The qualifying phases of the first Competition of the CIK-FIA European Championship and European Junior Championship took up all available energy on Saturday 21st April 2018 on the international circuit of Sarno.
The challenge of obtaining a place in the Final increased the tension throughout the day while the temperatures rose at the foot of Vesuvius. Aron retained the OK-Junior advantage with four consecutive wins, a score identical to that of Thompson, who has provisionally taken the lead in OK.
The qualifying phase has seen its role increase since the adoption by the CIK-FIA of a new race format from the 2017 season from which the Prefinals disappeared, and the 34 finalists qualify directly for the decisive Final in the from their heats. Of the five heats on the Sarno programme, four have already been held on Saturday, the last remaining on Sunday morning. Today’s classifications are therefore only indicative, even though a revealing hierarchy has emerged.
Underperformance, clashes or technical problems have serious consequences for the final result and the slightest mistake was accompanied by a drop in the rankings. The introduction of specific front fairings since 2016 continued to prove its effectiveness in the smooth running of the Races, especially during starts. This measure still encourages more sporting behaviour on the track with a penalty of 10” for inappropriate contact. Between the courage needed for a good result and the relative prudence necessary not to drop back, the task proved to be complex.
Strong domination by Aron in Junior
Already the holder of the pole position in Qualifying Practice, Paul Aron (EST) achieved a perfect score by taking four victories in a row. Ranking 4th in Qualifying, Conrad Laursen (DNK) won three times and finished 2nd, which allowed him to return in the wake of the leader ahead of Kai Askey (GBR) and Dino Beganovic (SWE), two drivers on equal points. Kirill Smal (RUS) stayed in the top five while Jak Crawford (USA) made a great recovery from 17th in Qualifying Practice ahead of Zak O’Sullivan (GBR), with Josh Dufek (GBR) returning from 24th position. Gabriel Mini (ITA), Laurens Van Hoepen (NLD) and Victor Bernier (FRA) lost ground in the battle.
Thompson takes the reins in OK
Ranked 2nd in Qualifying, young rookie Harry Thompson (GBR) flew in the OK heats of the day by winning four times. Pedro Hiltbrand (ESP) had a good performance, finishing 2nd in front of Roman Stanek (CZE). Three drivers gathered around 5th place, poleman Zane Maloney (BRB), David Vidales Ajenjo (ESP) and Hannes Janker (DEU). The reigning World Junior Champion Dexter Patterson (GBR) slipped back out of the top 10 between compatriots Christopher Lulham and Callum Bradshaw, who had made significant progress from their Qualifying performances.
The day ended with another press conference with several OK and OK-Junior Drivers.
Six Qualifying Heats remain for Sunday morning, one for each Driver, before knowing the names of the 34 finalists who will compete from 13:30 (GMT + 2) for the victory, the places of honour and the most points in the ranking of each category.
- The Competition is available via live timing and live streaming on www.cikfia.com.