set the tone for the events that would unfold during the rest of the day.
The session started out almost ideally. Deven found excellent track position out at the front of the field right behind a favorite for pole position and eventual winner of the final, the #65 of Danish driver, Matteis Stigsen. He was able to latch on during the first flying lap and was P2 after the initial shots has been fired by the top drivers in his group. Our man had a bit of a moment at the hairpin after the back straight on his 2nd flying lap, but was still able to improve slightly, but was P7.
The new tires were starting to settle in on the 3rd flying lap, where small wiggles prevented a really good time but it looked like Deven was just warming up. Then disaster as he came up to traffic on his 4th lap. After clearing the first kart down into turn two, he tried to dive under the next one at the beginning of the infield “s” section at turn 5, and misjudged slightly, just kissing the rear tire of the kart ahead with his left front tire. This spun him around immediately and unfortunately he was not able to get the kart going again and had to retire from the session.
It was the first time this season he had made a mistake like this in qualifying and it cost him dearly. From 7th spot and no chance to improve, the team could only watch on for the remaining 6 minutes of the session as he slowly but surely fell down the time sheets, eventually hitting 15th in his group. This meant a total running of 29th and an extremely tough slog in the heats to try and work his way back up through the field during the heats.
Heat B+C | 12 laps | P19 → DNF
As is always the case when starting so far back in the field, the risk of a race start incident goes up exponentially. Even if you do nothing but try to follow the pack through, there is usually very little you can do about those around you or just ahead getting into problems that you have no way of getting out of.
This is unfortunately exactly what happened to our race driver in the very first corner of his first qualifying heat. He got off the marks well on the rolling start, right on the bumper of the kart ahead, and right as he was moving to the inside, they left off the gas unexpectedly, and with Deven already committed, he had no time to react. His front left tire got into up into the rear right of the Danish #22 of Rasmus Letholm, and this launched him up in the air.
A passenger for the rest, he landed in the grass and out of the heat before even completing the first corner. It was another tough one to take and you got the feeling it wasn’t going to be our day after that. This is when things got a little bit crazy, as the weather, which had been full sun, and 20°+ all race weekend, with no signs of rain, suddenly decided to throw a spanner into the works as well.
Heat A+B | 12 laps | P20 → P14
As the team prepared for the second qualifying heat of the day, and they were about to push the racing machine out of the team tent and trundle it on the mechanic wagon down to the pre-grid, it happened. The wind suddenly came up. The Sun suddenly disappeared. The air went cold. Directly above there was a long, thin line of dark cloud that seemed to be heading directly for the racing circuit.
A few drops started to come down, and it was pandemonium and chaos in the paddock as teams and mechanics scrambled to prepare the machines last minute for a wet race. Then the little rain stopped. Was it a false alarm? The wind died down a bit.
The karts were rolled out to the pregrid, everyone still on slicks. It was too much of a gamble to go out on wet tires. If it didn’t rain again it would be curtains for anyone who did. The temperature had changed, though and rain was in the air. The dark line of cloud was heading like an arrow right at the heart of the circuit. Still no rain. Then a couple of drops, then nothing.
The signal went to start your engines, and away the grid went. It started pattering a sprinkle of rain again during the formation lap. It wasn’t enough to really upset the grip out there yet. Would the weather hold for the 12 lap heat?
The start went off. Deven made a good start from P20, making up 2 positions at the start, but being very conservative in making his way through the first lap. Partly because of the weather but also because he knew he had to finish this heat and take the checkered flag, or there would be no Final for him today. Still, he made a good aggressive overtake at the back hairpin to make up another spot and was P17 when he crossed the line
During lap 2 the rain started to come down a little more, but the grip on the track still seemed good. Deven was on his way forward when on lap 3 the heavens opened up.
First it was just a slight increase in the rain, but the drops coming down became large and cold, and karts started squirming back and forth. Deven felt this right away and was able to adapt. Others were not so lucky. Then it became a downpour and the wind started howling with ferocity as the skies darkened.
It became a hard core fight for survival out on track, drivers going as fast as they dared and then hoping there would be some grip to turn the kart around the corner. Deven worked his way through delicately as karts fell away around him, left and right. It was a slow motion comic tragedy as you watched the karts crawl their way around the circuit and the race seemed to go on forever, laps times 20 seconds slower than in dry conditions.
Deven found himself in P14 by lap 5 in an upside down results list and in close fighting with two karts around him. He lost out eventually to them but made the places back just by not spinning or crashing out himself, and in the end was able to crawl across the finish line with a hard fought P14.
It was exhausting for both Driver and spectator, but there was still both the Super Heat and the Final to come!
Super Heat A | 9 laps | P17 → P14 (P15)
The storm continued for a good 15 minutes after the race as the thin angry line of storm clouds ripped their way through the area. Suddenly the sun was back out and there was barely a cloud in the sky. Would the track dry out in time for the first Super Heat? The short answer was no, but not without a lot of back and forth on the pre-grid, tires coming on and off, pressures and sprockets and drive chains flying around and scrambling to fit the selected setup on the kart in time.
Wet was the right call and all in the first Super Heat were on them. The race was classified as wet officially so the lap count was reduced from 12 laps to 9. Our man hasn’t driven more than a few minutes in the wet in Mini 60 so this was going to be an adventure! And an adventure it was.
The team needed Deven to finish at least where he started in order to make the final. Deven made a good showing of himself in the conditions given the circumstances. Forced to be conservative, knowing he had to finish, he was able to navigate his way to a 14th place finish in a measured and mature drive that saw him post a top ten fastest lap time for the race. It was touch and go several times as he fought for position in the slippery conditions, but he managed it well enough. Unfortunately, yet another start incident where sudden stoppage right in front of him meant a front bumper pushed in and demotion to 15th.
It was good enough to make the final, and considering the events of the day, it was enough for now. Anything can happen in the Final. The feature race did not disappoint.
Final | 16 laps | P32 → P16 (P19)
Starting in the 3rd to last row on the outside. It was the lowest starting position the Kid has ever had going into a Final he has qualified for in his short career. It was going to be tough, and the risk of a start crash or another front fairing was sky high starting at the back of the feature final.
In the Final it is all or nothing and everyone knows that anything can happen. It is basically full send, nothing to lose from lights out to checkered flag. And that is exactly how it went down.
Again confusion at the start on the formation lap, Deven started 30th instead of 32nd, so was the beneficiary of two karts that didn't make the start in time ahead. A debutant pulled right in front of him in the wrong spot and Deven didn’t realize he was from a bit further ahead, and so thought he had lost a spot again. It was another rocky start as a 5 kart pile up ahead saw Deven ram into the back of the #534 of Dane Mads Nielsen. The impact not only pushed in the bumper but also basically smashed it flat and cracked it open as well.
Deven made it through, though,q and then followed Mads through the field on the first lap, making it up to 20th by the time they crossed the start finish line. Then it was a two lap battle for 19th as Deven and the #5 of Swede Viggo Vestergren enjoyed a nice clean and tough battle. Unfortunately they both caught up to traffic at the wrong time, Viggo made it through and Deven didn’t, lost momentum and track position, going down one spot to 21st instead.
It took him an entire lap to get back through to 20th and the field had spread out a bit at this point so the going was tougher to catch people ahead. This stint of the race saw Deven struggle to keep up with the two mini groups ahead, but he had just enough pace to keep within striking distance.
Then an off on lap 8 from another driver saw Deven up into 19th. Laps 9 and 13 saw similar instances where places were gained on track through incidents ahead and with three laps to go, he was starting to catch the two ahead and was in 17th position on track.
This is where the kid put in his best stint of the race putting in his fastest three laps trying to close up the gap. It wasn’t to be though and a last position gained to cross the finish line in P16 came due to another fight ahead that went badly for a fellow competitor.
P34 to P16 was a good showing in the Final, but things could have been very different had we executed earlier in the day.
It was a weekend full of chaos and unfortunate incidents, several of which could have been prevented, and held us back from getting the result we know we can achieve. More of a weekend to forget for the team, but we won’t do that. We will learn from our mistakes and make sure they are not repeated going forward. Every experience needs to be processed and debriefed, even when things go wrong, there is value in the lessons you take away.
We are excited to get back on track this coming week in Kalmar, Sweden for the 3rd round of the South Sweden Kart Champion Cup.
What a horrible day. I can’t even believe we ended up making the final the way things went today. I was just bad. Made a mess of qualifying and then the first heat crash, I thought the day was already over. Somehow we made it through, never gave up and finishing 16th in the Final felt good from where we started, but I knew a front fairing was coming the whole race, it was hard to focus when I knew no matter what I did I would be pushed down 5s. Lucky to be in the top 20 in the end after penalties. Just want to get on to the next one now and make sure I do better in Kalmar.”
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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