New Zealand Karting Champion shines in Australian Series. Chris Vander Drift, 16 year old karting sensation from Hamilton, New Zealand, made a stunning debut at the opening round of the "Ford Racing Kartstars" series held in Canberra, ACT over...
New Zealand Karting Champion shines in Australian Series.
Chris Vander Drift, 16 year old karting sensation from Hamilton, New Zealand, made a stunning debut at the opening round of the "Ford Racing Kartstars" series held in Canberra, ACT over the weekend of the 25th / 26th May. Held on the technically demanding Canberra Raceway circuit, some of Australia's fastest kart racers competed in what is fast becoming the most prestigious series in karting. The series is so competitive that the entire field was separated by a mere 1.03s in qualifying.
The team had spent the past 10 days testing in Australia and the hard work and meticulous preparation paid off with an excellent 2nd place overall finish. But Chris's way to 2nd overall was not without it's ups and downs. He qualified in 2nd position on 30.951s, only fractionally slower than fastest qualifier, Australian Clint Cathcart on 30.90s. Chris opened up his challenge with a win in the first heat. A set of tyres that went off early hampered his progress in heat two, resulting in a 4th place finish. Heat three saw Chris finish 2nd to secure 3rd place on the grid for the pre-final.
Unfortunately for Chris he had to take some dramatic evasive action to avoid another kart in the pre-final, pushing him wide and relegating him to 9th. "It was an unlucky incident but I was determined to make up for it in the final", said Chris. "I knew I had a good set-up on the kart and enough speed to get to the front" he added. And get to the front he did. Chris dug deep and worked his way through the field steadily, eventually finishing a mere 3s behind race winner, Clint Cathcart. Fellow Hamilton, NZ karter, Tony Chambers, finished a creditable 14th overall.
The Ford Racing Kartstars series is considered the ideal proving ground for aspiring motorsport talent. It is a "controlled" series with all drivers using identical engines, chassis and tyres. The series places the emphasis on driving talent and kart set-up ability as opposed to who has the most money to throw at it.
Round Two of the series takes place at Geelong, Victoria, over the weekend of 15th / 16th June.
Special thanks to:
- Anthony Bartolo of J&A Tuning for great engines & solid advice. - Greg Pike for his tireless technical assistance.. - Owen Evans for making available his kart for testing & practicing.