Will the weather have the last word?Competitors in the U18 (under 18 years old) World Championship and the CIK-FIA Academy Trophy have taken their places at the Gabriel Thirouin International Circuit near Angerville. On the agenda as the season gets under way once more were technical and sporting checks, the Edukart session and the first non-qualifying practice, beneath a very changeable sky …
Will the weather play a major role in the second round of the U18 World Championship this weekend in Angerville? Yes, if today, Friday is anything to go by. The morning sun gradually made way for cloud and even some heavy rain by the end of the day, and that gave competitors a chance to discover or to rediscover the French track under all conditions.
“I’ve raced here before,” explained the Briton Henry Easthope (Sodi), currently leader of the World Championship. “That was in the French KF3 Championship. I also had an opportunity to come here for testing three weeks ago. But it’s incredible to see how fast Anthoine is here!”
Third in the first round in Portugal, Anthoine Hubert (FK) will be setting the benchmark for many. “It’s true that I’m somewhat at home here,” smiles the Frenchman, third in the U18 World Championship last year. “I live in Chartres, just 40 minutes away, so I can sleep in my own bed at night! This was one of the first tracks I raced on and it’s true that I know it quite well. Last year, I won the French round of the Championship at Essay, and naturally I’d love to do the same this time, in front of my family and my supporters.”
Fastest in free practice, Anthoine will therefore be the man to beat in Qualifying, scheduled for Saturday morning. In the CIK-FIA Academy Trophy, which will also be running its second round at Angerville, the favourites have also emerged at the front, like the Finn Joonas Lappalainen and the Briton George Russell, although the best time of the afternoon was posted by the Finn Alec Weckstrom.
As tradition would have it, Friday was also the day for the Edukart quiz, the education package created by the CIK-FIA for young drivers in the U18 World Championship and the Academy Trophy. In the U18 competition, the Finns Ville Mäntylä and Tuomas Tujula were the two fastest to answer 25 questions correctly. So whatever happens they will be on the podium this weekend, as will the Russian Dmitry Dlougy. Among competitors for the Academy Trophy, the Briton Alex Gill was the fastest to give 25 correct answers, ahead of his compatriot George Russell. The Slovenian Mitja Cebulj will join them on the podium.
After a good night’s sleep, the Drivers will feel the pressure increase a notch or two on Saturday morning, with Qualifying Practice and then all the Qualifying Heats. The primary objective for all the title hopefuls will be to take their places among the Finalists for the races on Sunday!