Preview: Two Kiwis at Sarno

Two Kiwi karters hit the track at Sarno this weekend, one competing in the final round of the European KZ2 Championship, the other the second round of the Academy Trophy for Juniors.

14-year-old Jacob Douglas is targeting a top 10 finish in Academy Trophy while Matthew Payne hopes to capitalise on previous pace and make the KZ2 Final.

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Jacob Douglas at the German round (pic – Fast Company/Umberto Fraenkel-Sportinphoto)

KartSport New Zealand issued the following press releases:


Young Kiwi karter Jacob Douglas is targeting a top 10 finish at the second round of the 2019 FIA Karting Academy Trophy Series in Italy this weekend.

The 13-year-old from Christchurch, the first New Zealandkarter to earn a spot on the grid of the FIA Karting Academy Trophy Series, was quick but ultimately unlucky at the opening round of the 2019 series at Wackersdorf in Germany last month.

And after a whistle-stop trip home to contest the annual Sunbelts meeting in Nelson and Blenheim over Queen’s Birthday weekend he has returned to the Northern Hemisphere more determined than ever to make his mark.

On track at Wackersdorf (pic – Fast Company/Umberto Fraenkel-Sportinphoto)

“I learned so much about the way they race in Europe at the first round and felt that I had really upped my game by the end of that weekend, so I am super-excited to head back for the second round to try and do even better this time,” he said earlier this week.

Though the venue for the second round of this year’s Academy Trophy Series, the Circuito Internazionale Napoli Sarno, is one he has yet to compete at Douglas will this weekend have multi-time NZ kart champion Matthew Hamilton to call on for advice.

Hamilton ran then girlfriend and now wife, Tiffany Hamilton (nee Chittenden), at the circuit when it hosted the Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals meeting in 2016 where she distinguished herself with a drive through the field to 11th place in her class Final, setting the fastest race lap along the way.

For his part Douglas proved that he can run with the best Junior karters in the world at the opening Academy Trophy series round in Germany, qualifying 9th (out of a field of 51) for the Final only to crash out of that race on the second lap when hit by another competitor.

Because of that his goal this weekend is two-fold – get into the Final again, but race for series points as well as ultimate race and round position.


“It would mean so much to me to be able to finish in the top 10 – or even more so the top five. But also,” he said, “I want to get some good points in the championship so that means I need good Heat races to be able to start in the top 10 in the Final, and hopefully get to the finish line this time.”

“I’ll definitely be giving it everything I have and I won’t be leaving anything out there. It’s been a dream of mine for a few years now to race at the highest level of karting in Europe and I’d just like to thank everyone at KartSport New Zealand and their sponsors Carter’s Tyre Service and The Giltrap Group, as well as my sponsors, WKS KartStore and Racer Products, for helping me take this step.

“I’m sorry I didn’t get to finish the Final last time but I’ll be trying even harder to get a result everyone can be proud of this weekend.”

Despite being the only Kiwi competing in the FIA Karting Academy races this weekend Douglas will not be the only karter from New Zealand racing at Sarno.

Auckland 16-year-old Matthew Payne is also back for his second meeting in Europe this year, in a works GP Karts kart in which he will be contesting the second (and final) round of the 2019 FIA European KZ2 class championship.


Recently crowned NZ KZ2 class kart champion Matthew Payne from Auckland gets his chance to shine at the second (and final) round of this year’s FIA Karting European KZ2 Championship at Sarno in Italy this weekend.

Reigning New Zealand champion Matthew Payne is the sole Kiwi contesting KZ2 at Sarno this weekend (pic – Fast Company/Umberto Fraenkel-Sportinphoto)

At the first round of the 2019 European KZ2 championship at Wackerdorf in Germany last month, Payne was joined on the grid by mentor Daniel Bray and fellow Kiwi karter Dylan Drysdale.

This time he will be on his own, on the track at least, with Bray remaining at home in Auckland to contest the third round of the Toyota Racing ProKart Series in association with Speedworks series, and Drysdale – who is now living in Italy and working for the GP Karts team – stepping back to spin the spanners for Payne at this particular meeting.

Though only Bray got to start the Final at the opening round of this year’s two-round European KZ2 Championship in Germany, Payne and Drysdale both showed top-10 pace through the practise sessions on Friday and qualifying heats on Saturday and Sunday.

Payne, still just 16-years-of-age, was in fact the best placed of the three Kiwi at the end of Qualifying.

“Our actual pace in Germany was very good,” Bray confirmed this week. “Matthew had the best qualifying of the three of us and also had some great drives in his Heats. He would have made the Final too if not for contact in the last heat race on Saturday which broke one of his (wheel) rims into two pieces.”

Both Payne and Drysale have tested at the storied Circuito Internazionale Napoli Sarno kart track in recent weeks. They both have also competed at the track before, when the Rotax Max Grand Challenge was held there in 2016.

Though Payne will be the only Kiwi running in the KZ2 class at Sarno, 14-year-old compatriot Jacob Douglas from Christchurch will also be competing at the meeting, in the FIA Karting Academy Trophy class.