Generally a very good day, as has been the norm for practice day, improving a few tenths during the remainder of the day despite trying several different setups that didn’t come off as hoped. Now dialled in for race day, it was back to the hotel to get some rest to recharge the batteries for race day on Saturday - but not before a 2nd sushi dinner of the weekend, this time due to a forgotten mobile phone from the previous night. If you ask Deven, he will say he left there on purpose so he could eat there again, his claim that it was the best sushi he has ever eaten - Sushi Wakasaya in Växjö, Sweden - you heard it here first! 🍣 😋
SATURDAY - RACE DAY
Free Practice | 10min | P13
The weather did in fact hold, and it was forecast for even a fair bit of sun for the afternoon races. So with track conditions consistent and rubbering up from the previous day, it would be interesting to see whether the track would become slower or faster as the day progressed.
Now we finally got to see where the pace was. Despite getting out in the middle of a slightly slower group and being stuck in traffic, Deven did manage to get in a couple of flying laps at the end of the session, good enough for 13th in a massively tight session where the top 20 were only separated by six tenths of a second. He knew there was more in it where it was only a few hundredths of a second up into the top 7-8 or so and only another tenth into the top 5.
Qualifying | 8min | P13
Again a super tight session that was the hallmark of this short track where a decent time get you around the sub 900m track in under 43 seconds. So it was no surprise that the rankings were defined by the smallest of margins. This time the top 24 within the same 6 tenth margin as in the warm up session.
The idea was simple enough. Get out behind a kart or group of karts that were quick enough for Deven to chase after them, use a draft on a push lap to get an optimal time. Execution is slightly more difficult than the theory. The Kid found himself perfectly placed, right up behind a fellow racer with similar pace from the warm up session. Unfortunately they were a tenth slower this time around rather than a tenth faster, and this hampered Deven’s session. He ended up yoyo-ing back and forth behind trying to get a full push lap, but it put him off his rhythm, and cost him the extra tenths that would have put him in the top 10.
He had to settle for P13 again, by only one thousandth of a second, with just one tenth up to P9. That thousandth, though, would be beneficial, as our little racing driver would start on the inside line for the qualifying heats, if a couple of rows back from where he would have liked.
So it would be the inside of row 7 for the next two races before the grid would be reshuffled for the Super Heat, and again for the Final.
Qualifying Heat 1 | 14 Laps | P13 → P10
The short track meant more laps than usual and this meant more endurance needed. While it was a short track this meant you were turning constantly, and mostly at high G-forces due to the high speed corners for most of the track.
While a good start went a long way, conditioning would be key to be able to keep focus through to the end when necks started rolling.
Deven made a much needed clean start and used his inside line to push him up to P9 by the time they got to the end of the straight at turn 4, able to get a good run off of turn 3 and make a pass on the exit to make the position after gaining two places right at the start.
A start incident behind him caused a full course yellow and the slow flags came out just before the final high speed turn 9 that comes out onto the start/finish “straight”. There were no serious injuries so the slow flag only lasted a couple of laps before they were underway again.
Deven got a strong restart on lap 4 and was able to push up past one other kart with a nice late move down the inside at the turn 4 hairpin. Now in P8 he was able to consolidate his position a bit, but during the next stint of the race the pace stagnated. Not quite able to push up to the lead group, Deven also was having trouble gapping those behind and never got more than a 2 or 3 tenth margin to the chasing karts behind him.
Fighting the kart most of the way, he managed to hold onto his 8th place position until lap 12, where a small niggle allowed both the #21 of Jack Salomonsson and the #101 of quick Dane, Marc Alexander Reistrup, to squeeze through on the inside. Deven didn’t go down without a fight, though, and fought back immediately, pulling a smart over/under switchback move to take back 9th from Reistrup, but Salomonsson took advantage of the squabble and gapped a few important tenths, preventing Deven from coming back at him as well.
But the pace wasn’t in it, and it was always going be hard now to keep that 9th position. Reistrup renewed the pressure and was able to make the move stick on the next lap, at the same turn 5, with one lap to go, and that was how it ended.
A decent result, but a bit more pace would have to be found in the package in order to make the push up the field stick over a race distance.
Qualifying Heat 2 | 14 Laps | P13 → P11
Only a few small adjustments were made to the setup for the next heat, hoping to get the tires to come alive and stay that way in the rapidly warming day that was getting sunnier and warmer as the morning turned to afternoon.
Again Deven took advantage of his inside starting position and followed the line through cleanly and efficiently, gaining 3 positions up to P10 at the start and completing the first lap in P9 after capitalizing on a small mistake from the kart ahead at turn 8 to take another position.
At first things were looking good. Deven pushed up to the next kart ahead, the #16 of Alve Strömberg, who was having a good weekend. Keeping pace and putting on pressure. But then from behind came another Dane, the hard charging #37 of William Sterup Nielsen, who dove down late on Deven, taking him by surprise at the turn 4 hairpin. His exit was compromised, though, and Deven was able to attack back again straight away at turn 5. He completed the manoeuver, but both drivers lost momentum, and it was a double whammy. The lead group was able to gap them, and the karts behind closed in, ready to pounce, and it was still early in the race.
And the fight between the two was not over. On the very next lap it was a carbon copy series of events. Nielsen made a late move in turn 4 and Deven was able to hit back right away and retake the position at turn 5. But now the lead pack was well and truly away and the pack behind was now right up on the two battling for position so early in the race.
In addition to this, it just seemed like the package just wouldn’t get in quite the right window for real pace, a struggle for the driver trying to find balance and grip to get into a rhythm. It was again Salomonsson who took advantage on lap 6, coming through at turn five and Deven couldn’t fight back immediately this time. The loss of momentum let the #2 of Benjamin Poulsen through as well, and the lap ended in P11 for the young AD Motorsport driver.
This is how it ended as well. Deven was able to refocus and make the most of the kart underneath him for the remaining 8 laps, coming back at Salomonsson without really being able to make and atack, as well as fending off a late charge from the Ward Racing #56 of Alexander Frykberg to hold onto 11th spot.
The results meant that after the points tallies were completed, Deven would move up two spots and start the Super Heat from the inside of row six, in 11th on the grid.
Super Heat | 14 Laps | P11 → P5
In what would end up being the highlight of the weekend for Deven, it was a Super Heat performance where the AD Motorsport driver showed his potential.
A few more small tweaks made to the setup to try and find that magical balance, and it was time to go at it again. Moving up a row after the reshuffling of the grid from the qualifying heat results, Deven maintained his inside grid position, and again made the most of a chaotic start.
The chaos was the result of the #81 of the plucky Ward Racing driver, Carl Nellegård. Instead of following pole-sitter, Maximus Unt’s #15 Energy Corse, through on the inside, and taking the race to him after a clean start, he tried to push Maximus out in a dangerous and unfair move that would have a concertina effect through the rest of the field and cause several DNF's, including his own. The overly aggressive tactic didn’t work out for him this time, and he instead went over the top of the back of Unt, coming dangerously close to ramming the back of his head. Nellegård lost control and spun himself out of the race as a result. Luckily, Unt was able to continue and led the race through the first 3 corners.
Just behind, the #65 of the fast Danish driver, Matteis Stigsen, was forced to brake so he could avoid the incident ahead, and this caused the #9 of another Ward Racing pilot, River Nilsson, to come up over the back of him as well. River landed sideways and then was crashed into by a third Ward Racing kart, the #16 of Strömberg, effectively ruining their races as well, although River was able to continue, albeit at the back of the field. Very oddly, no penalty was given to Nellegård for his all-star role in the incident.
Deven got extremely lucky and was able to follow Salomonsson through the mess, keeping his momentum, and emerging in 4th position after the first 3 corners and out onto the straight between turns 3 and 4. Stigsen would emerge just behind and they crossed the start/finish line for the first time in 4th and 5th.
It immediately became apparent that the tires were not in their window at all. Deven struggled for pace, and didn’t fight Stigsen passing for 4th on the next lap. It was so early in the race and he felt it would be better to push on and gap those behind, and bide his time until the tires came into their window, hopefully soon.
It proved to be the right decision. The Kid had a solid, but lonely race from lap 3. The tires never came to him until lap 11, when he started putting in really good lap times. However, he easily gapped the fighting pack behind and found a good rhythm that allowed him the luxury of concentrating on being consistent and patiently waiting for the kart to come to him. It eventually did, but too late to do very much as he took 3 tenths out of a 2 second gap up to P4 during this final stint.
After 14 laps it was P5 and good points for the championship in the intermediate classification before the final, where Deven would be ranked in P8 after the results were tallied up. It was a good fight back after the slightly disappointing and extremely tight qualifying, where only hundredths had been in it for several positions both up and down the timesheets.
Final | 19 Laps | P8 → DNF
Having earned himself a P8 spot in the final, Deven was looking forward to the final. His average race pace was strong, and one last good start and he knew he could be right up there in the end. However, it was not meant to be.
Again it was a controversial start with the #81 of Carl Nellegård at the center of it all. Again with no penalties given.
Nellegård started from P9 on the grid after his Super Heat DNF, and in a carbon copy maneuver of the Super Heat, he repeated his dangerous and unsporting tactic of trying to push the kart in front of him out of the way instead of making a clean start.
This time is was his own teammate, the #9 of River Nilsson, starting P7, who was the direct target of the aggression. On this occasion, Carl did not go up over the top of his victim, but succeeded in pushing his teammate out of the inside line and into the outside line of karts before they were even through turn 1. River was smashed into the innocent #21 of Jack Salomonsson, and both lost momentum. Jack was forced to go even more outside with River continuing to be pushed into him in the quickly narrowing gap to turn 2.
Deven saw this unfolding before him and tried to tuck in behind the next kart through behind Nellegård to get around the two entangled karts, who were still basically stuck together at the apex of turn 2 at this point. And he almost made it. As Salomonsson and Nilsson slid out through the apex of the 2nd corner, the #534 of Mads Skov Nielsen just snuck by unscathed. Deven was next in line but was not so lucky. For a split second it looked like he too would make it past them, but at the last moment, just as Deven was halfway past the afflicted karts, Rivers back end came out just enough that their rear wheels met, and it launched Deven into the air. He came back down with a crash, smashing his elbow against the engine, and the kart slid out first sideways and then backwards into the deep grass between turns two and five.
Again, for the second race in a row, it was all over before it started for the shattered young racer, who had been on for an excellent result before the events that unfolded in the final.
Another really positive weekend for Deven, whose development curve continues in a sharp upward trajectory, showing strong race pace and intelligent race craft as he shows consistent performances in the Mini 60 category. Despite the second race in a row where his final was cut short and he has no result to show for his excellent performances, there are a lot of positives to take into next week at Lidköping.
Not very happy right now. Understatement. All I am going to say is that it is not a coincidence that the Super Heat and Final had start crashes originating from a certain driver at the front part of the grid while the Qualifying Heats were clean starts when that same driver was on the front row. That has to be looked at good and hard. It is not the first time either. Video doesn’t lie. People complain about the senior categories, but this is where you teach the drivers there are consequences for driving unfairly and dangerously, and right now that is not happening in the Mini 60 category. This young boy is growing up thinking that is how you are supposed to do it, and will be in for a rude awakening later on.
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Until next time, thank you all for the support!
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