De Conto takes dramatic KZ2 win at Adria
Paolo De Conto lost the World Championship on the last lap in 2015 but for 2016’s opening race he redeemed himself by beating Rick Dreezen on the last lap.
- Camplese (Parolin) qualifies on pole
- Ardigo (Tonykart) recovers in the heats and wins his two
- Schmitz (KSM) wins the other heat but a retirement puts him 12th
- Ardigo dominates the wet Prefinal
- De Conto (CRG) wins the Final while Ardigo struggles with injury
The single qualifying session for KZ2 at Adria took place in good weather, even though the temperature had started to drop in the second part of the afternoon. The leaders changed several times while the lap times dropped continually.
The factory Parolin Racing Kart driver Lorenzo Camplese (Parolin / TM) succeeded with a lap of 47.598s ahead of Paolo De Conto (CRG / Maxter), entered by Renda Motorsport, and the KSM driver Alexander Schmitz (Tony Kart / Vortex). There was a good start for the young Marcus Armstrong (Tony Kart / Vortex) in 4th followed by Stan Pex (CRG / Vortex), with the top five being grouped in less than a tenth of a second.
Fast during the first free practice session in the morning, Alessandro Pelizzari (CKR / TM) took 6th position ahead of a stellar list of champions with Jonathan Thonon (Praga / Parilla) 7th, Jordon Lennox-Lamb (Birel ART / Parilla) 8th, Patrik Hajek (Kosmic / Vortex) 9th and Jorrit Pex (CRG / TM) 10th. Marco Ardigo (Tony Kart / Vortex) was a little faster than during free practice, but the potential was there.
Ardigo neck and neck with De Conto
Three qualifying heats, with the starting grid the finishing order of the previous one, were on the WSK Champions Cup programme at Adria for the 33 racing in KZ2. Schmitz won the first but lost his footing in the second, which saw Ardigo’s return to the front after Qualifying, and he also won the last heat and is the leader in the intermediate classification.
Consistent, De Conto made sure of the 2nd position ahead of the poleman Camplese, who was slower during racing. Hajek finished 4th in front of the excellent newcomer Leonardo Lorandi (Tony Kart / Vortex). The new Vortex engines for the Pex brothers proved increasingly on the pace and Stan took possession of 6th position, while Jorrit was only 15th. Also a rookie, Armstrong took 7th place despite a total of 29 points. After two convincing heats, Pelizzari lost out seriously by retiring in the 3rd race and found himself 14th.
On a slippery track, Ardigo took the lead from De Conto at the lights of the KZ2 Prefinal. Armstrong spun in the middle of the circuit and collected Thonon. Hajek took 3rd place from Camplese, soon followed by Stan Pex and Dreezen. Ardigo clearly distanced De Conto, himself well ahead of Dreezen and Pex who were battling. Camplese recovered the 6th position that he had had to yield to Schmitz. Dreezen passed Hajek with five laps to go and took 3rd place with a gain of eight positions. Ardigo won a largely unexciting race, ahead of De Conto. Hajek was 4th, Stan Pex 5th, Schmitz 6th and Jorrit Pex 7th with seven places gained.
Starting perfectly, Ardigo was immediately ahead of the KZ2 Final. The rain had stopped, but the Adria track remained slippery, especially off the racing line. De Conto quickly yielded to Schmitz, then Rick Dreezen (Ricciardo / Parilla). Coming from the back of the grid, Thonon didn’t hesitate to gain places. Stan Pex didn’t complete a lap. Dreezen took 2nd place on lap 7, but Ardigo was already close to 3s ahead. De Conto gained the strength to recover its position, and Hajek took the opportunity to sneak 3rd ahead of Dreezen but this just gave the leader more free rein. Meanwhile, Jorrit Pex and Lorandi fought for 7th place behind Lorenzo Camplese.
After the halfway point, the gap had appreciably tightened between Ardigo and De Conto. The Tony Kart driver was not having an easy time because of severe pain in the back and ribs since the start of the meeting. But he courageously defended and De Conto dropped to 4th in a tussle with Hajek. Dreezen was increasingly threatening towards the end and De Conto was soon to join the fight for the win. Ardigo had to settle for 3rd place, De Conto sneaked past again ahead of Dreezen and won the race on the last lap. Pex was 4th, Camplese 5th.
De Conto said:
“I am really happy, I redeemed the World Championship lost at the last lap. In Adria I gave my best in the final lap. When I was hit by Hajek I did not give up, I digged deep into my energies instead. In the end I was very quick, as I started with a fairly low tyres pressure and this helped my comeback. I was expecting Ardigò to lose some ground after his initial advantage, and that is what happened. I learned to be fast also on the wet and I am very happy about this. It has been a good satisfaction also for Antonio Renda’s team. Everything was great, starting from the set up of the CRG Road Rebel chassis to the preparation of the new Maxter MXS–2 engine: super!”
From original text by Kartcom, translated by Kartlink