Elkmann and Kout win Euro Superkarts but De Brabander challenges on debut
The first round of the CIK-FIA European Superkart Championship, 21st and 22nd May, was the headline of a friendly meeting dedicated to Karting at Lédenon (France). This hilly circuit delighted all of the crivers present, and the weather remained mild although with a strong wind on Sunday.
Three favourites were announced; the two protagonists who were so close to the title last year again demonstrated their current leadership, but the third man was not who we expected. The event allowed Yannick De Brabander to come to prominence, the Belgian rookie and experienced KZ driver, who was an assertive spoilsport. His major target is now to break the dominance of the duo in the discipline. It all started in Qualifying Practice, where he proved much faster in the first session. While Peter Elkmann (MS Kart / VM) had broken down, De Brabander (MS Kart / VM) posted a 78.536s lap, a provisional pole that nobody came near, not even Adam Kout ( MS Kart / DEA) or Alexandre Sebastia (Anderson / DEA), delighted to find excellent performance on his favourite circuit. This was ahead of Marcel Maasmann (Anderson / VM) and Emmanuel Vinuales (Anderson / VM) who was uncomfortable. The second session only allowed Peter Elkmann to record a time very near that of his usual Czech rival, but on the second row.
The first race was fast enough to settle. Elkmann got the better of De Brabander and Kout, and Sebastia followed suit their lead. Thierry Savard (PVP / FPE), who had surged initially, was stuck behind his compatriot. On next lap Maasmann overtook, but not Liam Morley (Anderson / DEA) who was running with them. Surprisingly, Emmanuel Vinuales was slowing and did not find a solution to his problems for the whole weekend. On lap 3, Sebastia retired when a simple hose clamp broke. The intensity of the Race was based on the struggle that decided the top three, who progressively pulled away from the pack. Morley too retired with a seized engine. The amazing De Brabander determinedly attacked Elkmann. The German responded. Kout waited in ambush until lap 13, but ceded some ground later. De Brabander attacked again, not letting go on the penultimate lap. Julien Goullancourt (Anderson / DEA), unhappy with his Qualifying time, came back to surprise Maasmann to take 4th for a moment. He managed to score a nice 5th place, despite a broken brake disc. Paul Platt (MS Kart / Gas Gas) consistently outpaced Gavin Bennett (Anderson / DEA) for the podium of the new single-cylinder Cup.
The podium for the first race, Elkmann, De Brabander and Kout, darted ahead of Race 2. They were ahead of Morley and Sebastia, who had taken Vinuales and Savard, again with a lightning start, then Vesa Lehtinen (Anderson / VM) and Dan Clark (Anderson / VM) solid in his first Race in a twin. After three laps, the triumvirate began to outrun Morley, Sebastia and Vinuales who themselves dropped the chasing group. The leading trio reiterated their performance from the first Race. Vinuales retired on lap 6. Maasmann had made a bad start but had begun a superb recovery, Goullancourt did similar after a delay, making his way through the pack. At the front, De Brabander led for a few laps, but Kout overtook. Despite multiple exchanges, Kout would definitely get the better of the surprising Belgian. Elkmann remained a spectator of this great duel and Sebastia overtook Morley to gain 4th place. Further back, the struggle between Maasmann, Goullancourt and Clark remained undecided until the chequered flag. There was a role reversal in single cylinder, where Bennett took the lead on Platt. Julian Davies (Anderson / THR) completed the podium, which was powered by three different brands.
Kout, Elkmann and Brabander leave on an equal footing, with respectively 41, 41 and 40 points each, before preparing for the very close Competition at Donington (GBR) on 4th and 5th June.