Easthope threatened by the French

Practically two months after it kicked off in Portugal, on the track of Braga, the U18 (under 18 years old) World Championship will have the second of its three meetings this weekend at Angerville, approximately 70 km from Paris.

Tremendously domineering in the opening event, Britain’s Henry Easthope (Sodi) is aware that he will have a hard job against opponents comprising in particular the Monegasque Charles Leclerc and the Frenchman Anthoine Hubert, two Drivers who will almost be at home. In the CIK-FIA Academy Trophy, the Briton George Russell will be keen on regaining the lead of a competition currently dominated by Finland’s Joonas Lappalainen.

A big Karting feast should be offered this weekend to the public at Angerville. Located in the south of Paris, the Circuit International Gabriel Thirouin had hosted a huge crowd in 2006 for the CIK-FIA World Championship. This time it is the young Drivers who will be in the limelight for what will be the second round of the season in the CIK-FIA U18 (under 18 years old) World Championship and Academy Trophy. Considerably helped by the local authorities and by the French Federation of Automobile Sport, the Organisers have laid on a first-rate show to turn this race into a really popular event because, in addition to the spectacle of the karts on the track, the visitors will be able to enjoy an aerobatics show, a flight of the French Patrol as well as demonstrations of historical karts, thus fittingly celebrating the CIK-FIA’s 50th anniversary.

On the track, the competition promises to be particularly fierce. In this U18 World Championship where all the Drivers dispose of an identical engine, supplied free of charge by FIM further to a lottery, the list of candidates to victory is particularly rich, which all the more enhances the performance of Britain’s Henry Easthope at Braga. There, the team Sodi Driver had got everything right, and so he will arrive in France with a comfortable lead. Against him, one can count on the Danes Martin Mortensen (FK), second in the intermediary classification, and especially on Charles Leclerc (ART GP) and Anthoine Hubert (FK). The Monegasque and the Frenchman have learnt all the ropes together in French national competitions and they will indeed feel at home in Angerville.

While the reigning Champion Matthew Graham (Zanardi) will try to make amends after a difficult Portuguese stage, it will be good to see again Joseph Mawson (Top Kart) at it as he was in a position to claim victory in Braga if he had not be obliged to retire from one of the two Prefinals. The Australian has thus managed to make the best of the U18 World Championship’s original formula, based on cost reduction and equal chances for everyone, by showing himself off to advantage right from his maiden race against the best European Drivers; he will therefore be determined to confirm this weekend. But there will be a particularly large number of competitors who will plan to win in front of the many spectators expected. If we can go by the results of Braga, Russia’s Georgy Antonov (MS Kart), Italy’s Marco Maestranzi (PCR), the Brit Ricky Collard (ART GP), the Finn Juho Valtanen (PCR) or the recently crowned European KF2 Champion Ben Barnicoat (ART GP), to name but a few, will also have their say.

Tipped as the great favourite of the CIK-FIA Academy Trophy, Britain’s George Russell had right away confirmed this status by landing the first Race in Braga. However, a mechanical issue when it came to taking the start of the second one prevented him from defending his chances. The double European KF3 (Juniors) Champion is therefore already in a chaser’s position. In the meantime, it is Finland’s Joonas Lappalainen who leads the Championship ahead of the Spaniard Javier Cobian and the Norwegian Martin Ellegard. The young French lady Adeline Prudent, impressive for her débuts at the international level, occupies a fine 5th place in the provisional classification and should undoubtedly be cheered by the public. Currently 7th behind the Australian James Abela, Erwan Julé will also be on home ground. In any case, since all the participants dispose of exactly the same equipment, placed at their disposal on a free basis by Parolin, the competition promises to be thrilling and the deciding factor should be the Driver’s talent.

As usual, participants will start their official timetable on Friday morning with a session of Edukart, the CIK-FIA’s exclusive education programme which comprises questions regarding the regulations, the history of Karting and of Motor Sport, as well as the anti-doping fight. They will then be able to enter the ring as from Friday afternoon for their first non-qualifying practice before competing on Saturday in the qualifying practice and heats. Drivers qualified for the final phase will then race on Sunday with the aim of collecting as many points as possible in the Championship, which will be concluded from 8 to 10 November in Bahrain.