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Editorial | The karting World Championship in which a young Ardigò challenged the great Michael Schumacher

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Marco Ardigò The karting World Champs where the young driver faced Michael Schumacher

Kerpen. 28 October 2001. Marco Ardigò was 18 years old, raced for Birel Motorsport (3 years later he would join Kosmic, followed by Tony Kart, of which he is now a recognised symbol) and was a young rookie in Formula Super A, the top class in karting at the time.


His career was in the ascendancy, but he was yet to win that which, over the next 15 years and more, would result in him developing into one of the best kart drivers of all time. In short, he was a young karting talent who, one day, in one of the most important events in the calendar year, found himself sharing a track with Michael Schumacher, who was 32, had won four Formula 1 World Championships and, in his Ferrari, was on his way to becoming the most successful driver in the history of Formula 1.

The weekend was the last of the five races of the Formula Super A World Championship (that Vitantonio Liuzzi would go on to win) and Michael Schumacher decided to race on his home circuit. However, Ardigò was the one who stood out, finishing second in the Pre-final and first in the Final, after a hard-fought race that, unfortunately, ended with the disqualification of the driver from Brescia, who recalls that Sunday of eight years ago: "There were three or four laps to go, I was second and I attacked Franck Perera; unfortunately, we made contact and his kart ended up trapped in the sand, off the track. I was in front, alone, with Cesetti a long way behind and I won the race. Afterwards, Perera lodged a complaint, claiming he’d been rear-ended, but that isn’t what happened... However, to avoid the issue from dragging on, we signed in which we basically stated that 'yes, it was all true' . A few months later, I was called by the FIA, because they wanted to revoke my licence due to my misconduct and, above all, the global negative publicity I had generated regarding the sport... However, we managed to clarify things, thanks to the involvement of Oscar Sala (chairman of Birel, ed.), which put an end to the matter: after hearing the marshals out on the track, the people from the FIA said that it was impossible to conclude that I was at fault for the incident involving Perera. It’s a pity, because the victory would still be mine had we not signed that piece of paper". What about Schumacher taking part? "It wasn’t totally unprecedented, because we had already shared a session with him at the Bridgestone tests in Muro Leccese. I wasn’t so much struck by him as by the thousands of people who descended on the circuit. Plus, unfortunately, I had other things on my mind, rather than Schumacher...". For the record, Schumacher did not fare much better: the German champion retired on lap 15 of 23 in the first heat (following a gripping duel with Rosberg, one of Ardigò’s colleagues at the time, rather than one of Schumacher’s), as Italian newspaper "La Repubblica" also reported... Things improved in the second heat, won by Ardigò, who was subsequently disqualified, in which Schumacher finished in third place (second after the disqualification).

Born on 26 June 1983, nowadays Ardigò is one of the leading drivers in world karting. A three-time world champion, both in non-shifter and shifter karts, and Tony Kart Racing Team’s number one driver for over 10 years

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