Wackersdorf returns to the FIA Karting calendar this year after hosting the 2017 World Championship. This time it is to launch the FIA Karting European Championship – KZ and KZ2, as well as the 10th edition of the FIA Karting Academy Trophy from 3rd to 5th May, 2019 for the second Competition of the season.
Of the 154 Drivers on the entry list, international diversity is broader than ever with 50 nations and five continents represented. The FIA Karting Academy Trophy has opened up to new horizons in its mission of detecting young talents from around the world, but the KZ2 category also confirms its attractiveness for Drivers from 20 different countries, an eloquent score for a European Competition. Italy is the top nation numerically with 28 representatives, but France (14), Sweden (13) and the Netherlands (12) are solidly represented ahead of Germany, Spain and the Czech Republic.
A more open field in KZ
The FIA Karting European Championship – KZ is tailor-made for the most successful Drivers, true specialists of the discipline, often representing major brands. Former World Champions Paolo De Conto (ITA), Marco Ardigo (ITA), Jorrit Pex (NLD) and Pedro Hiltbrand (ESP) are the perfect example, along with renowned talents such as Stan Pex (NLD), Marijn Kremers (NLD), Alessandro Irlando (ITA), Jérémy Iglesias (FRA), Simo Puhakka (FIN), Anthony Abbasse (FRA) and Bas Lammers (NLD), as well as Fabian Federer (ITA), an expert in gearbox racing. Both honoured in KZ2 last year, Adrien Renaudin (FRA) and Matteo Vigano (ITA) have this time progressed to the top class with other talented Drivers able to interfere in the fight for victory. Bridgestone supplies the tyres for KZ.
Unpredictable confrontation in KZ2
78 Drivers have registered for the first Competition of the FIA Karting European Championship – KZ2 which will also be fitted with Bridgestone tyres. In the absence of the outgoing Champion, now in KZ, the protagonists of last year will spread their wings. This is the case for the Italians Giacomo Pollini, Alessio Piccini, Giuseppe Palomba and Riccardo Longhi, as well as Frenchmen Emilien Denner, Pierre Loubere and Hubert Petit, all in the top 10 in 2018. It will also be necessary to watch out for Andrea Dale (ITA) returning from KZ this year, David Vidales Ajenjo (ESP) en route to cars, Benjamin Tornqvist Persson (SWE), shining on the same circuit he did at the 2017 FIA Karting International Super Cup, and Daniel Bray (NZL), capable of challenging for victory. On their home territory some Germans could join the fight: Alexander Schmitz, Andre Matisic, Maximilian Paul, or maybe Valentino Fritsch who has just made his debut in KZ2.
Discovering talent with the Academy
The 10th edition of the FIA Karting Academy Trophy continues its role of revealing and training talent from around the world with 51 Drivers from 47 countries on five continents. After a very convincing three year period, OTK Kart Group won the new tender for 2019, 2020 and 2021 for the supply of one-design chassis and engines. Bridgestone is the exclusive tyre supplier, while OMP clothes Drivers and mechanics.
Each new season renews the forces involved. This year, only four drivers are repeating. Among them, Robert De Haan (NLD), despite his large stature, can be considered as one of the possible favourites as can Kajus Siksnelis (LTU) or rookies like Christian Ho (SGP), Paolo Ferrari (ITA), Maxwell Dodds (GBR), without prejudging the skills of contenders less well-known in Europe.
The FIA Karting Academy Trophy will start on Wednesday, 1st May, with an information session on doping and an opening briefing. Drivers will be able to familiarise themselves with their equipment on Thursday, 2nd May with three Free Practice sessions of 20 minutes. All categories will enter the track Friday, 3rd May for three more Free Practice sessions before their Qualifying Heats between 15:30 and 17:00. The Qualifying Heats will occupy all day on Saturday, 4th May, between 9:30 and 16:20, before finishing on Sunday, 5th May from 9:30 to 11:25. The KZ2 Final will start at 12:50, the Academy Final will then start at 13:55 and the KZ Final at 14:55.