Birel ART Competitive at the WSK Champions Cup
At the first meeting of the season, Birel ART Racing proved its competitiveness by being a front runner in all classes.
There was a great debut with the team for Martijn van Leeuwen in the OK class. Starting from halfway down the grid in both races on Saturday, due to a technical problem in qualifying, Van Leeuwen recorded some very quick lap times in the race that allowed him to finish in ninth and seventh places. Martijn was also competitive in the rain, both in the Pre-final -taking the chequered flag in fourth place – and the Final, in which, despite getting off to a poor start from eleventh on the grid, the Dutchman used his all his skill and overtook several competitors, to finish seventh.
Lucas Légeret also had a positive debut. Despite having to retire from the Final after an incident, Lucas proved to be very fast. In the rain in the Pre-final, the Swiss driver battled for a top 8 position, until he had to pull out with three laps remaining. When the track was dry, however, Lucas was consistently among the fastest drivers, managing to finish among the top 12 in both heats.
Ulysse De Pauw starred in all the sessions in the OKJ class. Indeed, De Pauw recorded the second fastest time in qualifying, scored three wins and a second place in the heats on a dry track and finished the Pre-final under the rain in second place. In the Final, Ulysse made contact with other drivers, which saw him drip down to eleventh.
Caio Collet had an unlucky final. Because of a collision on the opening lap, the Brazilian had to settle for 23rd place, unable to capitalise on his earlier performance. Indeed, in the rain Collet finished eighth in the Pre-final and was also second fastest in the warm-up. On a dry track, Caio managed two fourths, a fifth and a sixth place in the heats.
Jordon Lennox-Lamb had to retire in the KZ2 class. The Briton was forced to retire with a technical problem following contact with another competitor. On a dry track in the heats, the Englishman was always a front runner, finishing third, second (subsequently relegated due to a jump start) and a tenth place, despite starting from the back of the grid.
Gianluca Beggio, General Manager: “I’m satisfied with the season’s first weekend because we were competitive in all the sessions. Unfortunately, the rain on Sunday changed the status quo and affected the final results. Van Leeuwen’s debut seventh place in the OK class is very positive as he proved to be very fast during the race and, had he managed a better start, could have fought for a place on the podium. Légeret also had a great debut and very fast both in the dry and the wet: accidents in the final stage prevented him from fighting with the best.
De Pauw was really fast in the dry in the OKJ class and, had it not rained on Sunday, he could have repeated his exploits in the final stage. Caio Collet was also competitive: the contact on the first lap in the Final that saw him lose more than 30 seconds was disappointing. He also showed his professionalism with the engineers and mechanics. Lastly, Lennox’s result in the KZ2 class was negatively affected by the rain.”
Martijn van Leeuwen #215: “This first race with Birel ART was relatively positive. Everything was new, but we were fast all weekend, both on a dry track in heats, as well as in the wet and in the Pre-Final and Final. I can’t wait to get back on the track in the next race. I am confident for the rest of the season.”
Lucas Légeret #216: “The qualifiers did not go well, because I made a mistake on my lap. During the heats, I got the start wrong twice and was awarded a penalty. In the Final, somebody collided with me and I was unable to continue. Overall, I learned a lot in this new class, so I can prepare myself properly for the coming races. It’s a very high level and a mistake can cost you a lot of places. The coming races will be better.”
Ulysse De Pauw #331: “The equipment was super and we worked very well, but I was unlucky in the Final. I was shoved onto the grass and lost a lot of time. However, we proved our consistency and competitiveness.”
Caio Collet #330: “The opening weekend with Birel ART Racing was very productive. We worked hard on the balance and development of the kart: every time we went out onto the track we managed to improve. Unfortunately, someone made contact with the rear of my kart in the Final, which caused me to spin. I got going again, but the group had forged ahead and I was unable to fight for the top places. Nevertheless, I’m happy with our competitiveness, although we need to continue working to achieve good results. I am very optimistic for the rest of the season.”
Jordon Lennox-Lamb #4: “We were very fast all week, especially on Thursday, when the track had a lot of grip. Unfortunately, the track became more slippery on Friday due to the cooler temperature and this stopped us from recording a better time in qualifying. Thanks to some very quick times in the first heat I was able to climb up to third place. Then a penalty for a jump start in the second heat saw me relegated to twenty-second place. Despite starting at the back, I was able to climb up to tenth place in the third heat and start in ninth place on the grid in the Pre-final. Unfortunately, the rain on Sunday upset the status quo that had been evident since the first practice sessions and we were unable to finish in the positions that we deserved.
The weekend was very positive compared to last year. The work done by the Team and the motorsport department was rewarded in terms of competitiveness, not just in the KZ2 class, but also in the OK and OKJ classes. We are very competitive and hope to achieve some excellent results starting with the next race.”
Next meeting: Winter Cup – Lonato (Italy), 19 – 21 February 2016