With only 3 races to go and so many close battles in the championship, tensions were high going into the build up to qualifying. To almost the entire paddock’s surprise, EB Karting decided to recall their championship leading driver, Erkin Bour, from his planned engagement in another series in order to defend their position in the West Coast’s premier electric karting series, Gokartcentralen’s Open GP Championship. This was to be the first setback of the evening for Lilleman Racing, and unbeknownst to them, not the last.
However, a boost for Grabko Grand Prix as Team VLR.nu, 23 points ahead and fierce rival for the 5th place position in the Championship, pulled out of the race due to their driver, Stefan Bodin, being unavailable due to transport problems on his way back from Easter holiday. The team needed to do well to take maximum advantage of the good fortune. Things were looking up as Dan was 5th overall after Q1, enjoying kart 20’s stable demeanour, clocking in a time of 35.732. however, it wasn’t to be as Q2 was another story. The Grabko Grand Prix driver never could come to grips with the over sensitive brake pedal of kart 1, and it plagued him throughout the second session, and he never got a 100% clean lap in during the pressure packed 6 minute run. He improved his time by 0.121 for a 35.611, but it was only good enough for 8th position as those around him were able to improve more. Bour took pole for the sixth straight race with a 35.137, while the Modin Motorsport driver, Mikael Modin took an impressive 2nd position with a 35.314 in front of the chasing Daniel Svensson of Lilleman Racing who was 3rd on 35.379. Hesus Autopost’s Jonas Svanberg, and Adriano Voric of Adde Motorsport rounded out the top 5 qualifiers.
Meanwhile Grabko Grand Prix was having its own problems. While kart 11 was a decent package, Grabko was having trouble coming to terms with the race pace, being told over the radio that he was, “driving too stiffly” which resulted in brief heated radio chatter between driver and race engineer. It did seem to knock the driver into another gear though. However, time had already been lost and two disappointingly slow Joker laps saw Dan all the way back in 9th by the 13th lap, and he was told over the radio to bear down and push to catch the Scuderia Jacobi and GP Grüner Karting duo of Jacobi and Patrik Grüner, who were now about 1.5 seconds ahead of him on track. He did just that, and was rewarded for his efforts as with 3 laps to go the two drivers came together and spun as Jacobi, in his second incident of the race, was a bit too ambitious going into turn 1, and clipped Grüner causing them both to spin. Dan was just far enough back to avoid being drawn into the incident and flew past. Solid final laps saw Grabko take home 7th place for the team for the 3rd race in a row, still Grabko Grand Prix’s best result in the series. Best time being 35.277 - a personal 4th best time for Dan.
Further up, Haraldsson GP’s Jörgen Haraldsson drove a flawless race, setting the 2nd best time of the night with a 34.834 on his way to a 2nd place finish, while the on form driver of the night had to be Modin, who achieved the final podium place, the first ever for Modin Motorsport, taking home 3rd. Adde Motorsport came home fourth, and the unfortunate Lilleman Racing’s Svensson drove like a man possessed, coming all the way back up to 5th after his first lap woes. His team would leave in protest after the race, missing the podium presentation, and an impromptu meeting of the teams ensued in the aftermath, with Open GP officials suggesting changes to the sporting regulations in regards to first lap incidents. A proposal allowing for a single restart was put forward for the teams to discuss, with offending drivers penalised by starting from the pit lane.
So an extra exciting 8th round of the Open GP Championship, with all the great racing, nail biting qualifying, intense driver and team rivalries, and political intrigue anyone could ever want in a racing series! Despite dropping another point to Hesus Autosport, and being in a dead heat with Haraldsson GP, Grabko Grand Prix moved up to 6th place in the overall standings, now only 2 points out of the 5th spot, the target the team set at the beginning of the year. Erkin Bour has a now all but unassailable lead at the top of the driver’s standings by virtue of his 8th straight win, while Adriano Voric overtook Jacobi for the final top 3 spot after the Scuderia Jacobi driver’s disappointing race allowed Adde Motorsport to pick up 4 points in that fight for 3rd place.
OPEN GP CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS