FIA Karting 2023 – Leuillet in KZ and Powell in KZ2 launch the competition in Zuera
On the Spanish circuit of Zuera, the first round of the FIA Karting European Championship – KZ & KZ2 supported by Mondokart.com has just started with the Qualifying Practice. In good weather conditions, Frenchman Tom Leuillet achieved the KZ pole position and Jamaican Alex Powell the KZ2 pole position.
Temperatures between 16 and 20°, a light cloudy sky and a moderate wind allowed the Qualifying sessions to run perfectly on the Circuito Internacional de Zuera early on Friday afternoon. The 119 participants had plenty of time to prepare their karts and strategy during the preliminary Free Practice. On a fast track like this one, the importance of slipstreaming means that the timing of the entry to the track is crucial. With the LeCont tyres used in both classes, the best times were achieved between the third and fourth laps. While the confrontation was mainly between France and Italy in the KZ top 10, six nations competed in the KZ2 top 10. The Tony Kart / Vortex combinations took the top two places in KZ, while a KR / IAME was ahead of two Birel ART / TM Kart in KZ2. Eight different makes of chassis and three engines were at the top of both rankings.
Leuillet, first KZ poleman of the season
Tom Leuillet (FRA) had been steadily building up power during the morning Free Practice sessions. For his first appearance in the KZ category, the 2022 European KZ2 Champion was already making the difference on the second lap and improved on his third lap by finishing with a time of 57”850. Only five other drivers had managed to break the 58” barrier. His team-mate Lorenzo Camplese (ITA) was a tenth of a second off pole position, one thousandth ahead of his compatriot Danilo Albanese and Dutchman Senna van Walstijn. Another Italian, Luigi Coluccio, took 5th place by 0.120”, followed by Francesco Celenta (ITA) by a thousandth. The gaps increased progressively without exceeding two tenths for the top eleven drivers. To confirm the proximity of the performances recorded during Qualifying, it should be noted that 24 drivers finished within half a second of each other.
With Powell at the helm, the young generation takes its place in KZ2
Last year’s European OK vice-champion, Jamaican Alex Powell is one of those young drivers who excel without much experience in KZ2. He took pole position in 57”872 during the fourth session. 2nd by 5 hundredths, the Italian Cristian Bertuca has already shown great potential in the 125cc gearbox category in 2022. He is pushing his advantage this year as shown by his 2nd place against three other youngsters ranked in the top five: Freddie Slater (GBR), European Junior Champion in 2021, Tomass Stolcermanis (LVA), currently 6th in the European OK Championship, and Kean Nakamura-Berta (GBR), last year’s European OK Champion and 2021 World Junior Champion. However, the KZ2 specialists are not left behind. The races that start during the Qualifying Heats could well give them the lead again. The Frenchmen Jean Nomblot in 6th and Matteo Spirgel 10th, the Italian Alex Maragliano in 7th, the Germans Maxim Rehm in 8th and Daniel Stell 9th, are notably well placed to react.
Provisional programme for the Zuera event
FIA European Karting Championship – KZ Mondokart.com Race of Spain
FIA European Karting Championship – KZ2 Mondokart.com Race of Spain
Saturday 15th April
09:30 – 10:25: Warm-up (10′)
10:30 – 17:20: Qualifying Heats (live broadcast)
Sunday 16th April
09:30 – 10:25: Warm-up (15′)
11:20 – 12:10: KZ/KZ2 Super Heats (live broadcast)
14:00 – 15:35: Finals (live broadcast)
The Zuera event can be followed on the official FIA Karting Championship app for mobile devices and on the website.