8/9 Salbris: End of a difficult Euro Challenge campaign

Mathias finishes P13 from last row start. Ninth overall in 2013 DD2 Standings.

Arriving in the Salbris paddock on Tuesday morning, 2012 DD2 Euro Champ Mathias Detige was hoping to keep up the momentum after taking the BNL Karting Series title two weeks earlier at Genk.
The MS Kart driver showed good pace in Free Practice. But minutes before the green flag was waved for Group A’s Qualifying Practice, dark clouds appeared for the first rainfall of the event. Frenchman Alexandre Finkelstein (MD Competition-Tonykart) was the only driver going for a late switch to rain tyres and he ended 6 seconds clear of the fastest slick-shod drivers. Mathias finished 8th.

Group B Qualifying was a full wet session with Swiss driver Kevin Ludi (Sprit Racing – Birel) setting the fastest lap. Mathias ranked 16th overall in Qualifying after the 101% rule was applied by Race Control.
On Saturday, in the first of 3 Qualification Heats, Mathias finished 8th but felt the handling of his MS Kart was not perfect. His second Heat was ruined by Andreas Backman who kept his right foot down at the end of the formation lap, pushing up the queue in front of him. This caused a restart and forced Mathias into retirement with a broken rear bumper after 3 laps.

A new downpour had caused confusion in the final Junior and Senior Max Qualification Heats in late afternoon. But by the time the DD2 were getting ready for their last Heats, the rain had stopped and the track started to dry. A gamble for slick tyres paid off for Kanscar, Backman and Birizdo who stormed by the entire pack just 2 laps into that final Heat. Finkelstein, Cooper and Detige were able to limit the damage and finished 4th, 5th and 6th on rain tyres.
So an 8th, a DNF and a 6th place resulted in a lowly 19th starting position for Mathias, on the Sunday Pre-Final grid.

In Sunday morning warm-up, Mathias was second fastest and he was determined to move up the order in the 13-lap Pre-Final. Championship leader, Xen De Ruwe, was a shock non starter on Sunday.

Mathias had a perfect start in the Pre-Final, gaining plenty of positions going round the outside of turn 1. But as his MS Kart had moved up into the Top 10, Mathias was first pushed and than collected by another driver, as he negotiated turn 2. A broken steering meant Mathias was out of the race on the spot!.

Mathias walks away from his stricken Blue Falcon in the Pre-Final

Kobe managed to repair the accident damage in time for the start of the Final.
Mathias found himself all the way down the grid for the 16-lap Final, 34th and last. He had a good start and stayed out of trouble in the first turns this time. He quickly moved up the order and finished a respectable 13th.

Ben Cooper (Kalman Motorsport – Birel) won both the Pre-Final and the Final in Salbris and is the new DD2 European Champion, beating Sean Babington (Dan Holland Racing – Alonso Kart) by just one point. Miika Laiho (MPT Racing – Tonykart) completes the 2013 podium.