Young Kiwi karter Jacob Douglas is taking positives from the second round of the 2019 FIA Karting Academy Trophy Series in Italy over the weekend despite missing out on a top ten spot in the Final.
The 13-year-old from Christchurch ended up 15th in the race, won by young Ukranian driver Oleksandr Partyshev.
Partyshev, Douglas, Rnd 1 winner Robert De Haan from the Netherlands, Lithuanian Kajus Siksnelis and Italy-based Singapore driver Christian Ho were the pace-setters early on in the weekend.
Ho just pipped Douglas for pole in qualifying but it was the young Kiwi who won his first heat race – from Partyshev and Siksnelis – then finished 4th in his second (won by Siksnelis from De Haan and eventual third place getter Paolo Ferrari) and 3rd in his third heat (won by Siksnelis from Ho and Douglas).
That gave Douglas P4 for the Final (behind De Haan and Siksnelis on the front row and beside Partyshev on the second). However after the fourth engine swap of the weekend (under Academy Trophy rules the top seven finishers must swap engines with the bottom seven) Douglas was left with one which lacked the power of the others and from that point on struggled to stay with the drivers he had been competing with – and beating – earlier in the meeting.
As a result De Haan, Partyshev and Siksnelis drove away from Douglas at the start of the Final and the young Christchurch ace was literally powerless to do anything about it, slipping back down through the order to finish 15th.
“I really feel for Jacob,” mentor and meeting mechanic/strategist Matt Hamilton said from the track early Monday morning (NZ time).“He was on fire this week and definitely was a contender up until the last engine swap. The engine people looked at the data and agreed it wasn’t right but the powers that be wouldn’t let us change it for the Final.
“He is gutted, obviously, but in the same breath he now knows he can turn up at a track he has never seen before and run with the best guys his age in the world right now, so he hasn’t come away from the meeting completely empty handed.”
“He’ll head home now, re-group, then start thinking about the final round back here in Italy in September. It’s at a track he knows well and has raced at twice before so it will be interesting to see how he goes there.”