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Editorial | An impossible overtaking: the magic of Nyck De Vries that earned him his first world title (as a ...

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An impossible overtaking, Zuera 2010 The magic of Nyck De Vries that earned him his first world title (as a rookie)

29 July 2022 • 7 min. read

Overtaking is one of the key moments of a kart race, if not the "key moment" par excellence. But not all overtakings are the same, the contrary is true: it can be easy, risky, clean, spectacular...
Among all of them, in this special edition of the "Editorial" column we are, however, solely interested in one type: that of "Impossible Overtakings" . Gestures for the most unthinkable, almost insane. Flashes of genius that happen because someone believed in the impossible and because, often, someone else wanted to avoid ending up out of the race, facilitating the manoeuver that would in fact otherwise be... Impossible! Like the time in the final of the KF2 world championship a young Dutch rookie braked in an unimaginable manner, on the last lap, which earned him his first world championship.

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It was 19 September 2010 and, in Zuera, among the drivers awaiting the start of the KF2 World Championship final there was also a certain Nyck De Vries, a young Dutchman with high hopes in his first year among the seniors of single-speed karting, but former European KF3 champion and titled driver in the “McLaren Young Driver Programme”. Like his opponents on the starting grid, De Vries had just survived a weekend with a format with real “tough guys” on the track. In fact, that year, due to some friction between manufacturers and CIK-FIA, the Super KF World Championship did not take place and the KF2 event in Zuera became the only seasonal chance for the entire universe of direct-drive karting of winning the class’s world title. The result? 125 pilots entered, a simply abnormal number. The International Federation immediately took action by changing the format of the weekend and finding a solution never tried before: qualification on Friday, division of the 125 participants into two macro groups, three heats available to each driver to access the final stages and the event final scheduled for Sunday at 2.30 pm (to comply with broadcasting agreements with a well-known international sports broadcaster). In short, those who made mistakes were almost certain of being cut out.

Born in 1995, Nyck De Vries was one of the most promising talents on the international karting scene between 2008 and 2011. Among the many successes achieved with the Chiesa Corse team of Dino Chiesa, the European KF3 championship in 2009 and the two world championships (KF2 in 2010 and KF1 in 2011). Signed by McLaren in 2010, De Vries was then the author of a notable career in motoring: he was crowned Formula 2 champion in 2019 and Formula E world champion in the 2020-21 season.

Controversy, confusion and zero margin for error: in these contexts it is always expected that the most experienced and highly rated drivers in the class will emerge. Yet Nyck De Vries did not let himself be caught unprepared: in fact, on board his Zanardi chassis powered by Parrilla the pupil of the Chiesa Corse team, led by Dino Chiesa, achieved the 17th best time in qualifying and heat after heat he gained access to the final, as the most experienced of the veterans. However, what makes De Vries' weekend unforgettable is not what he did to place his kart on the third spot on the starting grid of the final weekend event. But what he was to do shortly thereafter.
We could only have the person concerned tell us about it.

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