The Newland and Associates WA KZ Series round 2 has proven it’s going to take consistency to win the Series. None are more aware of this than Jake Klarich. Klarich came off a horror first round and needed a massive points grab in round 2 to keep within reach of the top 3. Klarich didn’t disappoint, dominating the weekend in his Luxor/TM machine.
Klarich took pole in qualifying, edging out Josh Merritt (Praga/TM) by just 0.05 sec! Arrive-and-Driver Winner Tyler Nastasi impressed on debut to take 3rd ahead of some more experienced drivers. Pete Newland and another new comer Ben Harders rounded out the top 5.
Josh Merrit Proved that his qualifying effort was no fluke, taking a ‘lights to flag’ win. Newland also made the most of a good start and followed Merrit home locking down 2nd place all race. Klarich fought off a mid-race attack from Currey to take 3rd.
Klarich made sure his bad start was not repeated for race 2. proving he could also dominate a race. Klarich didn’t look back as he won convincingly. Pete Newland again got a great start and had a solid 2nd place. Daniel Currey had a good battle with Josh Merritt to take 3rd place.
Klarich didn’t get his own way in the Pre-final. Pete Newland again with the great start, led the first 5 laps. Klarich went back to 4th after another horror start. Josh Merrit, Daniel Currey and Hayden Patrizi batted it out for the first 10 laps. Patrizi eventually took the lead in his Ricciardo Kart for 3 laps before a solid fight back from Klarich saw him eventually take the race. Patrizi succumbed to mechanical issues. Meanwhile, Alex Barboutis had a Spirited fight from 6th to get up to 2nd proving he can mix it with the best. Pete Newland rounded out the top 3 with Josh Merritt 4th and Ben Harders 5th.
Klarich took an impressive win in the final, sending a message to the field they will have to work hard to stop him this year. Tyre wear was a major factor as always, and the war of attrition always makes for good watching in the final. Daniel Currey showed that if you look after your rubber it will look after you come the final, coming from 5th to take 2nd.
Pete Newland ran into trouble mid-race and went from 2nd to finish 10th in a weekend that should have been a podium for him. Alex Barboutis was looking fast in the final before mechanical issues also forced him out of the race. Josh Merrit couldn’t quite hold onto the podium positions and finished 6th. Ben Harders took an impressive 3rd spot in his first race, could be one to look out for in the future races. Patrizi was left wondering what could have been coming from 10th to 4th showing the pace to win.
Round 3 will be held at Bunbury City Kart Club on July 22nd (Final under lights)
“I had a really good qualifying session taking out pole position, only just though, it went down to my final lap. The track was quite cold and pretty greasy, it took a while for the tyres to heat up to temperature. Race one I didn’t get off the line too well, dropping back to 4th at the start. It was a good race with lots of hard racing and position changes for 2nd place, I ended up in 3rd.
“The pre-final was my favourite race of the day as I had a bit of contact while in second place on the 2nd lap. I dropped back to 4th but then ended up racing my way back up to 1st by the end. Lots of big passing moves made it good fun!
“In the final I got off of the line in 2nd place. Unfortunately, Barboutis had an exhaust spring come off and he had to pull in on the 2nd lap. He looked really fast and it would have made it a good race! The Luxor kart was set up perfectly and I managed to drive away from 2nd and 3rd place and took out my first win this year! I’m Looking forward to keeping this momentum going at Bunbury in a few week time.”
Ben Harders – taking over from Simon Gwilliam
“One afternoon I got a call from Dad ‘How would you like to race a KZ2 in a couple weeks time in Gumby’s kart?’ Well my firsts thoughts were ‘yeah boii, that would be hectic.’
“So leading up to the weekend I had to get some laps under my belt in the KZ. One Saturday afternoon we planned to go down to the track and just have a bit of a go for a couple hours just so I got a rough idea what it’s like. Dad and I soon realised I wasn’t far off the pace and it might be worth heading to the club run for some race practice. We also did half a day with BD from ‘B Sports’ on Monday because if we were gonna do a KZ meeting, might as well do it right. BD was a big help and made me drop more than 1.5 seconds off my personal best. But after the 3 days I did of practicing in it, I think I was ready for a solid week of sleep.
“Once the weekend arrived I was pretty pumped. I Qualified 5th but I had a kart in my way on that lap. I was still pretty happy with that result because I finished in front a few dudes that have been racing KZ2 for a while.
“Heat 1… well, the kart in front of me on the start had nearly stalled and had a very slow take off but for me a had a cracker launch especially for my first standing start. That ended shortly after I ran out of room to avoid the slower kart in front of me, my front right just clipped his rear left but I was half way through to flicking 2nd gear so once the kart made contact with his my steering locked right and I had spun out. This all happened so much quicker than you’d think. It wasn’t the best way to start my weekend off and I was a little bummed with that result because I was so keen to race this thing.
“In the 2nd heat when I lined my kart on the grid I angled it to the middle because I wasn’t taking any chances of the same thing happening again. This heat was the racing I expected from KZ, the start was hectic and you have got to be very alert to make split-second decisions. I decided to save tyres in this heat as I was clear in 5th.
“The Pre-final I started 10th and it was a good one to remember, I had some fun with good racing and made my way to 5th but because where you finish in this race it’s your starting position for the final so everyone was on it trying to get a decent starting position.
“The final came and the laps got reduced by 10 laps and I was very keen on doing a 25 lapper, but the meeting went a bit over schedule. I got a good start to the race and held 3rd for most of the race and caught Daniel Currey in 2nd, but he was too good for me in the end and I couldn’t quite get around him and finished with a 3rd place which I was proud of. Being my first KZ race, I found that a very good result for myself and I hope I can get a KZ kart soon because I had one of the best experiences I’ve had in my career… possibly the closest feeling to an F1 car. I haven’t driven an F1 car but I’m pretty sure it would have the same sort of concept haha!”