FIA Karting European Championship: Crowns for Ippolito in KZ and Leuillet in KZ2 in Cremona
The FIA Karting event in Cremona (ITA) ended with exciting Finals on Sunday 19th June in temperatures as high as the previous days, around 35° with the consequence of a strong deposit of rubber on the trajectory. Three great winners were rewarded on the podiums, starting with Tom Leuillet (FRA) in KZ2 who also won the European title, then Senna van Walstijn (NLD) in KZ while Paolo Ippolito (ITA) was crowned Champion. Finally, Matias Orjuela (COL) dominated the Final of the Academy Trophy and Guillaume Bouzar (LUX) took first place in the provisional ranking.
The Italian circuit of Cremona made a remarkable debut on the FIA Karting calendar. Its high selectivity was reinforced by the temperatures that accompanied the whole race weekend to the point that the Super Heats had to be cancelled to allow the KZ and KZ2 competitors to have enough tyres for the safety of all the Qualifying Heats. The contrast with the first race held in Genk (BEL) a month earlier on a much less sticky track was striking and the hierarchy was sometimes upset. Tom Leuillet managed to be equally competitive on both tracks. His domination and his two victories in KZ2 make him a great European Champion. In KZ, Paolo Ippolito also showed an excellent level of performance on these different terrains and his two second places enabled him to obtain a well-deserved European title, especially as he was the only top driver to use an IAME engine in the category. It was under the name of Parilla that an engine from the IAME factory had won its last European KZ Championship in 2014 with Rick Dreezen.
Tom Leuillet at the top of his game in KZ2
The young French driver is having an incredible 2022 season. After a serious accident last year in Lonato, he has more than regained his previous standard. Still as fast as ever, but now a better strategist, Tom Leuillet (FRA – Birel ART/TM Racing/LeCont) started by setting the second fastest time in Qualifying before taking three victories in the Qualifying Heats. Ranked fourth on the first lap of the Cremona Final, he gradually caught up with and passed his rivals. Leader of the race from the 16th to the 25th lap, he won with panache with a 1.5” lead and the fastest lap in the race. For his debut in KZ2, Cristian Bertuca (ITA – Birel ART/TM Racing/LeCont) obtained a formidable second place against his team-mate Alessio Piccini (ITA – Birel ART/TM Racing/LeCont) to bring a resounding triple win to the Birel ART factory and TM Racing engines. Thomas Imbourg (FRA – Sodi/TM Racing/LeCont) moved up to fourth place by overtaking Moritz Ebner (Birel ART/TM Racing/LeCont) on the last lap. With Tom Leuillet, this is the first time that a Champion has won all the Finals in the history of the European KZ2 Championship over multiple events from 2014 onwards.
Tom Leuillet – “I couldn’t have dreamed of winning the title like this with two victories. It was more complicated in Cremona with the grip, but thanks to the work of my Leclerc by Lennox Racing team, I was able to perform well in both races. I am very grateful to Jordon Lennox-Lamb for trusting me at the end of last year. It is very rewarding for me to win at the wheel of a chassis in the colours of Charles Leclerc.”
2022 FIA Karting European Championship – KZ2 Final standings
1- Tom Leuillet (FRA) 68 points
2- David Trefilov (DEU) 35 points
3- Alessio Piccini (NLD) 28 points
4- Cristian Bertuca (FIN) 27 points
5- Thomas Imbourg (FRA) 23 points
KZ: Van Walstijn winner, Ippolito Champion
After the disappointment for Émilien Denner (FRA – Sodi/TM Racing/LeCont), Pedro Hiltbrand (ESP – Birel ART/TM Racing/LeCont) was the favourite at the start of the FIA Karting European Championship – KZ Final. The Spaniard had certainly impressed during the Qualifying Heats. It took a bad start to ruin his ambition for success. Hiltbrand was in eighth place on the first of the 25 laps of the Final, while Senna van Walstijn (NLD – Sodi/TM Racing/LeCont) took off to victory after a remarkable solo run in the lead. Paolo Ippolito (ITA – KR/Iame/LeCont) let van Walstijn outrun him by more than four seconds at the chequered flag, because he knew that his second place was enough to secure him the European title. Matteo Vigano (ITA – Birel ART/TM Racing/LeCont) moved up to third position to become vice-champion, while Juho Valtanen (FIN – Tony Kart/Vortex/LeCont) was ahead of Hiltbrand in the top five.
Statement from the champion Paolo Ippolito: “Of course I am very happy with the conclusion of the Championship. I am also thinking of my team KR Motorsport, who took their first success at this level, and of my engine manufacturer, who worked hard to take the IAME engine to victory against very well-established rivals. It wasn’t easy after Qualifying in seventh position on Friday. It wasn’t easy to overtake on this track in the conditions we had, although I enjoyed driving with good grip. I made a good start in the Final and I didn’t take too many risks to focus on the title rather than the win. A big thank you to Dino Chiesa for the trust he has put in me.”
2022 FIA Karting European Championship – KZ Final standings
1- Paolo Ippolito (ITA) 56 points
2- Matteo Vigano (ITA) 46 points
3- Senna van Walstijn (NLD) 44 points
4- Pedro Hiltbrand (ESP) 37 points
5- Emilien Denner (FRA) 35 points
Academy: Orjuela confirms his form as winner of the Final
All equipped with identical karts (Exprit/Vortex/LeCont), the drivers of the FIA Karting Academy Trophy fought hard until the Final. Leader at the end of the Qualifying Heats thanks to a third victory on Sunday morning, Matias Orjuela (COL) put in a remarkable performance by imposing himself as the major winner of the Final after 21 laps in front, with a 2.7” lead and the fastest lap. Guillaume Bouzar (LUX) did a very good job by finishing second and taking the lead of the provisional Trophy classification. Iwo Beszterda (POL) took the third step of the podium while Thibaut Ramaekers (BEL) and Santino Panetta (ARG) completed the top five.
The situation is interesting and ver open before the third and final round of the FIA Karting Academy Trophy, which will crown its 2022 winner at Le Mans (FRA) from 1st to 4th September.
Provisional standings of the 2022 FIA Karting Academy Trophy after the second round in Cremona.
1- Guillaume Bouzar (LUX) 54 points
2- Matias Orjuela (COL) 43 points
3- Arthur Dorison (FRA) 35 points
4- William John Riley Go (PHL) 35 points
5- Aleksandar Bogunovič (SVN) 30 points
The results of the Cremona competition can be found on the official FIA Karting Championship app for mobile devices and on the website www.fiakarting.com.