Interview: CRG’s Giancarlo Tinini

At the beginning of each race season, CRG President Giancarlo Tinini publishes his opinion and analysis on a variety sporting, sales and technical topics. Here’s the 2019 edition.

Giancarlo Tinini and Felipe Massa, FIA Karting President (pic – Cunaphoto)

After the end of the 2018 season and the beginning of the new year, it’s time to make balances at the CRG Factory, so the first topic that we ask the president Giancarlo Tinini regards the analysis of the season:

“We are satisfied with the competitiveness that our drivers showed in international races, both in the Racing Team and in the external teams.

“In KZ we won the CIK-FIA European Championship with Jorrit Pex and we had an excellent season on OK Junior with Bortoleto (3rd at the World Championship and at the European Championship) and other young drivers of the Racing Team. In OK we had some up and downs, but the season ended with some important results, as the 3rd place in the European Championship with Hiltbrand.

“There is some bitterness for what happened at the KZ World Championship’s qualifying practice, where De Conto stopped for breaking a radiator pipe and provoked also Hiltbrand’s stop. An unlucky episode that forced both drivers to start from the bottom of the grid and that compromised the result in the end. About De Conto, it should be said that he won the KZ European Championship on track, but a controversial decision of the stewards deprived him of a deserved success. But regardless the single episodes, the overall balance is positive in the Racing sector, especially for the results and feedback that our external teams and customers gave on the new chassis presented with the latest FIA homologations.”

Breakdown of CRG chassis made in 2018

Talking about chassis, can you give us an overview of the CRG offer for the Racing sector?

“In KZ our benchmark model is the Road Rebel chassis, that we perfected for the tyres that we currently use and that proved to be fast on all kinds of tracks. It is a chassis that needs few adjustments, intuitive, very efficient in braking and in cornering, important factors in the Shifter classes.

Always in KZ, we made an excellent work also with the KT4 model that revealed itself an effective alternative on some track conditions.

In the Direct Drive category, our standard and best seller model is the KT2 chassis, very versatile and able to adapt to all kind of tyres. In this market branch, we are very satisfied with the feedback received on the Heron chassis, particularly efficient with medium-hard tyres and slippery tracks: it gives the driver a great sensation, both when braking and when changing direction and it has an excellent general balance. It is a chassis that can make the difference.”

Which are the programs and strategies for 2019?

“The most important news for the CRG Racing Team will be the involvement of Maxter’s structure and resources to directly handle the engines.

In the last seasons, we rented the engines from an external service and, without talking about performances, we didn’t know the technical features of each engine, so we couldn’t have a complete technical picture of our work during race weekends. This choice will allow us to have a more customized service.

We also decided to reduce the number of races in order to concentrate on the FIA events and tests in the best way, so as we’ll have less drivers in order to provide them a better technical service. These choices will allow us to follow our dealers and external teams in important markets and events from the sales point of view.”

Talking about FIA Karting Championships, which is your opinion on the International Federation’s actions?

“For what concerns organization and promotion of the single events, I don’t see big differences and changes from the past. I can only point out that many tracks hosting international FIA events don’t provide adequate services and structures.

I also suggested to avoid long queues to declare the technical equipment, which is a great loss of time and I also have concerns about the announced ban to warm up the engines inside the paddock: perhaps they should have found a temporary solution, finding some places and times when it’s allowed.

What I consider important is the vision that the FIA should have for karting at general level and in a long-term scenario.

First of all, they should assign international races only to those countries that promote international categories (OK-OKJ and KZ classes) and take every useful action to push the ASNs to promote the homologated engines and chassis in their championships.

It’s unacceptable that ASNs like France, Spain and even Italy assign national titles to single-brand engine championships, without FIA homologation.

Secondly, I spoke with Felipe Massa about the idea to make again the World Championship on more rounds and reduce the European Championship to a single event: this format would be more functional to promote karting and it will have our total support. In the end, the International Federation should take concrete policies to reduce the costs.”

CRG factory

What would you suggest for reducing the costs?

“First of all, one should start treating the single expenses of a race weekend, from the free practices, to the fuel, tyres and entry fees: if we consider each one alone it doesn’t look relevant, but at the end of the year each expense item is impressive for a team. We should seriously consider to reducing race days, as in this way we would reduce personnel, hotel and logistic costs. Probably, less expensive and demanding races would bring back many teams to the FIA events, after leaving international karting for other events.”

Talking about the CRG company, which are our strong points in your opinion?

“The never-ending search for quality is the key word in our production process. In all the phases, we have a severe control and we produce internally almost every component, exactly to keep everything under our responsibility.

Since this year, also the chassis painting is made in house and we constantly update technology and machineries in every department. This philosophy is applied on every product range, from Racing to Rental.”

Chassis painting is now in-house at CRG

Talking about Rental Kart, CRG was one of the first companies investing on the electric kart.

“We deeply believe in this market branch and our E-Drenaline model is the outcome of a technological partnership with the Linde company, leader in the electric motors sector.

We developed an important know-how and a relevant advantage on many competitors with our electric range. We also have a top-level complete line in the traditional petrol engine sector, where we have 6 models, from Mini to Centurion 390cc. We also created the agonistic format Rental Kart World Contest, that allows many tracks to organize events and championships whose winners can participate to an important international Endurance event. This year we had teams from China, Mexico and many European countries. In the end, we support this strategic market also with customized commercial operations, including exchange and leasing.”

The complete-range concept has always been a CRG distinguishing feature.

“Yes and today we can proudly state that we can satisfy any request of our customers, from the Puffo kart to make the first steps, to the promotional kart as the series powered by Briggs & Stratton, up to the Racing and Rental lines, that are among the most complete ones on the market.”

Which are CRG’s 2019 goals?

“In the last days, we announced new entries for the American market (CRG Nordam), where we set ambitious goals both for the Racing and Rental sectors, so as we started initiatives to better support our presence in Asia and in some European countries. We support specific programs in the Rental, promotional and youth sectors as well.

In the end, next December, I would like to comment again a World Championship victory, that we missed this year after many years of consecutive successes: I am sure we have the technical equipment and drivers able to fight for this goal.”

Talking about drivers, names like Hamilton and Verstappen are linked to CRG. Which current driver can become a professional in your opinion?

“Among the young ones, Bortoleto has potentialities for sure. He is a striker, he is fast and mature: I think he can do well. Even Bradshaw is very fast and I believe that KZ2 can suit better his aggressive driving style.

Trulli made his first international season and it will be important for him to strengthen his experience. In this process, his father’s support and experience will help him a lot.

Talking about the youngest ones, in the next season I expect a lot from Scionti, as well as Haverkort, who did very well with the Zanardi team in his first year in OK.”

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