25/8 BNL Karting Series DD2 Champions 2013!

Mathias takes the 2013 crown after a sensational weekend at Genk

Going into the third and final Round of the 2013 BNL Karting Series, five DD2 drivers were still in contention for the 2013 BNL title. Mathias Detige was leading the points table, but fellow Belgian Xen De Ruwe was the clear favourite, as he had won 4 of the previous 8 races. Strawberry Racing’s Andreas Backman and Dan Holland Racing’s Barrie Pullinger were also very much in the title hunt. Latvian Haralds Garkaklis still had an outside chance also but he needed 4 wins in the last event and a run of bad luck for his rivals.

The weather and track conditions were tricky and extremely variable all weekend. Saturday morning Qualifying was a wet session with Detige coming out on top with a whopping 1.3 second advantage over Pullinger and De Ruwe. But the MS Kart driver lost his Pole Position, after being handed a 2 place grid penalty for ignoring yellow flags at the end of the session.

The skies cleared out and the track started to dry with just a few minutes to go to the start of Race 1.
Martin Pierce and Ronald Billings gambled on going for slick tires on the pre-grid. The other drivers opted to stay on rain tires. At the start of the race Mathias was able to take the lead and he opened a small gap to Pullinger. But after 3 laps, as the race line got dryer, Mathias got in trouble and Pullinger blasted by, soon followed by Adams, Backman, Garkaklis. Xen De Ruwe who had spun off going into the third lap, started to climb up the order again and took the lead in lap 10. But the man on the move was Martin Pierce whose choice for slick tires paid off. So Pierce was the surprise winner of Race 1.
Mathias finished a lowly ninth, but knew his title chances were not over. Given this was his first bad result of the BNL season, this race could be deducted from his points tally at the end of the event.
De Ruwe crossed the line in second and looked like the strongest title candidate at that moment. But his Formula-K chassis was found underweight in post-race scrutineering and this effectively put De Ruwe out of the title battle.

Saturday’s race 2 was a full wet race and these conditions were exactly what Mathias needed to climb up the order. Having started from row 4 after his poor race 1 result, the 2012 European DD2 Champion reveled in the wet conditions. By the end of lap 1 he was up to fourth and he passed Barrie Pullinger for the lead 7 laps into the race. Mathias didn’t put a foot wrong, set the fastest lap time of the race and deservedly snatched his first season win. Pullinger held on to second keeping De Ruwe behind.

On Sunday, race day 2, the track was dry for the final Qualifying Session of the season. Backman and Pullinger were both on a mission on Sunday morning as they showed scintillating speed in Qualifying, Backman beat Pullinger for Pole Position. Detige and De Ruwe lined up third and fourth for Sunday’s Race 1.
Both Backman and Pullinger needed nothing less than a race win to keep their championship hopes alive as the 18 lap race got underway. Pullinger and De Ruwe got the best start, with Backman following close behind, whilst Detige was demoted to fifth by Pierce in the opening lap. Soon Backman’s Tonykart was all over De Ruwe and Pullinger. The Swede swiftly moved to the top spot within a couple of laps. Backman pulled away from Pullinger whilst Detige worked his way back into De Ruwe’s path and moved up to P3 on lap 7. Backman’s pace was strong but it was Pullinger who put in an even stronger series of laps catching the leader by lap 13. Detige in the mean time didn’t surrender as he witnessed the Backman/Pullinger battle unfold. Coming on to the main straight and going into the final lap Detige caught both Backman and Pullinger in a fantastic move. The three drivers were side by side down the straight. Backman held the inside line into turn 1 and retook the lead. Pullinger found no way past coming out of the corner. It was Detige again who made a breathtaking move stick, claiming the lead. He wasn’t home yet as Barrie Pullinger kept pushing all the way to the last corner. But Mathias held it together beautifully and won a cracking race!
Detige’s win meant he was now also out of reach for Pullinger and Backman in the Championship.

The 4th and final DD2 race of the weekend started on a damp track with Detige and Pullinger on row 1 and also tie on points for the weekend win. Mathias got of to a flying start in the wet and was initially comfortably leading the pack. But the track conditions changed rapidly. Barrie Pullinger’s Alonso Kart closed the gap to the MS Kart within a couple of laps and went on to win race 4, and also winning the Genk event overall. Mathias had a good enough cushion to keep the charging De Ruwe and Backman behind him and held on to P2.

So Mathias Detige and his long time friend and mechanic Kobe Liekens claimed their second BNL DD2 title in three years with Pullinger finishing an excellent second. Both drivers were absolutely delighted as both of them also secured an entry to the Rotax Grand Finals in New Orleans (USA) in November.