Jan 18th, 2014 -Starting the year off with a bang, Fabienne campaigned in a double header of rounds 7 & 8 in the UAE Rotax Max Championship on 17th – 18th Jan, It turned out another eventful weekend for the Karting Star.
Fabienne previously campaigned in one round of the Rotax Championship in April 2012 in the Senior Max category as it’s known locally with a 125cc Rotax engine single gear kart where she whisked her way through the to an all round winning score by qualifying on Pole Position and winning all three heats. She became the first lady to win a round of the championship in Dubai.
This time around she will be competing in the DD2 category (Direct Drive 2 Gears) in the Formula-K chassis that was rented from the local dealer. Fabienne, last season was thwarted by engine failure but achieved runner up in the Rotax African Open DD2 category in 2012, in Kwa-Zulu Natal, South Africa.
For most of round 1 on the Friday, Fabienne battled to set up the kart and find an ideal solution for the track, using an unfamiliar chassis than her own F2 type in South Africa she found it difficult to find the optimum set up with the equipment she had been given. Finishing sixth was the best she could hope for during the heats.
“For race two we decided to change the engine in heat two, as we tried everything on the first engine. The 2nd engine was much better but we had to change the kart set up again. The first 3 heats are drawn randomly on a computer. So i started 6th, 16th and 6th, then after the three heats, the one scoring most points started first.”
In the first heat Fabienne ended up 6th, still with the old engine, she also struggled in the 2nd heat starting in 16th place, muscling her way through the field into 5th. By this time the kart felt much faster and for heat three other changes were made.
At the start of heat 3, Fabienne had a turbo start and went from 6th into 2nd by the 2nd corner. Then on exit of turn 12 got a big sideways shunt from another driver and fell back, where she lost the contention of leading and possibly winning that heat all together at that very moment, and ended 5th.
So for the final, which was delayed into twilight cooler evening, Fabienne fitted new tyres, as did all other top guys. Again getting a bullet start again from 5th into 3rd by 2nd corner, she was pipped by Sanad Al Rawahi going into turn 7 just out the tunnel. From there it was a ‘tug of war’ amongst the top drivers, Fabienne was still struggling with tyre pressures. They then went on to fight each other every lap and in the end Fabienne was right next to Pierce Pakcenham-Walsh crossing the finish line, only missing the 3rd place by 0.093.
“The start /finish line was just too close as I sling shot to overtake Pierce and try pip him across the line. It was so close, I don’t think you can blink that fast. I would like to thank the fellow competitors for applauding my effort after the race. Your cheering is greatly appreciated and puts a big smile on my face.”
“I want to also say a big thank you to IVECO, GS Computing and Formula-K team UAE, GS Computing and Private sponsors, and all my fans and supporters.”