Zwartkops Kart Raceway, Saturday, August 20,2016-With tickets for the winners up for grabs to the Rotax World Finals, all the drivers this weekend at the Africa Open were on top form aiming for those special tickets to Italian Finals in October.
The Rotax Senior Max ( Formula K ) went like clockwork for Fabienne, especially the handling of the kart, it was like a dream come true. The level of grip on the track made life so much easier for her this time out and Fabienne was in her element.
In the pre-final 1 and pre-final 2, everything was perfect, maintaining a good lead to win both heats and preserving her tyres for the 20 lap final.
The rain clouds were threatening for the Final which threw a curve ball into the works however the start of the race was good and Fabienne managed to pull a nice lead. After about 6 laps however it started to rain making conditions slippery. Fabienne cautiously backed off and took it easy on braking to try to maintain the lead. Thankfully the sun gods were smiling on Fabienne as the rain stopped 2 laps to go and she brought home the victory in the Senior Max class with her Formula K kart.
Without much of a chance to rest up Fabienne quickly made a dash to her Praga kart a she was up for the next DD2 Final races in only 15minutes.
In advance of the Africa Open, Fabienne had been strategically testing her new Praga kart with different engine and chassis set ups during the Regional event at the beginning of August.
Fabienne only received her Praga kart just before the Regional at the beginning August and has been working hard on the kart set up with limited time.
“The Praga DD2 had some more challenges being a new kart to us and every set up decision worked in our favor. We had a slight hic-up on Friday as we had the gearbox break on us. So we ran off to rent another engine, luckily we got one from Punjabi race engines.”
“The engine was great and I was confident to get back on the map as on Saturday morning warm up we were quickest. But in Qualifying we only had a 3 lap qualifier and on my 2nd lap I was a tad over eager and overshot a fast left hander to lose .1 of a second to then qualify in 4th place.”
“The first pre final deemed a disaster as I felt something was wrong with the seat on the grid. On the start the kart handled weird and I lost a lot of places trying to understand what this kart is doing to then quickly realize the seat had broken clean off. It was a difficult race as the kart was suffering from the loose seat and roughly 17-19 kg hanging on it, me bouncing all over the show. I then managed to find a reasonable pace and plan to then come through in 7th place.”
After fitting another new seat, the team prepared for the pre-final 2, starting in 5th place. This heat was much better and Fabienne pulled through to third position, which meant a 5th place on the grid for the Final.
In DD2 class for African Open, the first and second drivers qualify for the Rotax World Grand Final ticket invitation. Fabienne, having one ticket in the bag already she was still gunning to win this race as well.
“The start was great I moved into 4th place and in lap two I went into 3rd, from there I stayed in 3rd position for most of the race. The beginning stages were strong and then from the damage done to the tyres from heat one, they started to go off and the understeer got worse which was very tricky to manage. We then moved into 2nd position on the last lap and ended 2nd.”
“I want to give a big shout out to the crew for the endless hours and effort and to my dad for being there since day one seeing how I drove for the first time in the indoor karting to today. To my Academy Drivers and parents for their rooting support, we have an awesome group of kids in the squad and to Punjabi engines, Werner Viet photography, XSPORT and a big thank you to Formula K South Africa and to Praga South Africa for being behind me all the way with great machines.”
Now Fabienne will take some time to celebrate before more hard work to prepare for the trip to the Rotax World Finals in Sarno, Napoli Italy on October 22nd.