Birel ART made a great start to the 2022 season at the Lonato track in the opening round of the WSK Super Master Series. With a renewed line-up of 14 drivers, the Birel ART Racing Team showed an exciting level of performance in all three international categories. Pedro Hiltbrand reached 2nd place in the KZ2 Final, Kirill Kutskov finished 3rd on the OK-Junior podium while Cristian Bertuca came close to the top five in OK.
Riccardo Longhi Team Manager Birel ART Racing:
"It's always a moment of uncertainty when we resume racing after the winter break. The preparatory tests went well, but we still had to face the competition in the race to validate our performances. It is now complete and successfully complete! The new Birel ART chassis are well validated. We can be pleased with our very strong competitiveness in all categories and continue our development work on a solid basis. The new recruits to the team have lived up to our expectations and the potential of the youngest drivers has been very convincing. Morale is high for the rest of the season which we are looking forward to. The next race is coming up and we will be back in Lonato in a fortnight's time for the second round of the WSK Super Master Series."
The weather in Lonato was not very warm, the cold was biting hard in the early morning, but the conditions were still quite good with a dry track and clear skies. 265 drivers took part in the event, including the best representatives of the main international teams. The circumstances were therefore ideal for benchmarking Birel ART's performance at the start of the year.
Hiltbrand starts with a superb 2nd place in KZ2
Spanish champion Pedro Hiltbrand made a perfect start with the Birel ART Racing Team. Familiar with the Birel ART/TM packages from last year with the Leclerc by Lennox Racing team, he gradually built up his strength throughout the weekend to conclude with a sensational 11-place recovery in the Final and the fastest lap in the race. Alongside him, Giuseppe Palomba progressed to the Final top five from his 20th in Qualifying, while Alessio Piccini drove a superb Prefinal and regained ground in the Final by finishing 14th. Moritz Ebner started strongly in the top 10 before having to retire in the Final. The young Lithuanian Kajus Siksnelis concluded his steady progression with a promising gain of 11 places to 24th in the Final. Leclerc by Lennox Racing driver Tom Leuillet confirmed the competitiveness of Birel ART in the top five. He was in 3rd position at the start of the Final, but unfortunately could not reach the finish. The presence of seven Birel ART chassis among the top 16 in the Final proved the quality and performance of the Lissone factory's products at the highest level.
Bertuca close to the top five in OK
Cristian Bertuca was able to rely on his experience to ensure a good performance in OK. Able to reach the top three in both the heats and the Prefinal, he finished in 6th place in the Final, having made up four more places. A retirement in a heat delayed the progress of the Polish driver Karol Pasiewicz and the British driver Harley Keeble. The speed and determination of these new Birel ART drivers, ranked 16th and 22nd respectively, nevertheless convinced their team. The young Sri Lankan Yevan David finished his first race in OK with a very promising 17-place overall gain.
Podium OK-Junior for Kutskov
The Russian Kirill Kutskov proved to be very effective in his first appearance at the wheel of a Birel ART. Only 29th in Qualifying, he kept on attacking to come back to a superb 3rd position with a gain of eight places in the Final. The Dutchman Reno Francot was also very convincing with his 25-place improvement during the heats. A double retirement in the Prefinal and Final did not allow him to confirm this time. The Romanian Zoe Florescu Potolea made up some ground in the heats without being able to qualify for the Final.
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