De Conto is World KZ Champion!
Paolo De Conto has won his first World Championship in KZ at Kristianstad in Sweden after narrowly being denied the win on the last lap last year at Le Mans.
Paolo De Conto (CRG / TM) and Jorrit Pex (CRG / Vortex) were swapped the fastest time several times before the Italian finally took the lead with 49.069s, or 0.038s better than the Dutchman. Bas Lammers (Sodi / TM) set the 3rd fastest time tied with Lorenzo Camplese (Parolin / TM) and Jérémy Iglesias (Sodi / TM), who posted an excellent final lap. Marco Ardigo (Tony Kart / Vortex) came in 6th position, Flavio Camponeschi (CRG / Parilla) 7th, Ben Hanley (Croc Promotions / TM) 8th, Davide Fore (Righetti / TM) 9th and Patrik Hajek (Kosmic / Vortex) 10th. There was slight disappointment for the two very fast Frenchmen in the last free practice, Anthony Abbasse (Sodi / TM) 11th and Arnaud Kozlinski (CRG / TM) 12th.
De Conto clearly dominated both heats in KZ with two consecutive victories. Ardigo, with 3rd and 2nd was in 2nd overall position in front of Camplese who had two good races. Lammers was lying in wait in 4th, while Hanley moved up to 5th. Iglesias had to contend with a slower engine, and was in 9th place. Abbasse and Kozlinski had an incident in the second heat. Abbasse lost less time, but still found himself 12th while Koko was ranked 18th. Consistent and faster than in Qualifying, Rubens Barrichello (Birel ART / Parilla) moved up to 24th.
The weather was partly cloudy, but no rain disturbed the Prefinal of the World KZ Championship at Kristianstad. Ardigo made a better start than De Conto and took the lead, while Camplese was on the pace in 3rd position ahead of Lammers and Fore after Hanley dropped to 10th. The top four were neck and neck, Iglesias took 5th ahead of Flavio Camponeschi (CRG / Parilla). De Conto attacked Ardigo on lap 5, Lammers took 3rd with Fore in his wake while Camplese dropped back down to 5th. There was a great recovery for Leonardo Lorandi (Tony Kart / Vortex) in 8th position.
The leading three drivers outpaced their rivals while moving away somewhat from each other. Slightly faster, Lammers was incisive and Ardigo joined after halfway. The top three didn’t change until the finish which greeted the implacable victory by De Conto, 1.29s ahead of Ardigo and Lammers. Fore was 4th, Camplese 5th, Lorandi 6th, Hanley 7th, Abbasse 8th after gaining four places, Iglesias 9th and Simo Puhakka (CRG / TM) 10th.
Ardigo again executed a great start which immediately gave him the lead in the Final of the World KZ Championship. The battle raged directly behind him. Camplese attacked De Conto, Abbasse, also with good start, passed Fore to take 4th position. He didn’t stop there and grabbed 3rd position from De Conto. In 6th position, Lammers completed the top group while Kozlinski was up to 7th.
Abbasse then proceeded to attack Camplese who also had to pass De Conto. Lammers took 5th. On lap 7, Ardigo was 0.382s ahead of Abbasse. Fore retired after a spin during the battle on the last corner of the circuit and Kozlinski then took 5th position.
Abbasse made a superb overtake Ardigo on lap 11 and took control of the race. De Conto also passed the Tony Kart driver, while Lammers joined the leading trio.
Abbasse fought to resist the return of De Conto, less than three tenths behind. Paolo attacked on the 17th of 25 laps, Anthony had no option but to let him take the lead. De Conto emphasised his point by posting the fastest time, a tenth faster than Abbasse. The race finished in that order. Paolo De Conto, with the fastest lap, won the 2016 World Championship in KZ ahead of Anthony Abbasse and Marco Ardigo. Lammers finished 4th, Puhakka reached 5th position ahead of Kozlinski, Camplese finished 7th ahead of Iglesias, Stan Pex (CRG / Vortex) and Guust Specken (Gillard / Vortex).