The SP Tools Australian Kart Championship, presented by Castrol EDGE is hitting crunch time after the opening day of competition at the penultimate round in Emerald, central Queensland on Saturday.
- results on speedhive HERE
The heat racing has produced some results that will have Championship implications, none more so than the KZ2 gearbox category where Title combatants have struck trouble.
The top two competitors in the series, Parolin racers, Jay Coul and Subway Supercars pilot, James Golding didn’t finish the opening heat – Coul with a late race technical issue and Golding with a flat tyre.
This compromised their starting position for Saturday afternoon’s third heat pushing them down the order. Coul put on a masterful display to come through the field and finish in seventh position.
The big benefactor of Coul and Golding’s issues was Joshua Fife who has got himself into Championship calculations with a round and a half left remaining. Fife took the opening two heat races and finished third in the final race of the day.
Pole winner, Henry Johnstone took the final heat after earlier finishing second to Fife in both other races.
Current champion, Troy Loeskow had one of his more solid outings this season finishing all three races inside the top three aboard his Ricciardo Kart.
In the elite junior category, KA2, Jack Webster took his maiden pole position in the category and subsequently won the opening two heats. Bizarrely, Webster spun on the warmup lap in heat three and wasn’t able to take part in the race.
What ensued was the race of the year between eight competitors. Championship leader coming into the weekend, Costa Toparis was able to hold on despite not having outright pace to win the heat and score the 12 points for the race win.
Others towards the top included Lewis Francis who has changed chassis to a Lando Norris kart this weekend, Peter Bouzinelos and Parolin pair, Jaxson Burns and Max Walton finished inside the top three in the final heat of the day.
Jace Matthews has kept his KA3 Senior Championship hopes alive with the perfect day of running, setting the pole time and winning all three heats in his FA Kart. Championship leader Alex Ninovic, while towards the top of the results, has looked out of sorts in his PCR chassis this weekend unable to dial in a setup that saw him dominate early phases of this year’s Series.
James Sera, Jai Brown, Kurtis Tennant and Benito Montalbano have been toward the front throughout the course of the first three heats also.
The Jace Matthews show continued in X30, locked in a battle with defending Champion Brad Jenner for this year’s crown. Matthews took two heat victories with Jenner on his tail and in the third race, Jenner reversed the result to take the win.
Jesse Lacey impressed in the third heat, however Tyler Howard may disagree. The two drivers are debuting Lando Norris karts this weekend and as the day wore on, Howard really had a handle on his machine battling with Jenner and Matthews until Lacey arrived on the scene and the pair had an on-track disagreement which was resolved in favour of Lacey.
Beau Pronesti and Jacob Dowson are well in the mix as we head towards finals day.
Jace Matthews’ brother, Declan, has been consistent in the TaG 125 races, finishing all three in second position. Defending Australian Champion, Brendan Nelson took two of the three heat races to try and get his title defence back on track after a non finish at the previous round which cost him significant points.
Zachary Heard, who qualified last after getting just one lap against the clock, managed to come through the field and take a memorable third heat race this afternoon.
Championship leader Leigh Nicolaou is banking solid points from consistent finishes to maintain the advantage he had coming into the weekend.
Patrick Buckley is coming home with a wet sail in the KA4 Junior Championship, having crossed the line first in all three races held today, his only blemish coming via a starting infringement that relegated him to 13th in heat two. Mathematically, Buckley can win the Championship heading to the final round and he is throwing caution to the wind to do so.
Championship leader, Ben Munro has been deep in the top 10 for much of the day not showing his characteristic speed, however setup changes between the second and third heat seemed to work with him being among the front runners, however a late race excursion saw him drop to fourth.
Luke Trost continued good form at Emerald and has been among the top group, so too Kobe McInerney and Pip Casabene has put in one of his most promising performances at an Australian Kart Championship round.
Cadet 12 Championship leader, Sebastian Eskandari-Marandi hasn’t had everything go his way, however has still managed to score two wins in the only oversubscribed class this weekend.
There are numerous suitors looking to play themselves into a position to challenge for the crown come Newcastle next month.
Other heat races were claimed by Alaster Flack who along with fellow Energy pilot, Lana Flack have been right at the head of the pack throughout the day, Lana unfortunately getting spun in her first heat race. Alaster would go on to claim victory in that particular race.
Other winners included Caylen Burke, Championship aspirant Cooper Folley and rapid Kiwi Marco Manson in just his second SP Tools series start – he is out of the Title chase but can certainly play his part in the outcome.
In Cadet 9, runaway leader, Cruz Kelly has continued his exceptional form in his Tecno Kart claiming the second and third heat races. It took him a while to get up to pace, finishing the opening heat in ninth placing while Jensen Damaschino won that race.
Regular front runners, Michael Quintiliani, Carter Lamperd and Jay Kostecki are all in the mix heading to finals day after solid performances throughout the day.
Tomorrow will see the final round of heats and the finals as the SP Tools Australian Kart Championship presented by Castrol EDGE really heats up under the blazing central Queensland sun.
Racing begins at 8am local time with entry to the Emerald Kart Club free of charge. Full coverage of Saturday’s action and live action from Sunday will be carried via www.watchmysportlive.tv.