Preview: Douglas at Academy Trophy Final

DOUGLAS CONFIDENT AHEAD OF FINAL FIA ACADEMY TROPHY KART ROUND IN ITALY THIS WEEKEND

There was a spring in his step when young Kiwi karter Jacob Douglas left his Christchurch home yesterday (Monday Sept 16) to fly to Italy for the third and final round of this year’s 2019 FIA Karting Academy Trophy Series in Italy this coming weekend.

The 14-year-old has been quick but ultimately unlucky at the first two rounds of the 2019 series at kart tracks that have been new to him. This weekend’s final, however, is being contested at a track he knows well – the South Garda one at Lonato in Italy’s north-east (mid-way between Milan and Venice) – hence the youngster’s confidence heading into it.

Jacob Douglas at round 2 at Sarno, with Tiffany Chittenden (pic – Fast Company/Umberto Fraenkel-Sportinphoto)

“He’s done so many laps there at the past two ROK Cup International events you could almost class him as a local,” says his father Craig. “Confidence is key at the level Jacob is now competing at so it will definitely be interesting to see how quickly he can get up to speed – and hopefully stay there this time – this weekend.

Douglas is the first ever Kiwi karter to earn a spot on the grid of the FIA’s Karting Academy Trophy Series and has been on the leading pace at both previous rounds.

At the first, at the Wackersdorf kart track in Germany in May, he started the Final from P9 on the grid only to crash out on the second lap after being hit by another driver. Then at the second round at the Sarno kart track near Naples in June, Douglas qualified second quickest, won the first of his three heat races and started the Final from P4…only to slip back through the field and finish 15th thanks to an off-song engine.

“Jacob was obviously gutted about that,” says his father, “but he took it in his stride. In saying that I know he is doubly determined to do well this weekend, both for himself, and to show the other boys that his single lap pace at the first two rounds was no fluke.”

Jacob Douglas (pic – Fast Company/Umberto Fraenkel-Sportinphoto)

Heading into the final round of this season’s Academy Trophy Series Douglas is currently ranked 15th out of a total entry of 51. Topping the points list heading into the final 2019 series’ round is Robert De Haan from the Netherlands from Italian Paolo Ferrari and Joshua Coertze from South Africa.

Also competing at Lonato this weekend – in this case in the FIA Karting International Super Cup (KZ2) class which is sharing the limelight with both the Academy Trophy Series and the FIA KZ class Karting World Championship – are fellow Kiwis Matthew Payne from Auckland and the now Italy-based former Palmerston North driver Dylan Drysdale.

Accompanying Jacob Douglas this weekend will be Tiffany Hamilton, herself a successful karter and now one-half of Douglas’ mentoring duo with her husband, multi-time NZ champion Matthew Hamilton.

After the final round of the FIA Academy Series this weekend, Douglas and Tiffany Hamilton will both stay on in Italy for two more meetings at the South Garda track at Lonato, the annual Autumn Trophy at the end of September, and the ROK Cup International one (for which Douglas has sought and gained a wildcard entry in the Junior ROK class) in October.

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