Slick show at Sarno
FIA European Championships, Rd.1, Sarno, 18/22 April 2018
Chris performed very strongly during the opening round of the FIA European Championship at Sarno, pulling off some impressive overtaking manoeuvres during Saturday’s heats. Despite being handicapped by a bad set of tyres in Sunday’s final, he could draw lots of encouragement from his competitiveness against the world’s top senior contenders.
After free practice sessions from Wednesday onwards, the championships began in earnest with Friday’s Timed Qualifying session. Chris was drawn out in the first session and this often puts drivers at a disadvantage as the track tends to get quicker later on. He finished 5th in this one and was classified 21st overall.
Although Chris might have hoped for a rather better result, there were others who fared much worse. “Although we didn’t realise it at the time, there were big differences in the sets of Bridgestone
slicks allocated for this event, and it would have an impact upon my performance in Sunday’s final,” explained Chris.
He recorded an 8th place finish in Heat 1, matching the lap times of race winner, Roman Stanek. Next time out, Chris improved to 5th, “going purple” in several sectors of the circuit. He was 4th
in Heat 3 and once again was one of the quickest drivers out there. Heat 4 went even better for him as he claimed 3rd place. This was followed by 2nd spot in Heat 5 on Sunday and, again, purple turned out to be a familiar colour on his time sheet.
Confidence was running high in the Lulham camp as they awaited Sunday afternoon’s final. All qualifiers were allowed a change of tyres in this one and that’s where things went wrong. Starting off from grid 10, Chris made up a couple of places on the opening lap and then improved to 5th shortly afterwards. However, he was already aware of his kart sliding on corners that he’d previously been able to take flat out. “My fastest lap was around half a second slower than I’d have expected,” said Chris, “I got involved in a dogfight with drivers that I’d previously been able to overtake quite easily. Eventually I was classified 10th. It’s a hard pill to swallow when you’ve put so much time and effort into something like this only to be frustrated by poor quality tyres. However, I’m now looking forward to the next round at PF, hoping that it will take place with everyone on the same tyres.”