Apr 23rd 2015-Travelling from the warmer climes of her native South Africa, Fabienne arrived in a cold and damp spring weekend in Salbris, France to contest the opening round of the Rotax European Championship with Team Brand Racing with Formula K in the DD2 class.
With semi wet conditions hampering progress all weekend, and the constantly changing track conditions, proved a long and difficult weekend for Fabienne.
With unfavorable conditions Fabienne still managed to muscle her way through each qualifying heat. Qualifying in 22nd position, it didn’t go according to her plan as she struggled to get the kart to follow her lead.
Fabienne’s progress over the weekend were plagued with electrical failures, and an unfortunate shunt on the start, left her with the kart unable to finish in heat 2, and finally in qualifying heat 3, the team saw a glimmer of hope as conditions cleared and suited the set up more at that moment, Fabienne finished 7th just 3 tenths of a second off the fastest drivers.
Hoping that this was the start of some progress, things seemed to look better for the pre-final as with the kart now finally on pace Fabienne could aim for a top 10 finish.
The day of the Final was full sunshine but still with a wind chill and starting in 28th position, Fabienne had a long way to go to make her way to the front of the field.
“I had my mind set on the statistics of how many I karts had to overtake in the pre-final and then in the Final to get to the top 10 finish,” commented Fabienne.
“Unfortunately again the kart was unstable and we had to fight it out where I was. The slightest nudge in the rear would spin me around because the kart struggled with grip. I made up some positions and then lost 10 after being spun and shunted off circuit, eventually we came home in 25th overall for the weekend.”
“After analyzing the race week proved we did have good pace, but only at limited times. We came to the conclusion that the common problem I always face is the large amounts of added weights I have to carry to make the minimum weight. As a woman, i’m naturally less muscular and lighter than a man of same height, so I had one heavy race weekend.”
“I tell myself ‘When you are winning, you are not learning’, this is the only way to keep growing and keep pushing to the top. Racing a kart twice my weight will always try to make me the passenger. It’s the challenges I face, but its also the reason that makes me the racing driver of precision and perfection.
“Now i want to focus on trying to raise the additional funds for the next race which is in Italy, where i hope we will have better chance of a podium,” concluded Fabienne.
2015 Rotax Max Euro Challenge dates and venues:
Round 1: 30 March to 5 April in Salbris, France
Round 2: 25 to 31 May in Castelleto, Italy
Round 3: 20 to 26 July in Wackersdorf, Germany
Round 4: 31 August to 6 September in Genk, Belgium