Birel and ART to merge?

Birel and ART GP are rumoured to be working together and TKart have done some digging. They seem to have found out that the agreement is

serious enough for the Art GP management to change the company name from “Art Grand Prix S.r.l.” to “Birel Art S.r.l.”.

ART is owned by Nicolas Todt, manager of Felipe Massa and Pastor Maldonado and the son of FIA President Jean Todt. They are a relatively new kart brand but have long been active in Renault 2.0, GP3, GP2 and GT.

My first thoughts were that ART are looking for a bigger factory to make their karts but the name change suggests it goes deeper than that.

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Focus on Sweden for the CIK-FIA

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With two European Championship titles to be awarded in KZ and KZ2, and the penultimate European Competition for the KF-Junior category, the Swedish Competition at Kristianstad starts the crucial phase of the 2014 CIK-FIA karting season.

Sweden has not hosted a CIK-FIA Competition since the European Qualifications in 2008 at Göteborg and the 2010 CIK-FIA Viking Trophy at Lidköping. The brand new circuit of Kristianstad will host the CIK-FIA European KZ, KZ2 and KF-Junior Championships and the 1231m Asum Ring is a new challenge for the majority of teams and drivers. While the young drivers in KF-Junior will have to wait until the end of August for their European award, their elders in KZ and KZ2 conclude their European campaign in Sweden. They have to drop two of their six results, their worst points standings after the Qualifying Heats and their poorer Final. This means the Competition at Kristianstad is very important for the final result.

KZ: advantage Dreezen

Marco Ardigo (Tony Kart-Vortex-B’stone) won at Genk and Jonathan Thonon (Praga-Parilla-B’stone) at Wackersdorf, but Rick Dreezen (Zanardi-Parilla-B’stone) is leading thanks to his consistency, and his two second places have given him 58 points against respectively 43 and 36 for his two rivals. Dreezen is however well aware that everything will be decided in Sweden against his two opponents. Jordon Lennox-Lamb (CRG-Maxter-B’stone) in fourth with 34 points, Jorrit Pex (CRG-TM-B’stone) fifth with 33 points and Bas Lammers (Formula K-Parilla-B’stone) sixth with 32 points will also have their say in the title race. For the event win, in addition to the favourites already mentioned, we can expect to see Ben Hanley (ART GP-TM-B’stone), Anthony Abbasse (Sodi-TM-B’stone), Arnaud Kozlinski (Intrepid-TM-B’stone) or Paolo De Conto (Birel-TM-B’stone) play an important role.

Juodvirsis leads in KZ2

Simas Juodvirsis (Energy-Maxter-B’stone) made a big step towards the European Champion title by winning the KZ2 Final masterfully at Wackersdorf, but the fate of the Championship is far from settled. With 42 points, the Lithuanian is not safe from a reaction from Andrea Dalè (CRG-Maxter-B’stone), second with 35 points, and Sebastian Andreas Hansen (Tony Kart-Vortex- B’stone), fourth with 27 points, both of whom experienced a slump in Germany. Jan Midrla (Birel-TM-B’Stone), third with 29 points, showed potential to take into account every time, as well as Douglas Lundberg (Alpha-Parilla-B’stone), fifth with 26 points, who will have the advantage of a home race. There are four other drivers to follow given their recent performances: John Norris (Mach1-TM-B’Stone), 6th with 24 points, and Maik Siebecke (CRG-Modena-B’Stone), 7th with 22 points, who were 2nd and 3rd on the podium at Wackersdorf plus Finn Kooijman (CRG-TM-B’stone), eighth with 22 points and Simone Brenna (TB Kart-Modena-B’Stone), ninth with 22 points, who was the pole sitter and Heats leader in Germany.

Very open KF-Junior Competition

The expected duel between Enaam Ahmed (FA Kart-Vortex-Vega), the leader in the provisional CIK-FIA KF-Junior European Championship with 47 points, and Devlin Defrancesco (Tony Kart-Vortex-Vega), second by only a point, could be interrupted by the revelation of the last Competition at Zuera, the Swedish driver Anton Haaga (Kosmic-LKE-Vega), third with 40 points, who will be determined to shine at home. However, we aren’t lacking candidates for victory in this very competitive category. Logan Sargeant (FA Kart-Vortex-Vega), Daniel Ticktum (Zanardi-Parilla-Vega), Mick Junior (Tony Kart-Vortex-Vega) and David Beckmann (Tony Kart-Parilla-Vega) are a few from a long list of Drivers able to develop. There are also a number of young Swedish Drivers registered for the Competition with the aim of standing out in an international event, which could influence the final outcome at Kristianstad.

Photo by KSP.fr

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Euromax wins for Webb, Babington and Wooder

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102 finalists headed for the decisive races on the 1700m long Zuera in northern Spain, producing some breathtaking fights for victory. High temperatures and a stormy wind made for difficult conditions, turning the slipstream into an even more important factor. In the end Dave Wooder (Junior), Harry Webb (Senior), Sean Babington (DD2) and Martin Pierce (DD2 Masters) mastered the challenge and took the victories in Spain.

In the Junior prefinal pole sitter Dave Wooder (Dan Holland Racing) could maintain his lead only for a lap until he had to give way to local hero Marta Garcia (MGL Racing Xtreme) and Dean MacDonald (Strawberry Racing). These two showed a close fight on the top, switching the lead a few times. But towards the end Wooder recovered and had the best pace. He overtook one opponent after the other and regained the lead. But Garcia stayed in his slipstream and pushed really hard in the last lap. Finally Wooder defended the victory closely in front of the Spanish driver. McDonald could not keep his speed until the end and dropped back to fifth position, while Marcus Armstrong (Dan Holland Racing) and Darren Keane (Strawberry Racing) saw the chequered flag in third and fourth position.

The final was a walkover for Dave Wooder. After a perfect start he was able to pull away from the grid, enlarging his lead lap after lap. In the end he completed the double win easily. Marta Garcia had to be satisfied with second place but she had a remarkable race on home soil, which she underlined with the fastest lap time. Third place went to Dean MacDonald ahead of Richard Verschoor (Team TKP). Both of them gained important points in the championship table, as championship leader Thomas Preining (Team TKP) only managed 16th and 25th.

The prefinal for the Seniors was not as thrilling as expected: Pole sitter Harry Webb (Strawberry Racing) did not leave any doubt and celebrated a dominant start-finish win, which was never in danger. Even the second place for his teammate Guan Yu Zhou (Strawberry Racing) was a clear matter, as was the third place for Zack Claman Demelo (Intrepid Driver Program). Joseph Reilly (Strawberry Racing) did an impressive job. After a time penalty in the heats, he had to start the prefinal from tenth place. He caught up bravely during the ten laps and was rewarded with fourth place – just ahead of his championship rival Edward Brand (Intrepid Driver Program) in fifth position. But due to unfair driving Reilly was excluded after the race, which gave Brand another position while Lars Lamborelle (Strawberry Racing) completed the top five.

In the final Reilly cut his losses. Having started the race from last position, he finally managed a solid seventh place in the end. On top it was Webb again, who drove in a sphere of his own. No one was able to keep the pace of the former Junior world champion, who in the end crossed the finish line five seconds ahead of the rest of the grid, taking his fourth win in a row. As for the further podium positions Claman-Demelo, Zhou and Lamborelle showed a thrilling fight which reached his peak in the last lap: In a photo finish they crossed the line alongside and finally it was Zhou in second place ahead of Claman-Demelo, Lamborelle and Brand, who had closed the gap in the last metres.

The DD2 prefinal experienced a changing of the guard. Title defender and pole sitter Ben Cooper (KMS – Birel Motorsport) was not able to continue with his qualifying performance. Over the first laps he lost ground and struggled to hold his position. Finally he crossed the finish line fourth ahead of Anthony Abbasse (Sodi) and Ferenc Kancsar (KMS – Birel Motorsport), who found Cooper a hard nut to crack. But there were drivers who managed to pass the reigning champion: First and foremost it was Sean Babington (Strawberry Racing). The UK driver made a brilliant start and boosted himself to the top after only a few laps. During the remaining distance he was able to control the lead. With a gap of over a second Babington took his first win of the season. Behind him Jordon Lennox-Lamb (CRG SPA) and Andreas Backman (Strawberry Racing) were in good shape, securing second and third respectively in the end.

In the final race Babington, Lennox Lamb and Cooper formed a trio who set the pace throughout the race distance. They headed away from the rest of the grid easily and decided the result among themselves. Cooper especially was quick again and took the lead for a few laps. But Babington did not give up: After some tough wheel to wheel action Babington asserted himself in the lead and defended it bravely to the finish. Behind Babington, who secured his seasons best result, Cooper and Lennox Lamb completed the podium.

In the DD2 Masters classification Christophe Adams (Sonic Racing Kart) took the win in the prefinal ahead of Tamsin Germain (DG Racing) and Martin Pierce (Praga Racing Team). In the final Adams had to retire and give way to his opponents. So Martin Pierce won the race ahead of Tamsin Germain and Franck Rouxel (Sodi Shop).

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MAXSpeed takes over Florida Winter Tour

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MAXSpeed Group Takes Over Formula Kart Productions and Florida Winter Tour

Announced yesterday at the annual MAXSpeed Group sales meeting at the 2014 Cold Stone US Grand Nationals, Richard Boisclair and his team of employees and partners are pleased to announce that they have purchased Formula Kart Productions and the Florida Winter Tour.

MAXSpeed Group will take charge effective immediately and will begin preparations for the 2015 season with plans to continue both the Formula Kart and Rotax event weekends.

“Bill and I started to talk over a year ago and we both agreed that it was natural to do this,” explained Richard Boisclair. “I am so happy that we have accomplished this smooth transaction and we are very excited for the future growth of our young company.”

“Over the years I have received many offers to sell the FWT,” added Bill Wright. “I never found the right group or individual to keep the programs moving forward. I believe that the MAXSpeed owners and employees are the perfect group, with the right combination of passion and ability, to do that.”

Boisclair continued, “We want to continue the programs Bill has in place as we evolve and grow the sport. We believe that the back-to-back event weekends with separate series has been successful and we plan to continue those programs. We believe in growing karting as a whole.”

With the 2014 Cold Stone US Grand Nationals concluding on Sunday and Team USA being all but complete for the annual Rotax MAX Challenge Grand Finals, preparations for the Florida Winter Tour are already underway.

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