De Conto wins the race and Dreezen the championship in KZ at Kristianstad
Hajek on pole
Rick Dreezen (Zanardi / Parilla) opened the battle in the first qualifying session for the European KZ Championship at Kristianstad with a lap of 52.255s, Jonathan Thonon (Praga / Parilla) responded with 51.937s and then Patrik Hajek ( Praga / Parilla) took control in 51.598s. Dreezen returned to the pits before the end of the session and hierarchy would no longer change. Hajek improved with a final lap of 51.524s, followed by Thonon with 51.672s, Jordon Lennox-Lamb (CRG / Maxter) 0.3s behind, then Henri Kokko (CRG / Parilla), Emil Antonsen (DR / TM) and Dreezen 6th.
It was not until 4’30 into the second session that a driver went below 52s, Jorrit Pex (CRG / TM) who was soon joined by Ben Hanley (ART GP / TM). Then Bas Lammers – 51.764s – and Marco Ardigo (Tony Kart / Vortex) took the advantage, Pex reacted with 51.729s and was no longer challenged. Paolo De Conto (Birel / TM) was fourth and Hanley fifth.
Overall, Hajek retained pole position ahead of Thonon:
1 P. Hajek 51.524s
2 J. Thonon 51.672s
3 J. Pex 51.729s
4 B. Lammers 51.764s
5 M. Ardigo 51.797s
6 J. Lennox-Lamb 51.825s
7 P. De Conto 51.888s
8 B. Hanley 51.945s
Thonon wins duel with Lammers in first heat
The first race to take place on a new circuit is always instructive. This was the case at Kristianstad for the first qualifying heat in KZ. There have been great battles, passing is difficult but possible in several places, and there are relatively small differences between the competitors. Finally a track that seems to suit the powerful KZ karts.
Hajek didn’t make a great start, Thonon and Lammers got ahead of him at the lights. Lammers then put pressure on Thonon and took control from the 2nd lap. Meanwhile Ardigo and Pex were engaged in a tough battle for 4th place. Thonon gradually closed on Lammers from the 6th lap. The Belgian took the lead on lap 10 and won the race. Lammers retained second position from Hajek. Pex finished fourth, with Ardigo having retired at halfway, as did Flavio Camponeschi (Tony Kart / Vortex) earlier. Lennox-Lamb took 5th place with the fastest lap from De Conto, Hanley 7th, Dreezen 8th, Davide Fore (CRG / Maxter) 9th and Kokko 10th. On his first appearance in KZ, Callum Ilott (Zanardi / Parilla) was ranked 14th.
Thonon wins the second KZ heat
This time, Hajek didn’t let himself be surprised by Thonon at the lights, but the Belgian still managed to take the lead of the second KZ heat from the 3rd lap. Lammers joined them, and the trio were quickly joined by the pack led by Lennox-Lamb who got the better of Pex. Lammers then gave way to the two CRGs. Hanley and Dreezen were back to 5th place after halfway. They attacked Lammers but their duel benefited the Dutch driver who overtook both on the last lap. Thonon took his second victory of the meeting ahead of Hajek who resisted Lennox-Lamb, who had the fastest lap. Pex finished 4th ahead of Lammers.
Ardigo returns to form in the third heat
Hajek made a great start ahead of Lammers, Pex, and Ardigo. In 5th on the 1st lap, Thonon overtook first Ardigo then Pex who dropped to 7th in the manoeuvre. Ardigo took the opportunity to return to third while Lammers took the lead. Ardigo was the fastest on the track at that point. He attacked Hajek and closed on Lammers. De Conto and Pex retired. Ardigo found the opening on Lammers on lap 9. Lennox-Lamb set the fastest lap for the third consecutive time, and overtook Thonon to gain 4th place, while Ardigo won the race ahead of Lammers and Hajek.
In the intermediate classification, Thonon keeps the lead ahead of Hajek and Lammers, Lennox-Lamb is 4th, Fore 5th, Dreezen 6th, Pex 7th and Hanley 8th.
Hajek gets the win in the prefinal
Hajek flew at the lights, Lammers attacked Thonon immediately who found himself 5th behind Fore and Lennox-Lamb on the first lap on the timing screen. Dreezen took 5th position from the second lap, Ardigo was 9th, De Conto 11th. The top three of Hajek, Lammers and Fore built up gaps of around half a second. Ardigo quickly returned to 7th from Hanley and Pex and Fore was then joined by Lennox-Lamb, and Dreezen then Ardigo passed Thonon in 6th. Dreezen attacked Lennox-Lamb on lap 6 and Ardigo on the next lap.
At halfway led Hajek led Lammers by a second, in 3rd Dreezen was also a second away. Lap 10: Fore and Ardigo crashed and restarted in 9th and 23rd. De Conto was 4th ahead of Lennox-Lamb, Hanley and Pex. It was a difficult race for Thonon who couldn’t defend his chances as well as he should have been able to, probably because of a technical problem. Dreezen took 2nd place on lap 13 at the expense of Lammers.
It was a flawless victory for Hajek, with Dreezen 2nd, Lammers 3rd, De Conto 4th, Lennox-Lamb 5th, Hanley 6th, Ardigo 7th and Pex 8th.
De Conto dominates the KZ final, Dreezen takes the title
Strategy would have an influence in the KZ final, decisive for the title of European Champion in 2014. Dreezen led quite comfortably ahead of Ardigo, Thonon, Lennox-Lamb and Lammers. Hajek on pole and De Conto on the second row were too far back in the standings to take the title.
Hajek was the quickest to start ahead of De Conto, Dreezen, Lammers, Pex, Hanley and Ardigo. On lap 2, De Conto took the lead, followed by Dreezen. Lammers, and Hajek threatening with the fastest time. Ardigo was looking to find an opening on Hanley as the lead group took off. Lennox-Lamb was 9th and Thonon 13th. Sometimes giving off a bit of white smoke, De Conto was widening the gap with his rivals. Lammers was down a bit and Pex not far off, but for now, nothing changed.
De Conto set the fastest lap with a more than 3s lead on Dreezen and Hajek. On lap 15, Pex attacked and passed Lammers for 4th position. Hanley, Ardigo and Mirko Torsellini (ART GP / TM) were close to the 5th position of the Dutch driver, and Thonon was outside the top 10. On lap 21, Ardigo yielded to Torsellini and Flavio Camponeschi (Tony Kart / Vortex), while Hajek managed to pass Dreezen. Fore retired, and so did Ardigo within a lap from the end.
De Conto won with insolent ease, 3.2s in front of Hajek, with Dreezen 3rd and European Champion, Pex 4th and Lammers 5th. In 10th position, Thonon finished 2nd in the Championship.
- R. Dreezen 58
- J. Thonon 48
- M. Ardigo 43
- B. Lammers 43
- J. Lennox-Lamb 40
- J. Pex 38
- P. De Conto 35
- P. Hajek 29