After three successful years in a row, edition 2018 of the KZ World Championship held in Genk (Belgium) did not celebrate a CRG driver on the top step of the podium. This does not mean that the performance of CRG drivers and chassis was not spot on.
CRG colors have been a synonym of KZ, a leading role that has been achieved with tens of International victories, the latest of which is the CIK-FIA 2018 European Championship taken with Jorrit Pex.
CRG has been winning at least one of the two titles KZ and KZ2 for 7 years in a row and the World Championship held in Genk confirmed the edge of the Italian company, that counted the highest number of chassis present in the official Entry List: 7 drivers out of 34 in KZ and 22 of the 106 of KZ2 chose in fact to compete on a CRG chassis. This meaningful statistics is further improved by the drivers on track for Maranello, DR and GP Racing, with which CRG has a technological partnership in place.
The circuit of Genk has been a great setting for this important event that counted more than 4.000 spectators that certainly enjoyed the great spectacle put on by the International Karting categories KZ and KZ2. The event kicked off in the best possible way for CRG, as Fabian Federer (Team SRP) posted the pole position, but an unlucky episode unfortunately stopped Paolo De Conto, Pedro Hiltbrand and Jorrit Pex in qualifying (water leak on De Conto’s kart).
This troubled start did not allow these drivers to secure a top ten start on the Final’s starting grid, nor to work at best to prepare the Final during the heats, as CRG drivers always had some ground to get back and were busy recovering from the back of the pack. Qualifying stages are in fact very useful moment to fine tune all the technical details that indeed make the difference in such a highly competitive event. Despite this, the performance of all CRG drivers have been excellent in the Final, which confirmed the remarkable quality of the CRG-TM material and the high level of all the drivers of the Racing Team and partner teams.
Fabian Federer claimed P3, taking another World Championship podium that makes his great season even richer. Paolo De Conto managed to climb up to P5 posting the fastest lap of the race. Jorrit Pex also run a strong race and closed right behind him. Pedro Hiltbrand was less lucky instead, as he was stopped by a technical problem early on when he was among the quickest on track. Stan Pex and Andrea Dalè also put in very good performances both in the Final and in qualifying stages.
In KZ2 Emilien Denner could not score another great result after the great weekend of Lonato in the European Championship and the KZ2 Cup victory in DKM. The French had to pay the fee of a DNF in the first heat and could not compete at his usual standards in this occasion. The Brazilian Gaetano Di Mauro was the best of CRG drivers and deservedly came close to the podium ending 4th.
Important figures have been scored by CRG in KZ2, as the Italian company counted the highest number of drivers qualified for the Final on its chassis. The World Championship is run in one single weekend and this does not leave any room for errors, as there is no chance to bounce back from a DNF, as it is the case of championships run on several rounds.
The comment of the protagonists:
Fabian Federer (KZ, Team CRG – SRP): “I am happy for the end result because I have been slowed down by an accelerator problem in the closing stages, therefore the podium and the pole position are two great results in such an important event. We had an excellent balance on the kart and we came close to fight for the win.”
Paolo De Conto (KZ): ”In a high level competition like the World Championship the problem in qualifying affected our work a lot. In the heats we have always been forced to recover positions and we could not focus on refining the setup and carburetor tunings. Starting below P10 in the Final, I lost a lot of time in the initial stages to find my rhythm and close in on the front runners, but I managed to climb up the field well. I always lapped on very good lap times. Obviously, had we started in the first two rows, the race would have been completely different. Some episodes hit on our results this year, unfortunately, both here at the World Championship and at the European Championship.”
Pedro Hiltbrand (KZ): “The good thing of this World Championship is the great speed we showed since free practice. After the problem in qualifying and a penalty for the front fairing the starting position was obviously too far from the front to aim to the victory. At the beginning of the Final I could not get some positions back in the heat of the start, but despite of this I had a great pace and I could end very close to the podium, had it not been for the problem that stopped me early. We have to look at the good performance of our material and focus on coming back stronger in the next appointments. I would like to thank the whole team for the hard work done over the weekend and TM that provided us, as always, with an excellent support regarding engines.”
Gaetano Di Mauro (KZ2): “I am very happy for this great result: I am proud for being in the best 5 drivers in the World at this World Cup. The team did an exceptional work and to me the team’s work has been fundamental, as I do not compete much in European races. We had the perfect setup for the Final, great cornering speed, effective braking and traction. I could have finished on the podium for sure, but when I attacked Renaudin he defended himself very well and we both lost out to Vidales. This does not take anything from the satisfaction of competing at high levels for the whole racing weekend.”
Glenn Keyaert (Team Manager CRG): “We are a bit disappointed because De Conto and Hiltbrand had the potential to fight for the victory, but some unlucky episodes hit their chances badly. From a technical standpoint, the balance is positive even if the result could have been a lot better. We have been very competitive and this is very important for the impact that the racing activity has on the production of our karts. The work done by our engine partners at TM has been excellent and our package has been once again among the strongest of KZ. We have to congratulate our partner team SRP and Fabian Federer for the podium, CRG Holland and Pex brothers that confirmed their speed in the category. We also put in excellent performances in KZ2 and we missed out on taking the podium by a whisker. We have always won a World title in KZ or KZ2 in the past 7 years, next year we will come back stronger to climb on the top step of the podium. Now we congratulate the winners and look at the next appointments of this season.”
Complete results are available at www.cikfia.com.