Hiltbrand beats Joyner and Basz to European OK Championship
Bent Viscaal (Tony Kart / Vortex) managed to stay ahead of Karol Basz (Kosmic / Vortex) with 51.732s in the first OK qualifying session, while Lorenzo Travisanutto (Tony Kart / Vortex) took 3rd place ahead of Alexander Smolyar (Tony Kart / Vortex) and Christian Lundgaard (Ricciardo / Parilla).
Hannes Janker (CRG / Parilla) was ahead in the second session with 51.631s despite the performance by Marta Garcia (Evokart / Parilla), then Logan Sargeant (FA Kart / Vortex) took 3rd place ahead of Clement Novalak (Tony Kart / Vortex) and Pedro Hiltbrand (CRG / Parilla).
Janker will start from pole against Garcia and Sargeant, Viscaal ranks 4th in front of Basz and Novalak, with Hiltbrand 7th and Joyner 13th.
Three qualifying races for three groups, two races per driver, were on the agenda for the European meeting at Genk on Saturday. The weather brightened up at the same time as the heat increased.
The poleman Janker retained the lead of the class with two flawless victories, while Basz won the other. Novalak, however, came back to 2nd position ahead of Hiltbrand, 3rd level on points in front of Garcia and Travisanutto. Part of the title race, Basz was only in 7th place and Tom Joyner (Zanardi / TM) 11th, for now giving Hiltbrand a small advantage. The task was complicated seriously for Sargeant in 16th after a retirement.
Hiltbrand took the lead early in Prefinal 1 from Janker, while Travisanutto remained 3rd ahead of Jean-Baptiste Simmenauer (Tony Kart / Vortex). Joyner moved up to 5th after a brief skirmish with Basz who dropped to 7th behind Guido Moggia (Tony Kart / Vortex) who was in his first race in OK. Joyner and Moggia gained places by passing Simmenauer. Hiltbrand got away ahead of Janker, himself well detached from Travisanutto. Joyner then passed the Italian at the halfway point for 3rd. Janker encountered a mechanical problem two laps from the finish. Hiltbrand won by more than 5s ahead of Joyner. Basz retired following an engine problem on the last lap and did not qualify. Moggia finished 3rd, Noah Milell (Kosmic / Vortex) 4th, Travisanutto 5th and Simmenauer 6th.
Prefinal 2 opened with the trio of Novalak, Viscaal and Lundgaard at the front, but Viscaal soon dropped to 5th, with Smolyar taking 3rd place in front of Luca Lippkau (CRG / Parilla). Garcia lost a lot of places in the early laps dropping to 13th. Paavo Tonteri (CRG / Parilla) retired after three laps. In 5th position, Sargeant pushed to join the top four. Lippkau then passed Smolyar for 3rd place while Novalak gradually pulled away at the front of the race. He won by two seconds ahead of a quartet that hadn’t changed: Lundgaard 2nd, Lippkau 3rd, Smolyar 4th and Sargeant 5th.
Drops of rain begin to fall on Genk at the start of the OK Final. This would not disturb Hiltbrand, the leader by more than a second ahead of Joyner on the first lap. Lundgaard was 3rd, Smolyar 4th, Novalak 5th. Joyner was approaching Hiltbrand rapidly on subsequent laps. Both drivers were fighting for victory and the European title. Lundgaard dropped back and eventually gave up. The sun was returning over the circuit. Smolyar and Novalak, 3rd and 4th, also reduced the gap to the first two.
Novalak first attacked Smolyar on lap 11, then the following lap Joyner, imitated by Smolyar. Viscaal had risen to 5th from Travisanutto and Simmenauer was 7th. Unbridled, Novalak joined Hiltbrand and overtook on lap 15 to take command of the race. Simmenauer climbed into 5th position ahead of Janker. Novalak won in fine style in front of Hiltbrand who won the European title. Smolyar was 3rd, Joyner 4th and 2nd in the championship. Janker finally took 5th position ahead of Simmenauer.