July 8th 2017 – Starting off the weekend on a high note, and ending it on a low one proved to be a tough weekend with many curve balls in the third round of the Rotax Nationals in DD2 class for Fabienne at iDube raceway.
Testing the Formula K, in preparation for the race was all on schedule as she topped the time sheets a few times.
Leading up to qualifying, Fabienne’s engine decided to give up, and so the team had to resort to the spare engine for the rest of the weekend, but this lead to complications in the performance during the remainder of the sessions with lack of power.
As the atmosphere intensified Qualifying took place, in an exciting super pole where the drivers do 3 laps solo. Qualifying went well and Fabienne qualified 5th, just as a engine misfire reared its head.
As the team prepared the kart after a unsuccessful warm up and still not finding the misfire, a front right tyre puncture set the precedence for the remainder of the day. A replacement tyre request was granted, but no new ones were available. Luckily a fellow competitor kindly gave Fabienne a pre-worn spare so she could continue the session.
For the beginning stages of the race day, this would be a perfect fix, however for the last heat of the day, this tyre took maximum strain and under steer gave Fabienne a fight for the final heat of 20 laps.
The first heat showed very good potential, then the misfire came back during the last 6 laps of the 15 lap race, thankfully Fabienne finished the race to pull through to a 5th place finish.
Fabienne and Ivana Cetinich managed to top the time sheet, which gave her Pole and Fabienne had to settle for 2nd place start in heat 2.
Heat 2 went better than anticipated, Fabienne managed to sort the misfire, but it brought back bad memories of the Rotax International in 2016 where Rotax could not rectify this at the Grand Final.
Strategically, all Fabienne could do was to sit tight behind Ivana to bag points as the main contenders fought it out behind them and left both girls enough gap to stay ahead.
“I was quicker at the wrong places on track, so it was just not enough to overtake Ivana, it would have been a big risk to make a move on her and may have caused us both to crash and it was a very special moment in Motor racing to achieve this, so settling for 2nd place is what I decided to do,” said Fabienne post race.
“Starting the last heat in 4th position was not an easy place to start, as it is the outside line. I did push through however and came out the first lap in 5th. I sat there for a while looking strong to make my way through to the front, but the front tyre couldn’t hold out. So I had a nice tussle with Ivana and pipped her on the last lap, last corner to take 5th position which gave us 3rd overall for the day.”
“The final results proved to be bitter sweet in the end, as one of my nose cone clips un-clipped itself and I got a nose cone infringement penalty of 10 seconds which demoted me to 12th place. Ridiculous to say the least. If the nose cone is bumped off from bumping into someone, that’s fair enough, but I never bumped into anyone, and the rule does not allow a situation like this to be investigated in the South African rules. In Europe, drivers are allowed to prove their innocence, and bring a case, or watch the video footage and if innocent, then no penalty is given. This rule of your here definitely needs to be looked into as Its not promotional for the sport in South Africa”, commented a disappointed Fabienne.