CRG AND PAOLO DE CONTO CONFIRMED TO BE EUROPEAN CHAMPIONS IN KZ IN SWEDEN
CRG drivers ended on a high the sixth and closing round of the European Champions that took place in Kristianstad. In KZ, Paolo De Conto was on the podium again. Sasse third in OK-Junior, Di Mauro second in KZ2 and Dennis Hauger great fourth in OK.
Some rain made the final stages of the European Championship even trickier in Sweden, as all categories – namely, KZ, KZ2, OK and OK-Junior, have been battling out the CIK-FIA Continental title. CRG colors eventually obtained very satisfying results.
The circuit of Kristianstad has staged the closer of the European Championship, after the rounds run in Sarno – Italy (KZ, OK, OK-Junior), in Genk – Belgium (KZ, KZ2), in Oviedo – Spain (KZ, OK, OK-Junior), in Le Mans – France (KZ2, OK, OK-Junior) and last week in Alahärmä – Finland (OK-OK-Junior).
DE CONTO KZ EUROPEAN CHAMPION AGAIN
KZ. Paolo De Conto has honoured at best the KZ title mathematically won in Le Mans on CRG-Tm. The Italian driver of CRG secured his second European Championship title after taking the KZ World Championship in Kristianstad in 2016. In Sweden, Paolo De Conto kicked off the weekend with a very last minute problem making him skip qualifying. In the heats he recovered well anyway, installing himself in a briliant fourth place. This has not been the first time during the season that De Conto had to start the Final from the second row of the grid. In fact that happened already in the first two rounds held in Sarno and Genk, where he managed to take the win anyway. In Kristianstad, a recovery was not that easy due also to the wet tarmac, but Paolo De Conto has put in a strong Final anyway, taking a third place in this occasion. Alongside the full haul in Sarno, Genk and Le Mans, the third place taken in Kristianstad confirmed CRG and Paolo De Conto as KZ European Champions in 2017.
Paolo De Conto’s comment at the end of the Final in Kristianstad: “I am very happy with this race because I came here with the title, just to drive without taking penalties which could have compromised the end result. I am happy because I drove on the wet and now we know we need to find something to be quicker. I want to congratulate with my rivals because I run an amazing race without errors but I did not have the speed to win. So congratulations to them and see you in Germany at Wackersdorf for the World Championship”.
In KZ, the two Pex brothers, that have been protagonist of the German DKM Championship in this season, have not been as competitive in Kristianstad: Jorrit Pex was fifth, while his brother Stan Pex had to retire 9 laps into the race.
SASSE THIRD IN OK-JUNIOR
OK-JUNIOR. In the OK-Junior Final, which was run on wet tarmac but without rain falling, the German of CRG TB Racing Team Hugo Sasse confirmed to be the most competitive of CRG drivers during this weekend in Sweden, ending right at the feet of the podium, a result that was later on converted into a P3 due to the penalty handed to Edgar. Sasse, after posting the best absolute time in qualifying and taking the fourth position after heats (a victory and two second places), ended the Final in fourth place, but was later on promoted to third, while the Dutch driver Kas Haverkort of CRG Keijzer Racing followed him. The Brazilian of CRG Gabriel Bortoleto was among the main protagonists of the heats and he managed to install himself in P12 early on in the Final, but then had to concede some positions to end his race in 16th place. Eventually, he was handed a 10s time penalty that relegated him to P20. The Spanish driver Francisco Sagrera was 15th, while Luca Giardelli did not manage to qualify for the Final despite a positive 10th place in the closing qualifying heat, as happened to Donar Munding, Mathias Torreggiani and Davids Trefilovs of SRP Racing Team.
The OK-Junior Final was won by Jack Doohan, while the Championship was won by the British driver Jonny Edgar, who was fourth following a 10s time penalty.
STRONG PERFORMANCE BY DI MAURO, SECOND IN KZ2
KZ2. The Swedish driver of CRG Holland Benjamin Tornqvist had been the quickest of the CRG lot ahead of the KZ2 Final, but he lost 15 positions at the start. The Brazilian Gaetano Di Mauro, managed to recover a lot of positions at the getaway on CRG-Tm instead. He had been previously protagonist of the qualifying stages on the humid tarmac, recovering up to P2 from the starting P14 thanks to some very effective driving. Max Tubben of CRG Holland has also been among the quickest of the Final putting in a stunning recovery from P30, as the Spanish Gerard Cebrian Ariza who started 22nd. At the flag, Gaetano Di Mauro claimed an excellent P2, taking the third podium for CRG in Kristianstad. The young Max Tubben took a very good fourth place. Benjamin Tornqvist eventually recovered up to P11, but was later on relegated to P13 by a penalty. Gerard Cebrian Ariza was 17th. The other Spanish driver of CRG Enrico Prosperi was out of the Final by a whisker, as happened to the Finn Petteri Ruotsalainen and Alessandro Giardelli, the latter despite a good qualifying.
DENNIS HAUGER PROTAGONIST OF OK AGAIN
OK. The closing OK Final was run on a nearly dry circuit and the young Norwegian of CRG Dennis Hauger has been stunning since the start, one of the strongest protagonists despite being in his maiden year following last year’s OK-Junior campaign. Hauger has joined the battle for the lead, taking also P1 for a while, but eventually he slipped down to third until when 7 laps were left to go, when he was overtaken by Travisanutto and closed his effort in P4.
The British 2016 Academy Champion of CRG Callum Bradshaw was sixth recovering some solid 9 positions posting also the fastest lap of the race. CRG Keijzer Racing’s Glenn Van Berlo was 12th leading the German Hannes Janker. The Spanish driver Kilian Meyer ended 20th at the end of a good recovery from the back of the starting grid.
CRG STARTING THE EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIP ON A HIGH
Paolo De Conto won the first round of the KZ European Championship in Sarno, Stan Pex and Mirko Torsellini also put in good races. Gabriel Bortoleto claimed his maiden podium in OK-Junior, while some hiccups affected the performance of CRG drivers in OK.
CRG celebrates with Paolo De Conto, on CRG-Tm-Bridgestone, and Gabriel Bortoleto, on CRG-Parilla-Vega, the first round of the European Championship, as De Conto scored a great victory in KZ, while the young Bortoleto claimed a good second place in OK-Junior.
The first weekend of the CIK-FIA campaign offered good satisfactions to CRG in KZ and also in OK-Junior, thanks to a new young protagonist, but disappointed a bit in OK, where Dennis Hauger was the best of CRG’s lot in P11 and Flavio Camponeschi had to retire due to a technical problem.
DE CONTO LEADING THE CLASSIFICATION IN KZ
Paolo De Conto honoured in the best possible way the title of reigning world champion, winning a great race at the end of an overall good weekend, that had started with a “near” pole position – missed by just 0.002s and a win, a fourth and third place in the three heats.
Paolo De Conto radiant after the victory in Sarno commented the race in this way: “I am really very happy, I knew I could do well. We did a solid step forward compared to the latest WSK races. We found the right way to improve the chassis and engine setups. Stan Pex helped me easing my overtaking to the lead. After that, I did not have any problems and I took the win without pushing 100%. I feel a lot better, I recovered well from the snowboarding incident. This has been a good victory, it is great to start the European Championship in such a way. I needed that. I dedicate this victory to the whole CRG team and to my mechanics.”
Stan Pex also run a strong weekend. Fourth in qualifying and in the Final, he was just three tenths off the podium after taking the lead of the Final for two laps before letting De Conto through at lap five, as the latter kept running towards a dominating win. The two CRG drivers are currently first and third in the standings. The way ahead is still long, but the charts are already led by CRG drivers.
Mirko Torsellini’s debut in KZ with CRG has been very positive too. He has been very quick in the Final, exhibiting a race pace matching that of the pace setters and recovering very well from a difficult start due to the 18th time in qualifying. Torsellini improved to the closing P6 in the Final. Former European champion Andrea Dalè also put in a good performance, ending eighth, while the Spanish Enrico Prosperi was 14th and Jorrit Pex, who crossed the finish line in P6, was relegated to the 15th place by a penalty due to the mis-positioned front fairing. Alessandro Giardelli closed 19th his first race in KZ in what is his first year in a shifter category.
MAIDEN OK-JUNIOR PODIUM FOR BORTOLETO
The young Brazilian of CRG Gabriel Bortoleto has been one of the main protagonists of the OK-Junior in the European weekend of Sarno. After fighting in the leading group, Bortoleto completed a great Final with an excellent second place behind the Briton Jonny Edgar and leading the Belgian-German O’neill Muth. The Dutch driver of CRG Keijzer Racing Kas Haverkort had to retire after taking the pole position and setting the new absolute record of the circuit of Sarno for the category in 59.159s. Alongside Haverkort, Bortoleto had been very fast in qualifying posting a 59.179s as his best time in the first of the three qualifying sessions, which confirmed the great speed of the CRG-Parilla equipment. Bortoleto is currently second in the championship just 4 points shy of the lead.
Among CRG finalists, the German Luca Maisch of CRG TB Racing Team was 11th, the Spaniard Francisco Sagrera was 18th and Jose Antonio Gomez 21st. The French Gillian Henrion, the German Donar Munding and the Italians Luca Giardelli and Mathias Torreggiani could not get access to the Final instead.
HAUGER BEHIND, CAMPONESCHI DNF IN OK
In OK, Dennis Hauger did his best to recover from an unlucky qualifying where he was only 37th. Hauger recovered well in the three heats, but in the fourth and decisive race he was stopped by an incident. The Norwegian driver of CRG has started the Final from the 18th spot of the grid and closed his effort in P11. Flavio Camponeschi also managed to recover well in the heats from the 28th time posted in qualifying. The Italian started the Final as 13th, but had to give up shortly after due to a technical problem. The other CRG finalist, Glenn Van Berlo of CRG Keijzer Racing, ended 20th. Michael Rosina, Hannes Janker, Kilian Meyer could not qualify for the Final, while Callum Bradshaw had the ill-starred idea to put the dropped front fairing back at the end of one heat, and for this reason he has been disqualified from the event. Bradshaw has not been the first to do this, the first driver to do so was in fact a former world champion a couple of years ago. He will certainly not be the last either, until this debated front fairing rule will be valid.