15.10.13

Undecided epilogue

At Le Mans the epilogue of the European Superkart Championship will run from 25th to 27th October 2013, after an exceptionally long season of four events as in 2012.

At Le Mans the epilogue of the European Superkart Championship will run from 25th to 27th October 2013, after an exceptionally long season of four events as in 2012. That year, the title was open until the final round between two opponents, Lee Harpham and Marcel Maasmann who were both in the same team (Redspeed). As with that tight duel, it has been an outstanding and intense year. The outcome is more uncertain for the two protagonists in 2013, Gavin Bennett and Emmanuel Vinuales have been in direct competition throughout the previous rounds and by all indications take on the final round on an equal footing: on virtually the same points with 115 points against 113, three wins each, alternating domination and using equipment of the same make (Anderson / DEA). Both drivers have won the title, three times for the British driver (2007-2009 & 2010) and the French driver once in 2011. Beyond the numbers, they both show heightened motivation and each team has prepared carefully, even sacrificing national races to get to the top of the European Championship. They are both comfortable at the venue, each having already shone on the Bugatti track.

Because of the number of events listed, the competitors have to count two results. The favourites have dropped a score, which reinforces the supposed equality. Among the plausible scenarios, the points for the podium positions could separate the two competitors, the Englishman was twice second to the French driver, while the latter has only been in 3rd place when his opponent has won! This detail may be decisive and there will be pressure right from the qualifying, despite the mutual respect of the two rivals. If Bennett wins the first race, the title will fall in his favour, but Vinuales intends to stop him with his current speed. Indeed, he smashed the lap record last year, and achieved a stunning time of 1'34'' 824 at the last race at Magny-Cours.

 There is nothing to prevent a third driver from interfering between them, especially as third place overall is far from being decided. Among those who have the skill to challenge, Adam Kout will be a serious candidate. On the MS Kart that he knows well, he has almost all the advantages. His lack of consistency on the track during recent seasons was due to a problem with the engine, but since he has a DEA engine, he is expected to fight at the front, even if he uses the old engine of Peter Elkmann's that is thought to be less reliable. Henrik Lilja, the official driver from PVP, should be able to get up there too, as he was already third in 2012, and has always been able to join in the fight for the podium at Le Mans, also used at one of the races last year. Lee Harpham, the defending champion is fast and usually makes a "lightning" start. Particularly at Assen he has had minor setbacks and a season that has not quite lived up to his expectations. Daniel Hentschel is further back after a delay at the first round, and is at odds with the chassis that he has not yet mastered. Liam Morley is improving fast, he still lacks reliability and experience, but is surging.

 Other points to note for this final international event: the number of French drivers entered, the test is also the French Championship. The young driver Morgan Valverde, who participated in the French and European Championship until 2009 when he gave up to pursue his studies. He will be equipped with the new VM engine previously only run by Danny Bleek. Emotions will also be high with the participation of Poul V. Petersen, double World Champion (1985 -1988) and Europe (1979 -1985) who is the manufacturer of the eponymous PVP chassis and engine. Injured at Hockenheim in 2012, he had not taken the wheel since and racing at Le Mans is a great opportunity to "bow out", at least as a driver, after so much panache in his racing career.

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