The tension is mountingThe last round of the CIK-FIA U18 World Championship will not only be the first ever in the Middle East but also the first to be run at night.
Several Drivers can still dream of shining beneath the floodlights and there will be the greatest suspense during the various Races to be watched live on www.cikfia.tv.
Immersed in light, there was a festive atmosphere at the Viva Karting Track in Bahrain on Friday. A few hours after Qualifying, in bright sunshine, which saw the Russian Seva Gagen (Parolin) clock the fastest time, Drivers took part under the night sky in their four Qualifying Heats to determine the starting grid for the first Prefinal. The uncompromising Matthew Graham (Zanardi) reminded everyone that it was not by chance that he was the U18 World Champion last year. Winner of all his Qualifying Heats, in the intermediate classification the Briton led the Australian Joseph Mawson (Top Kart), who won two of his Heats.
The best performance however was by the Frenchman Anthoine Hubert (FK), 3rd in the intermediate classification. Having arrived in Bahrain as the heir apparent in the Championship to Henry Easthope (Sodi), Anthoine benefited from the first points allocation to take the lead from his British rival, 6th at the end of the Qualifying Heats. But just one point separates the two men and everything will depend therefore on what happens in the Final!
In 4th and 5th places, the Briton Sam Webster (ART GP) and the Italian Federico Savona (Top Kart) split the two competition leaders. Behind Easthope were the Briton Ben Barnicoat (ART GP) and the two other contenders for the world title, the Monegasque Charles Leclerc (ART GP) and the Briton Ricky Collard (ART GP). The Russian Dmitry Dlougy (MS Kart) completed the Top 10 whilst his compatriot Seva Gagen was unable to repeat his fastest time in Practice and fell back to 22nd place after failing to finish one Heat. But he is still among the 34 finalists.
On a track favouring overtaking manoeuvres, the order will be decided in the two Prefinals, the second from a completed reversed starting grid. And it is the combined result of the two Prefinals which will determine the starting grid for a Final which promised to be as exciting as anyone could imagine. Indeed it will be nothing less than a world title which will be won at the end of 22 laps!
On Saturday, the final phases will be broadcast live from 18.00 (16.00 Central European Time) on www.cikfia.tv. Don’t miss them!