WSK Championship Round 3, Zuera, Spain. 16-18 April 2010.
All the competitors including Alex headed off to Zuera in sunny Spain for round three of the WSK championship. Unfortunately it wasn’t sunny Spain as the weather was very changeable with rain sun rain.
Alex arrived on the Wednesday and started testing on Thursday. The format would be testing Thursday and Friday with qualifying on Friday afternoon, three heats on Saturday and one heat, a pre-final and the final on Sunday. The track was changing all the time on Thursday and Alex was finding it difficult to get a good set up on his Intrepid kart. On Friday he managed to get the kart to work better and in the late morning he managed to set a good time matching the other front runners. Alex has always said the Intrepid is a great kart but on certain circuits such as Zuera which is very fast it can take longer to get the right set up. Qualifying was later on Friday as the temperature was dropping. After completing nine laps Alex qualified in 6th position in his group which put him in 7th place overall from where he would start in his four heats. The times were very close and although he would have liked to qualify higher he was confident he could get good results in his heats. All the heats would be run over 6 laps as Zuera is a long circuit. Alex would therefore have to push hard at the start to get a good result. Starting from 7th in heat 1 Alex fought his way up the field to finish second. A good start to the weekend and only two points scored. (the lower the points the better as this would give the start position for the final). Heat 2 was much of the same with Alex settling for second behind his team mate Hovenaars and not taking any undue risks. Heat 3 was looking good for Alex but as he was overtaking the driver in third he was hit very hard from behind at the hairpin and dropped back to fourth. The impact was so severe that Alex’s rear bumper was dislodged and started to drag on the ground causing the kart to handle very badly. With two laps to go Alex was called in with a mechanical penalty and finished in 30th with 32 points. This was not what Alex needed as he had been driving so well. In heat four it was important for Alex to finish and not make any mistakes so he could get through to the pre-final. On Sunday it was raining for the final heat which was an added pressure. Alex was his usual calm self and in the toughest heat of the day came home in 4th and was through to the pre-final.
With the number of points accumulated by Alex during the four heats he lined up in 16th place for the 12 lap pre-final on Sunday afternoon. As we all know Alex is very good in coming from behind as he ably demonstrated at the last round where he started the pre-final in 20th place and went on to the race in fourth. Alex made a good start and started to move his way up the field. Lap after lap he gained places until he was in fourth place by lap 10. He started to close on Nicolas Beer in third and as the flag dropped he was only a tenth behind him. As in South Garda Alex would start the final in 4th.
As the lights went out for the final Alex made a good start and held fourth at the first corner taking third by the second corner. The kart looked very good and Alex was able to match the times of the front runners. On lap five he was in second and on lap six took the lead and started to pull away from the rest of the following drivers. Suddenly as he came across the start finish line he appeared to lose power and Vestappen caught him and over took him at the end of lap seven. It was obvious Alex was down on power and was having to defend really hard to keep second place. At one point Sorensen got past him but Alex immediately took the place back. To the relief of all as the chequered flag dropped Alex crossed the line in second. A fair result but not what Alex wanted or was capable of. He has now moved into second in the championship behind Verstappen with two more rounds to go. The team are not yet a 100% sure what was wrong with Alex’s kart but it looks like a carburettor problem.