MENEZES QUALIFIES FOR KF3 EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIPS, VISITS PKC SHOOTOUT PODIUM Tony Kart Junior Racing Team member runs in top-10 to transfer to July event in Spain while returning home to run second to KF2 champion at Buttonwillow The last...
MENEZES QUALIFIES FOR KF3 EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIPS, VISITS PKC SHOOTOUT PODIUM
Tony Kart Junior Racing Team member runs in top-10 to transfer to July event in Spain while returning home to run second to KF2 champion at Buttonwillow
The last three weeks have been a roller coaster ride for the young American karting hotshoe Gustavo Menezes. The first weekend of the month of May saw Menezes in Genk, Belgium where he would earn a transfer position to compete at the CIK-FIA European KF3 Championships in Zuera, Spain in July. A consistent front runner at the Northern Region Qualifier at the Horensbergdam Circuit, Menezes ended the weekend in the final top-10 standings in a field of nearly 60 drivers. Two weeks later, Menezes would be on home soil to compete at the Superkarts! USA ProKart Challenge West Coast Shootout to contest the KF2 division, finding his way to the podium as the runner-up.
The four-day event in Belgium began Thursday, April 30 with open practice. Menezes recorded times that put him among the fastest on the day. The next day served time for more practice with the official qualifying sessions taking place at the end of the day. In the two timed sessions, Menezes recorded a fast lap of 53.493 in his first attempt which was slightly off pace to place him 21st overall, down lower on the order than expected.
Putting the qualifying sessions behind him, Gustavo focused on the advancing his position in each of the four heat races. Menezes was placed in Group A to start each heat from the fifth row. His opening heat race against Group C would see him advance up to the third position. Menezes would repeat the feat against Group D and Group B, finishing fifth and third respectively, completing Saturday's action. The final heat race verses Group E Sunday morning however cost Menezes a top-10 starting spot for the opening Final as he would lose positions and finish 13th. His results placed him 12th on the starting grid for the opening heat race.
The opening feature race began in the wrong direction for Menezes as he would cross the line for the first time in the 17th position. No stranger to working his way through the field, Gustavo methodically worked his way forward in the 15-lap race to finish ninth. Starting in that position for the second and final feature of the event, the 14-year old found himself in a heated battle to stay inside the top-10. In the end, it was Menezes who earned the tenth finishing position to end the event eighth overall. With his results, Gustavo has earned a spot to compete at the CIK-FIA KF3 European Championships at the new circuit in Zuera, Spain against 80 other drivers.
On May 16, Menezes traveled to the Buttonwillow Raceway Park for the PKC West Coast Shootout. Running with the Tony Kart West operation - headed by Indy 500 champion Buddy Rice - Menezes acquainted himself with the KF2 package quickly and was just one-tenth off the top time in qualifying, ending the session third. Gustavo was fast on cold tires in the opening heat to quickly advance to the lead, where he would remain until the checkered. Menezes found himself running second in the final heat, executing a last lap pass for the win to start the feature in the pole position. The feature was a spirited battle as Menezes fell back to fourth after leading the opening lap. Posting the fastest laps of the race, Gustavo would muscle his way forward and be part of a tremendous fight for the win. At the line however Menezes would come up just short, 0.079 to be exact, of the win and settle for the second spot on the podium.
Next on the schedule for Menezes will be a trip back to Belgium for the fourth round of the WSK International Series at the Genk facility on June 11-14