TOP-15 FINISH FOR MENEZES IN FIRST KF3 EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIP EVENT Strong and successful weekend for the Tony Kart Junior Racing Team driver in Spain ZUERA, SPAIN (July 12, 2009) -- The first start for American karting star Gustavo Menezes at...
TOP-15 FINISH FOR MENEZES IN FIRST KF3 EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIP EVENT
Strong and successful weekend for the Tony Kart Junior Racing Team driver in Spain
ZUERA, SPAIN (July 12, 2009) -- The first start for American karting star Gustavo Menezes at the CIK-FIA KF3 European Championships was a successful run at the Zuera International Circuit in Spain. The four day event saw Menezes among the challengers for the European title that ended with the Californian finishing 13th of the 80 competitors that contested the 1.7km circuit on July 9-12.
Throughout the early portion of the event during the open practice sessions on Thursday and Friday, Menezes was among the quick drivers on track as he posted lap times in the top-five of his group. Throughout the year, Menezes has focused on improving his qualifying performances as the starting position for the heat races is very crucial to the success on the weekend. When qualifying took place Friday, Menezes was the lead driver for the Tony Kart Junior Racing Team with the 11th overall quickest lap of the field. His time placed him in the A group where he would start each of the four heat races from the inside row three position.
Three heat races were the objective on Saturday as Menezes Group A faced the D, E, and B groups. Each was a short six lap sprint so quick moves were needed in order to improve his positions. The opening stint for Gustavo saw him on pace in the lead group and advancing up to the third position. The next run saw one more spot gained as he ran second, just eight-tenths back of the leader while running consistent quick lap times that matched the leader's speed. The last race of the day saw a large lead pack form with Menezes battling to keep his top-five position. In the end, Menezes settled for sixth. That would be his worst finishing position of the qualifying heats as Sunday morning against Group C Gustavo recorded another third place run despite running his second engine after seizing his primary in morning practice. With the four strong finishes, Menezes would be classified fifth overall to start the Prefinal from the familiar inside row three spot.
A great start to the nine-lap Prefinal put Menezes into the fourth position in the early stages. He would hold that spot until losing it on lap three. Gustavo ran a solid fifth spot despite the engine not running to full power. He would drop one more position on the final lap to slide to sixth at the finish line. The 15-lap main event would not play out as Menezes had hoped. Holding onto the sixth spot through the opening two laps, Menezes was relegated back one spot after getting loose through a corner but lap four would be the turning point of his race. The carburetor began to run erratic and slowed his pace, dropping him back to around 17th. Menezes worked to get the carburetor running better and was able to work himself back up to the 13th position by the checkered flag.
"It was a great weekend in Spain," commented Menezes after returning home to California. "We were quick throughout the event and I'm excited with the results I was able to produce. I had hoped for a better end result but with my travels in Europe I am understanding just how tough the competition is here. In the end, I can be satisfied with my finish in my first European Championships and take that confidence into the remaining events in 2009."
Up next on the docket for the 14-year old will be a trip France for the fifth round of the WSK International Series on July 23-26. The 1.5km Circuit de Salbris is the next location with Menezes looking to gain more championship points to advance up from his current 14th position in the standings with a possible first podium finish after battling for win last month in Genk, Belgium.