The 2015 World Karting Championship has started at Le Mans 

The long-awaited moment has finally arrived. Under beautiful sunshine at the Le Mans Karting International circuit of the Automobile Club de l’Ouest the biggest CIK-FIA competition of the year has started with timed qualifying. The road is still long and uncertain before Sunday afternoon’s three major titles, but an initial hierarchy has now emerged among the 175 drivers present. The pole positions have been taken by the Italian Paolo De Conto in KZ, the Frenchman Nicolas Gonzales in KZ2 and the Belgian Ugo De Wilde in Academy.

The drivers had officially started running on Thursday morning on the Le Mans Karting International circuit for many sessions of free practice, necessary for rigorous development of equipment. Although the kart is a simply designed machine, the set-up needs to be meticulous, as well as a high standard of chassis and engine, all essential to compete properly in such an event.

Timed practice then unfolded during brief, but intense sessions of eight minutes, with competitors divided into different groups. The equipment and tires must first reach their optimum temperature before the driver starts to attack the stopwatch for one or two laps, rarely more. The tension is palpable in the direct vicinity of the starting area. Another factor intervenes again at this level: it is always possible for one session be faster than another due to track conditions.

De Conto takes pole position for the KZ World Championship
The Italian Paolo De Conto (CRG/Maxter), European Champion in the category in 2011, triumphed in this difficult exercise with the best time of the first session with a lap of 51“ 978 at an average of more than 95 km/h. None of his rivals in the CIK-FIA World Championship for KZ were able to drop below 52". The Dutchman Jorrit Pex (CRG/TM) followed in 2nd position by 82 milliseconds while the fight went up a notch in the second session between the young Dane Nicklas Nielsen (Tony Kart/Vortex) and his experienced team-mate Marco Ardigo (Tony Kart/Vortex), the reigning World Champion. The Briton Ben Hanley (Croc Promotions/TM) took 4th position ahead of Ardigo. The top French driver, Anthony Abbasse (Sodi/TM) finished in 10th place, while Emilien Grosso (Tony Kart/Vortex) finished 15th as a private driver.

KZ2: Gonzales fastest
While the CIK-FIA International Super Cup for KZ2 brings together 96 drivers, the Frenchman Nicolas Gonzales (Sodi/TM), a member of FFSA Team France Karting, was the fastest during his last lap. He is followed in 2nd position by the Spanish driver Pedro Hiltbrand (CRG/Maxter), while the two following positions reveal candidates who are new to this level in the rankings. The German Tom Josef Lorkowski (Righetti Ridolfi/Modena) took a very good 3rd ahead of the Frenchman Pierre Loubère (Sodi/TM), while the experienced Spanish driver Jorge Pescador (Praga/Parilla) completed the top five.

De Wilde dominates qualifying in the Academy
The young international talents of the CIK-FIA Karting Academy Trophy have benefited from ideal conditions for their timed qualifying. The Belgian Ugo De Wilde set the fastest time for the first time this season. The 2nd place for the Lithuanian Kasparas Vaskelis is also a pleasant surprise, as well as the 3rd for the British driver Callum Bradshaw. The main favourite for the title, the Spanish driver Marta Garcia ended up 4th ahead of the Japanese driver Shion Tsujimoto.

Saturday will be devoted to qualifying heats, which in karting are races which select the drivers for the finals and to provide a great show for spectators. No less than 21 starts will be given between 10:20 and 18:20 hours on the Le Mans Karting International Circuit.

Results

Rnk

No. Driver Equipment Time Gap Group
1 23 De Conto, Paolo CRG / Maxter / B'stone 51.978 0.000s A
2 6 Pex, Jorrit CRG / TM Racing / B'stone 52.060 0.082 B
3 31 Nielsen, Nicklas Tony Kart / Vortex / B'stone 52.067 0.089 C
4 3 Hanley, Ben Croc Promotions / TM Racing / B'stone 52.073 0.095 A
5 2 Ardigo, Marco Tony Kart / Vortex / B'stone 52.086 0.108 B
6 5 Hajek, Patrik Formula K / Parilla / B'stone 52.178 0.200 C
7 14 Dalè, Andrea CRG / TM Racing / B'stone 52.188 0.210 A
8 12 Lundberg, Douglas Kosmic Kart / Vortex / B'stone 52.196 0.218 B
9 1 Camponeschi, Flavio Tony Kart / Vortex / B'stone 52.211 0.233 C
10 9 Abbasse, Anthony Sodi / TM Racing / B'stone 52.217 0.239 A
11 11 Lammers, Bas Sodi / TM Racing / B'stone 52.234 0.256 B
12 20 Dreezen, Rick Ricciardo Kart / Parilla / B'stone 52.257 0.279 C
13 19 Backman, Andreas Kosmic Kart / Vortex / B'stone 52.264 0.286 A
14 4 Iglesias, Jérémy Sodi / TM Racing / B'stone 52.285 0.307 B
15 25 Grosso, Emilien Tony Kart / Vortex / B'stone 52.289 0.311 C
16 16 Thonon, Jonathan Praga / Parilla / B'stone 52.314 0.336 A
17 10 Puhakka, Simo CRG / Maxter / B'stone 52.315 0.337 B
18 22 Carlton, Gary Formula K / Parilla / B'stone 52.316 0.338 C
19 8 Kozlinski, Arnaud Sodi / TM Racing / B'stone 52.375 0.397 A
20 15 Fore, Davide CRG / Maxter / B'stone 52.405 0.427 B
21 7 Lennox-Lamb, Jordon Birel Art / Parilla / B'stone 52.419 0.441 C
22 18 Torsellini, Mirko Ricciardo Kart / TM Racing / B'stone 52.448 0.470 A
23 24 Buran, Alessandro Haase-Corsa / TM Racing / B'stone 52.465 0.487 B
24 37 Pollini, Giacomo CKR / TM Racing / B'stone 52.466 0.488 C
25 30 Spinelli, Loris PCR / TM Racing / B'stone 52.562 0.584 A
26 21 Tujula, Tuomas Croc Promotions / TM Racing / B'stone 52.625 0.647 B
27 35 Nilsson, Brandon Birel Art / Vortex / B'stone 52.633 0.655 C
28 29 Myers, James PCR / TM Racing / B'stone 52.664 0.686 A
29 33 Chubarov, Ivan Croc Promotions / TM Racing / B'stone 52.751 0.773 B
30 34 Canal, Julien Kosmic Kart / Vortex / B'stone 52.804 0.826 C
31 32 Vigorito, Gianni OK1 / TM Racing / B'stone 52.951 0.973 A
32 28 Boisnard, Erwan Tony Kart / Vortex / B'stone 53.038 1.060 B
33 26 Gimbert, Maxime Birel Art / TM Racing / B'stone 53.047 1.069 C
34 27 Deharte, Julien CRG / Vortex / B'stone 54.040 2.062 A
35 36 Durante, Sergio CRGSPA / TM Racing / B'stone 55.042 3.064 B

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