2012 CIK-FIA European Superkart Championship

Submitted by Allan Litten on Thu, 27/09/2012 - 11:29
Source: (http://www.mediasuperkart.com/19852-maasman-harpham-dans-un-face-a-face-pour-le-titre)

[b]Maasmann & Harpham go head-to-head for the title[/b]

The 2012 CIK-FIA European Superkart Championship reaches its climax at Le Mans, France, on 28-30 September, and one thing is certain: there will be a new Champion. Whatever the results of the two races at Le Mans, the former Champions racing this year, British Driver Gavin Bennett (Anderson/DEA) and Frenchmen Damien Payart (Anderson/FPE) and Emmanuel Vinuales (Anderson/DEA), cannot now be crowned 2012 European Superkart supremos.

Just as last year, the Championship goes down to a last-event shoot-out between the top two contenders. The Flying Dutchman Marcel Maasmann (Anderson/FPE) leads the Championship standings by just 6 points from Britain’s Lee Harpham (also Anderson/FPE). But if we deduct the two lowest scores of each Driver, as the rules require, they are tied equally on the same points tally.

Mathematically, the Dane Henrik Lilja (PVP/PVP) can still win the title. But it is a highly unlikely scenario. He would need two victories. A 1st and a 2nd would not be good enough. Even with two wins, Lilja would need Massmann to finish no higher than in 14th place in either race. He would also need Harpham to gather no more than 8 points in total from the two races.

So it is highly likely that whichever of Maasmann and Harpham has the better results at Le Mans will be Champion. These two have dominated this Championship with both having three wins in the six races already run. If they both won one race and came second in the other, then they would have equal points in the Championship.

We therefore have a Netherlands vs. Great Britain match-up. But there is another ingredient. They are team-mates in John Riley’s Redspeed team. And the team culture is to share all data and prepare the karts on an equal footing. So, just as Gavin Bennett and Emmanuel Vinuales had their 2011 shoot-out for the crown, Marcel Maasmann and Lee Harpham will do the same in 2012, but driving from the same pit garage. It is a mouth-watering prospect.

Another change from recent years is that the 2012 Champion will not be powered by the Italian DEA engine. The perceived wisdom in Superkart circles in recent seasons has been that you cannot win this Championship without a DEA. Henrik Lilja is powered by the PVP engine developed by former World Champion Poul V. Petersen. But the greater likelihood is that the new Champion will be harnessing the improved performance of the revitalised French FPE motor.

But whilst 2012 will witness a new Champion powered by a different engine, unless Lilja defies the huge odds against him, Anderson will once again be the chassis that takes the Champion to his title.

But of course nothing is ever that simple in Superkart racing. Even if the fight is now effectively a two-horse race, there is no certainty that the races must be won by those Drivers. Consider the former Champions. Gavin Bennett will not want to go through the Championship without a single victory. He cannot regain his title but he can make the Championship podium and that should be a big motivation.

The same applies to Damien Payart. His blank return from the first event at Hockenheim, Germany, effectively ruined his title chances right at the start. We can however count on the 2003/4 champion wanting to “put the record straight” with a home victory in France.

Likewise with 2011 Champion Emmanuel Vinuales. His title defence has been little short of disastrous with just a 2nd place at Snetterton, GB, to give us a glimpse of this true form. But whilst even a Championship podium is out of reach, a rousing finish in front of his home fans would be some compensation for his tame surrender of the title.

Czech Driver Adam Kout (MS Kart/DEA) has a realistic shot at making the Championship Top 3. He was twice on the podium in Hockenheim and 4th in Race 1 at Snetterton. But three consecutive 7th place finishes since then have been disappointing to him. If the likeable Czech Driver can regain the form of earlier in the season he will be a front runner again and could reach the podium again.

The emergence of the Holland’s Romano de Ruit (Anderson/FPE) as a genuine top flight Superkart racer has been one of the more satisfying aspects of the 2012 season. He has never been out of the Top 6 in the races he has contested and he will be looking to consolidate this form at Le Mans.

German, Daniel Hentschel (Anderson/DEA) was 3rd in last year’s Championship but has not stepped on the podium in any of the six Championship races. He is overdue for a good result and could end a disappointing season on a relatively high note at Le Mans.

Finally, this event will see more French Drivers racing than in any previous Championship round. Alexandra Sebastia (MS Kart/FPE) could achieve a Top 10 finish if not better.

Entry list

Timing

What the title contenders say

Marcel Maasmann: “It was a great result for me at Assen especially in front of a big Dutch crowd. So I know I am fast enough and good enough to win races and the Championship. But I need a strong finish at Le Mans, and that is what I will be going for.”

Lee Harpham: “I have to be positive. So I don’t see 2nd and 3rd places in the Netherlands as defeats, but instead as valuable Championship points scored. Those points now give me every chance of winning the Championship at Le Mans providing I find my best form as I did at Hockenheim and Snetterton. If I do, I can win this Championship.”

Henrik Lilja: “This is so frustrating. I know I am as fast as Marcel and Lee. I proved that by qualifying on pole position at Assen. But most frustrating is not yet having a single race win in the Championship. That is the only difference between me and Lee and Marcel.”