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Wackersdorf: Maximum Intensity for the Triumph of DeConto and Irlando

Published: Monday, September 11th, 2017

Paolo De Conto leads Anthony Abbasse
Photo Credit: KSP Photo Agency

It was a big and spectacular Competition that has just concluded at the German circuit of Wackersdorf. Karting proved once again the incredible competitiveness of the best Drivers and teams in the world in a discipline as demanding as it is spectacular. The Finals crowned Paolo De Conto as the World KZ Champion and Alex Irlando as the winner of the CIK-FIA International KZ2 Super Cup.

The intensity of the Competition never faltered between the 156 drivers present at Wackersdorf from 6th to 10th September 2017, in the two gearbox categories KZ and KZ2. Rain made it difficult for the races to run on Saturday afternoon, with traces of moisture remaining on Sunday morning. At the end of a superb sporting confrontation, two great winners were rewarded for their bravery in the face of excellent rivals. The Italian manufacturer TM Racing, which equipped a large proportion of the field, has achieved major successes. In addition to the two winners, TM Racing powered the top four in the CIK-FIA World KZ Championship and the top eight in the CIK-FIA International KZ2 Super Cup. Finally, the changeable weather of the region reduced the grip on Saturday afternoon, but the track was dry on Sunday morning, so the Finals took place in the dry.

Watching the Competition, the Vice-President of the CIK-FIA, Kees Van De Grint, wished to convey his reflections:

"One of my goals when I took office at the CIK-FIA was to have a World Karting Championship in Germany. After four decades, we have finally managed to return to this great country for a World Competition. We did even better than that with the Competition that has just finished at Wackersdorf. With many spectators present, it was indeed a real success gathering a large number of talented Drivers, fighting in exciting battles and in a very sporting manner during spectacular Races. This is the purest spirit of Karting, undoubtedly the most intense form of Motor Sport.

“Beyond this aspect, I would also like to highlight all those anonymous heroes who work for the success of such a Competition. The Champions are still celebrated, but I think it is also legitimate to pay tribute to the marshals and officials who have carried out a very professional job here. I would like to thank the dedicated staff of the various German authorities involved, the DMSB, ACV, ADAC and AVD, and of course the owner of the Prokart Raceland circuit, Stephan Fritsch.

“It was a pure coincidence, five years ago, that the CIK-FIA entered into collaboration with the WSK Promotion at a European Championship Competition at Wackersdorf. We have done a long way since May 2013. I would like to acknowledge the important contribution from Luca De Donno and his team to the success of the Wackersdorf World Competition.

“Everybody knows that the contract to be the the promoter of the CIK-FIA Competitions will be renewed in 2018 and that several applications are currently being studied carefully by the FIA. We all have to wait for the decision to be made soon, to ensure the best possible future for Karting."

SECOND CONSECUTIVE TITLE FOR DE CONTO

The Italian Driver, Paolo De Conto (CRG / TM Racing / B'stone), was crowned World KZ Champion last year in Sweden, and re-emerged in 2017 after a breathtaking Final. Just recovered from his Oviedo injury, Anthony Abbasse (Sodi / TM Racing / B'stone) was however a formidable opponent. The Frenchman began by taking the pole position in Qualifying Practice and kept 1st place during the Qualifying Heats. Meanwhile, De Conto gradually climbed up from 14th position in Qualifying Practice to 4th in the Heats. Jérémy Iglesias (Formula K / TM Racing / B'stone) in 2nd and Patrik Hajek (Kosmic / Vortex / B'stone) 3rd were among the protagonists along with Marijn Kreners (Birel ART / TM Racing / B'stone).

Abbasse quickly regained the lead of the Final in front of De Conto, who took control on the seventh of the 26 laps. Very close in terms of performance, the two Drivers remained in contact up to the finish line without the order changing, with De Conto winning the Race and the CIK-FIA World KZ Championship by three hundredths of a second. A Driver in the FIA WEC LMP2 class and with little running before Wackersdorf, Briton Benjamin Hanley (Croc Promotions / TM Racing / B'stone) achieved a feat by climbing to 3rd on the KZ podium after gaining 10 places in the Final. Jorrit Pex (CRG / TM Racing / B'stone) and Simo Puhakka (Kosmic / Vortex / B'stone) rounded out the world's top five in 2017.

KZ2: IRLANDO WINS AT THE FINISH

With its 113 participants, the CIK-FIA International KZ2 Super Cup had no lack of twists. In Qualifying Practice Riccardo Longhi (Birel ART / TM Racing / B'stone) took the lead on Germany's Daniel Stell (Mach 1 / TM Racing / B'stone), while the Israeli Ariel Levi (Sodi / TM) was in 3rd place. Longhi remained in the lead after the long series of 21 Qualifying Heats (6 per Driver). Sweden's Benjamin Persson (CRG / TM Racing / B'stone) took the opportunity to return to 2nd place ahead of Italian Marco Zanchetta (Maranello / TM Racing / B'stone).

Considered one of the favourites, the Italian Alex Irlando (Sodi / TM Racing / B'stone) was relegated to 6th position due to a penalty. That did not prevent him from reaching 2nd place in the Final after only five laps. Persson, at the controls with a 1.7'' gap appeared as a solid leader. But the gaps narrowed as the laps went on, with Irlando and Longhi steadily rising to the front. Persson resisted several attacks and began the last lap in a position of strength. However, Irlando took advantage of a small error from his rival to succeed in a bold pass on the inside at the last corner. He won the Race by 49 thousands of a second on the line and won the CIK-FIA International KZ2 Super Cup in front of the unfortunate Persson and Longhi. Francesco Celenta (Praga / TM Racing / B'stone) and Zanchetta completed the top five.

Words by CIK-FIA