THE CRAZY 2015 KZ WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP IN LE MANS
Five stories from a crazy World Championship which made the protagonists of what is already a race destined to remain in the memory despair, hope, rejoice and worry. Stories, some of which were never told before, which we are going to relive through their words.
1. THE COME BACK OF MARCO ARDIGÒ
Marco Ardigò arrives at the Le Mans World Cup with the ranks of the defending champion. We know the amazing value of Marco and of Tony Kart Racing as well. They sharpened their weapons – intended as a development of the products – to their best in view of this World Championship. The structure of the Le Mans track adapts well to the power of their Vortex RVZ engines. The World Championship in a single race, as we know, is very much like a lottery as it is competed in a single race, where even a single event can affect the outcome. Additionally, it is a ruthless race because it does not allow for a second chance. Hence, you can show up with all the best intentions and training, but then your opponent surprises you with a “special” engine, maybe just for that race, which nullifies all predictions and sweeps the competition. This time, however, there do not seem to be many surprises and for Ardigò and Tony Kart repeating the title won in Sarno seems to be a challenge within reach. Everything goes according to plan. Ardigò wins a heat and is unreachable on a wet track, a factor which cannot be neglected in a weekend characterized by very uncertain weather conditions. But let us get to the second heat, on Saturday September 12th at 2:54 pm. The asphalt is wet since it rained shortly before. Ardigò drives the warm-up lap of the race which sees group B competing against group C. All karts are mounting tires for a dry track, yet the asphalt is insidious. Ardigò first gets to its starting spot, the pole position, stops, but then he thinks again. For safety reasons it is better to allow everyone to make another lap. The race director allows the extra lap, yet he does not see it as Ardigò and writes on his notebook that vehicle no. 51 has interrupted the starting procedure. The motorsport marshals take that notebook, read it and turn it into a penalty that on Saturday night becomes not simply a cold shower but rather an icy one for the defending world champion. All that the leader Tony Kart can do is to take the hit, which means starting from the 17th spot in the Pre-final. From that moment Ardigò stages a missed masterpiece. In the Pre-final he recovers seven positions, thus starting from the 10th position in the Finals. Furthermore, on the last race of the weekend, the one that counts, the one that delivers the world title, Marco is a whirlwind, he flies (the best lap of more than one tenth faster than that of the winner testifies to this), and even gets to enter the fight for the victory of the last lap which, however, he concludes in third place. Before, unfortunately, another penalty imposed at the end of the race due to the front nose out of position takes that result away too.
“In that World Championship I was really fine with every aspect. But even more so I remember the disappointment for the penalty received on Saturday after the races. When that piece of news arrived, at eight o’clock Saturday evening, I could not believe it. The following morning, I immediately went to Nigel Edwards, the race director, to make my case. Then and there I had the impression that he had understood that the penalty was too severe, also considering the track conditions, but the stewards would not have it. When I left the race direction, I was really angry. I mean, that year I was the FIA representative for safety, and I had acted in the interest of the whole group because, objectively, on the track we were at the limit. It was not necessary to be driving at that moment to understand it. Everyone remembers the accident of Loris Spinelli. But the mockery, if I must say so, came on Sunday morning in the Pre-final when they gave us an extra lap of alignment. Rightly so, because the conditions were at the limit like Saturday, but when I was the one who asked for one more, I was disqualified. Oh well, maybe it had to be like this. I prefer to remember what I showed on the track. In the Finals I made my way through my opponents and launched in pursuit of De Conto and Pex. In ten laps I recovered almost two and a half seconds and in the last pass I tried to take advantage of it when Pex attacked De Conto. For three meters I was KZ World Champion for the second time. In the end I finished third but after the race I received the penalty for the nose out of position. Obviously, it was not my weekend. To all enthusiasts, though, I want to say this, go and watch the race again because it really deserves it!”.
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