EKN Exclusive: SKUSA SuperNationals XVII – Preview Program – KZ2
Top shifterkart pilots from around the world to battle for $10,000 in Vegas
eKartingNews.com, the official online media partner of Superkarts! USA, is proud to present the SKUSA SuperNationals XVII Preview Program. Over the coming days leading up to the November 20-24 event, EKN will preview each of the 11 categories that will close out the 2013 SKUSA Pro Tour while competing for a share of the prize package, worth well over $100,000.
For complete coverage of the SKUSA SuperNationals XVII, visit the EKN Event Page
Since its inception, the SKUSA SuperNationals has attracted the best of the best, particularly from the shifterkart ranks. Over the years, a ‘who’s who’ of karting have risen to the challenge battling for top honors in the headline class. That trend will continue in KZ2 at the 17th edition of the world-renowned event, with a highly-skilled group of international drivers making the journey to Las Vegas – despite multiple factory squads missing the race due to a CIK conflict – and a talented group of North Americans keen to return the feature race trophy to home soil. If you are a karting fan, the KZ2 final is going to be a race you don’t want to miss!
Last year, the closing race of the SuperNationals featured plenty of drama…and side-by-side racing, as the talented KZ2 pilots battled for the $10,000 winner’s prize. Going into the finale, second-generation racer Max Verstappen was the driver to beat, thanks to some impressive runs in the Heats. It was not to be, however, as the racing gods showed how fickle they can be, ending his chances at a win with an early mechanical failure. This promptly thrust two-time winner Marco Ardigo, front-runner Patrik Hajek, former winner Bas Lammers, and defending champion Anthony Abbasse into the limelight. Showcasing the talent regularly on display in the class, Ardigo ultimately held off a hard charging Abbasse for his third career SuperNats win. Hajek completed the top-three, leading Lammers and Jorrit Pex to the checkered flag. While Ardigo won’t be back to defend his 2012 win, the return of Abbasse, Hajek, and Lammers ensures the grid this time around is stacked right from the get go.
Podium Predictions: Davide Foré is one of those names in karting that immediately draws attention and respect. The Italian is a force to be reckoned with every time he gets behind the wheel. While the CRG racer has yet to take home top honors in Las Vegas, having previously taken part in the SuperNationals three times, the five-time world champion has shown the pace to win on the temporary course. Foré most recently finished second in the WSK Final Cup, won a WSK Euro Series race, and secured two top-10 finishes in the CIK-FIA European KZ Championship.
As a former SuperNats headline winner, Abbasse certainly knows what it takes with regards to effort, skill, and speed necessary to end ‘SuperSunday’ on the top of the podium. This past season the French racer has continued to showcase his pace and talent in Europe, securing multiple top-10 finishes in the CIK-FIA European KZ Championship and WSK Euro Series.
Lammers is yet another European making the journey across ‘the pond’ poised to be in the fight for top honors. The skilled Dutch racer has not only previously visited victory lane at the SuperNats, but he has also enjoyed a strong European campaign this past season. The Intrepid racer stood on the podium in the CIK-FIA European KZ Championship and WSK Euro Series, and he recently finished sixth at the CIK-FIA World Championship.
If history is any indication, Hajek will be part of the mix throughout the weekend in Las Vegas. Like many of his European counterparts, the Praga pilot has both solid previous experience at the SuperNationals to draw upon. That being said, it is Hajek’s run this past season – a WSK Master Series win and podium finishes in the CIK-FIA European KZ Championship and WSK Euro Series – that has people keeping an eye on the Czech.
Belgian Jonathon Thonon won the 2008 edition of the SuperNationals when it made its return to the Rio. Missing out in last year’s event to work as a driver coach, Thonon has reloaded after joining the Praga factory team to close out 2013 and for the entire 2014 season. Going head-to-head against many of the early race favorites this past season, Thonon emerged with multiple podium finishes in the CIK-FIA European KZ Championship and WSK Euro Series.
Wildcards: As expected, the depth of quality amongst the KZ2 field means one or two racers may cause a surprise. Birel driver Paolo de Conto travels to the Rio Hotel & Casino having impressed in Europe this past season, winning in the WSK Masters Series and standing on the podium in the WSK Euro Series. Americans Gary Carlton (TB Kart) and Fritz Leesmann (CRG) are focused on returning the SuperNationals crown back to home soil, with Carlton having taken the top honors in 2006, and Leesmann currently leading the way in S1 SKUSA Pro Tour standings via multiple wins. Canadian Philip Orcic (CRG) meanwhile has a strong debut season of CIK-FIA European and WSK action to draw on, which he believes will help him in his quest for the win. Last but not least, Belgian Xen De Ruwe (CRG) brings a potent Rotax resume to the table.
Karting Cameo: Being the top shifter class, KZ2 often attracts former karters looking to have some fun and further showcase their talents. In 2013, it will be a second-generation South American who has been plying his trade in North America seeking to make his mark. Nelson Piquet Jr., who has gotten behind the wheel of a kart multiple times over the past few years – including an appearance at the 2009 SuperNationals – enters the event having most recently be fighting for podium positions in the NASCAR Nationwide Series.
3,Morgan Weber,PSL Karting,CRG,Maxter,FRA
4,Xen De Ruwe,PSL Karting,CRG,Maxter,BEL
7,Martin Doubeck,ART GP America,ART GP,TM,CZE
13,Nico Fattore,GP Canada / Innisfil Indy,GP,TM,CAN
14,Kristijan Habulin,TB Kart SRL,TB Kart,Modena,HRV
15,Lorenzo Camplese,Intrepid Driver Program,Intrepid,IAME,ITA
22,Jason Faint,Energy Corse America,Energy,TM,AUS
33,Remy Perrigault,DRT Racing,DR,TM,FRA
37,Paolo de Conto,Birel Motorsport,Birel,TM,ITA
44,Anthony Abbasse,SodiKart USA / Dallas Karting Complex,SodiKart,TM,FRA
50,Gary Carlton,TB Kart SRL,TB Kart,Modena,USA
54,Massimo Panari,TB Kart SRL,TB Kart,Modena,ITA
55,Simone Brenna,TB Kart SRL,TB Kart,Modena,ITA
60,Bas Lammers,Intrepid Driver Program,Intrepid,TM,NED
64,Adam Hughes,Energy Corse America,Energy,IAME,AUS
65,Nelson Learn,GP Canada / Innisfil Indy,GP,TM,CAN
66,Zach Meyer,GP Canada / Innisfil Indy,GP,TM,CAN
75a,Kel Treseder,JT Motorsport,Energy,TM,AUS
92,Ricky Capo,Praga North America,Praga,Maxter,AUS
97,Carlos Munoz,Praga North America,Praga,IAME,COL
99,Cameron Hill,Team Energy,Energy,TM,AUS
113f,Juan Maldonado,Phil Giebler Racing,FA Kart,Vortex,COL
120,Patrick Hajek,Praga North America,Praga,IAME,CZE
127,Juan Alzate,Praga North America,Praga,IAME,COL
141b,Lloyd Mack Jr.,AMV Italy / MRC,AMV,Modena,USA
161y,Fritz Leesmann,PSL CRG / Diede Racing,CRG,Maxter,USA
169,Jonathon Thonon,Praga North America,Praga,IAME,BEL
197,Juan Acosta,Praga North America,Praga,IAME,COL
308,John Baldasare,Ron White Racing,CRG,Maxter,USA
333,Nelson Piquet,,Tony Kart,TM,BRA
477,Arron Attard,GP Canada / Innisfil Indy,GP,TM,CAN