Karting Round 3 Preview

This is the second of three posts, the first discussed rule changes and can be found here and the final one coming tomorrow will go over the championship possibilities in more detail than this preview post will. Parts of this description will be regurgitated from August as well. We will first go through the tracks, then the drivers and finish with the current points.

the tracks
The race will again be taking place at Crawley on one of their two tracks.

The grand prix track is the shorter of the two circuits but it is also the twistier. From the short straight you brake as little as you dare and fire it up the hill, this is where being as light as possible is of top importance. Once there you find a quick left right flick where Jun caused a red flag at Christmas as he got swamped off the line. This was also where Helen was hit from behind in August causing her kart to stall, visibility makes an impact here especially costly as it is in a blind spot for the marshalls. Usually though this chicane is flat and spits you back down the hill. Once you reach the bottom you find yourself staring at a hairpin, there isn’t a lot of grip round here and it is easy to lose the back end and lose a lot of time with it. Once through, head to the outside and then dart for the apex of the next corner with your foot flat to the floor, if you lift off here you will compromise your pace onto the straight. At the end of said straight brake again for another chicane, the first part is tricky to judge the braking for, aiming for the inside seems the best option. Get the second part right and you will carry good speed back onto the start/finish straight for another lap.

The Le Mans track at Crawley is slightly longer and more dramatic with bumps in the track and tight low grip corners, the downhill section is also exciting. From the start line, brake and turn left up the hill, at the top of the which you will have lost speed and so will be able to take the hairpin left flat. A short straight follows before another hairpin, a slight lift gets your round here before a bumpy straight towards the toughest corner of either track. This is a left hander that you always feel you could have taken better. Brake in, aim for the apex and then power out but get it wrong and the walls are close by. A short straight leads you down the hill into a right hander where if you get the entry right you can get through with just a lift. This is a very satisfying corner if you get it right… very painful if you get it wrong. From here it is flat back to the start line and the lap is over. This track hides driver ability to some extent and we were all very close (the top three were within 0.4).

the drivers (points – total races – best result)
Ceri Almrott (0 – 0 races – N/A)
Ceri has karting experience and introduced Jonathan to karting (and F1) around 10 years ago at an old Crawley track. He soundly thrashed Jonathan who was unable to negotiate the first corner on any lap… Should be strong even if he does prove rusty in comparison to others.

Stephen Franklin – (3pts – 1 race – 6th (Aug 10))
Showed well on his first attempt in August finishing in the top half of the field and having a good battle with Patrick in the first half of the race. Should be able to build on that this time out and possibly move forward.

Patrick Hill – (5pts – 4 races – 3rd (Oct 09))
It was mentioned in the August preview that Patrick just needs to find that little bit extra to get on the pace of the leaders. He then went out and found some of that pace in August getting a brilliant 4th place. In November testing he improved further setting his personal best laps. Consistency is not a problem for Patrick and it seems that outright speed will soon not be either.

Felicity Kensett – (6pts – 3 races – 2nd (Aug 09))
Flick had a very strong showing in August with a third placed finish which could have been second had it not been for a Jonathan induced spin on lap 15. A serious podium contender this time out and a win could give her the title.

Craig King – (10pts – 2 races – 1st (May 10))
Only getting stronger, his leaders pace is definitely there, this weekend will prove whether he has the consistency to be champion. A first place again here would make him champion and a second would at the least tie him for the title.

Beth Little – (5pts – 4 races – 5th (May 10))
Qualifying 5th in August was a highlight. She just needs to work on her pace over a long run as she fell to 8th in the race though she easily beat those drivers thought to be at her level.

Beverley Little – (0 – 4 races – 4th (Oct 09))
Considering where she was 18 months ago her pace has come on a lot and she is regularly further forward now than she was back then.

Helen Little – (6pts – 4 races – 3rd (Aug 09, Dec 09, May 10))
Very unfortunate to stall in August thanks to a tap. Dropped her to near last from which she never really recovered. The 3rd on the grid showed her abilities as did her 3rd place in May. A good hard passer who stands a decent chance of scoring the title with a win.

Jonathan Little – (16pts – 5 races – 1st (Aug 09, Oct 09))
Has not won since Oct 09 when he faced fairly easy competition. Seems a perennial bridesmaid having never finished lower than second. Knows that he needs a win to secure the title.

Trefor Little – (4pts – 4 races – 2nd (Oct 09))
Seems to seriously struggle to get a hold on the machine in the first session each time finishing last in both August and the October test by several seconds. By the time the lights go out on Monday though he will be dialled in and expect him to finish well above whereever he starts. If he can break the string of bad pace in the qualifying a top four finish is on the cards.

Thomas McCorkell – (3pts – 2 races – 6th (May 10))
Thomas having never driven a vehicle before the May event has done very well in both his events so far. Will be interesting to see if the progression continues this week. If so expect him to get close to the points.

Sarah Penberthy – (0 – 0 races – N/A)
Has never karted before making her the only true rookie in the field. Will be interesting to see how she does but could be a points contender as the race goes on.

Current Points:
1. Jonathan Little – 16pts
2. Craig King – 10pts
3. Matt Teager – 10pts
4. Catherine Leopold – 7pts
5. Helen Little – 6pts
5. Felicity Kensett – 6pts
7. Patrick Hill – 5pts
8. Beth Little – 5pts
9. Trefor Little – 4pts
10. Thomas McCorkell – 3pts
10. Stephen Franklin – 3pts
12. Rachel Ross – 2pts

finishing position
driver 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 >8
Jonathan Little 18 16 16 16 16 16 16 16 16
Craig King 20 18 16 15 14 13 12 11 10
Catherine Leopold 15 13 11 10 9 8 7 7 6
Helen Little 16 14 12 11 10 9 8 7 6
Felicity Kensett 16 14 12 11 10 9 8 6 5
Patrick Hill 15 13 11 10 9 8 7 6 5
Beth Little 14 12 10 9 8 7 6 5 4
Trefor Little 14 12 10 9 8 7 6 5 4

November testing times: (session 1, session 2)
1. Jonathan (28.55, 28.61)
2. Patrick (29.48, 29.52)
3. Beth (31.24, 31.19)
4.Trefor (32.44, 31.22)
5. Beverley (31.85, 31.92)

Things learnt from November testing: Patrick goes fastest when being chased, Beth is now quicker than my parents. We are all getting more consistent (except my father).

Join me again tomorrow for the deciphering of the above points table.