Sarno, Italy, Nov 7th, 2016-Proudly representing South Africa as part of an eleven strong team, Fabienne had a challenging time at the 2016 Rotax World Finals, and right from the first day it was an uphill struggle as she campaigned in the DD2 class.
Naturally the World Finals would be a challenge at the unfamiliar Sarno Circuit and also racing the BirelART chassis which Fabienne had never raced before. Added to this she was racing on the newly launched Rotax D3 tyre, completing the new experience.
During the first few days, set up was crucial to get the best out of the kart for the heats, and by the third day Fabienne was in the top 20 which was encouraging, despite the rain and damp conditions.
After a few more experimental changes in set up, on the Wednesday morning Fabienne set the fastest lap time in the first Qualifying heat and moved up from 11th to 4th overall.
Unfortunately during this time a misfire appeared which hindered her progress for the remainder of the week.
“I was struggling to get the misfire sorted out, and I was getting frustrated and concerned that it could lead to a complete failure at the wrong time on the track”.
“Qualifying heat 2 was a disaster as the driver in front of me bogged down on the start badly, plus the added false start from the pole man, dropped me almost to last position and I had to fight my way every lap defending and overtaking to finish 16th.”
“We made some more changes for Qualifying heat 3 which went a lot better, we were lying in 7th position when the brakes started to fade on me again and I couldn’t brake late and thus dropped down to 9th.”
“All in all it was a good 3 heats as we got 7th position to start for the Pre Final. At this point we were looking fairly strong besides the misfire worry which hinders a certain amount of performance, but the bigger worry was that it may fail completely and cause the engine to stop. After having the kart numerous times at the Rotax technicians, they kept returning the kart to me as no fault was found.”
“So I had to start the pre-final race on Friday morning in 7th, and on the start, the engine completely died, I had literally 3 seconds of racing off the line, and that was the end of my race in the Grand Finals. Due to the heavy rainfall, the race was red flagged but I couldn’t re-start as I hadn’t completed enough laps. All drivers need to qualify 18th place or higher in the Pre Final heat to make the Final for Saturday. So all the week we did prove we were one of the fastest in our class, but all that counts for nothing if you can’t get off the grid in the pre-final. There are no points awarded for previous qualifying or performance, which is really disappointing.”
“I’ll just continue to keep the chin up and move forward because we know we were strong contenders and it showed on track, it was nice to get a few compliments after the races, even from some team owners and the reigning champion which was really appreciated, and we tried to put on a good show for the spectators”.
“I would also like to express a big thank you to our Sponsors which is greatly appreciated namely, iCubed Capital, SteelForm and Seychelles Eden Island as my personal sponsors.”
“Also it was a great effort to the crew and my family, always a superb effort, who are often unknown and working to support me behind the scenes their endless support means more than words.”
“And lastly I would like to thank the Rotax camera crew for the awesome video they made of me ! ”