Despite being placed 51st overall during what Kush Maini himself described as âa disastrous qualifying sessionâ on the weekend, the 14-year old managed to climb up the grid at the Asum Karting Ring in Kristiansand, Sweden.
Owing to his overall ranking, Kush Maini had to start at 21st for all four heats. He was placed ninth in the first heat. He even managed to climb up to third in the second heat but because of a bumper that got knocked off his kart while tripping over a curb, he was excluded. He made up for that in the next heat where he managed to overtake 20 karts ahead of him and bag a win while the fourth heat saw him placed tenth. All of this culminated into a 14th place at the start of the grid for the Pre-finals.
He again surged ahead in the Pre-finals and bagged his first top-ten position in the series by finishing fifth. At the Finals, however, he managed to finish eighth.
The Forza Racing driver now stands at 10th overall in the Karting Championship and has his eyes set on the World Championship.
Kush said, âAfter such a disastrous qualifying session, things were always going to be difficult, that being said I am extremely satisfied with the way I drove, I always managed to gain positions and Iâm especially happy with my win in my third heat and also my overtaking in general. Iâd like to thank my team, Forza Racing who made some brilliant strategic calls and got the setup spot on when the conditions were difficult. Though the final result may not have been our ideal target, we can all walk away from the weekend satisfied with our performance.â
TheÂ Kristiansand round of the Karting Championship was won by Danish driver,Â Christian Lundgaard of Ward Racing.
Maini Shows Class in Difficult Circumstances
|Kush Maini (14) ended the final round of the CIK-FIA European Karting Championship with an 8th overall after qualifying 51st out of 75 earlier in the weekend. The youngster from Bangalore scythed his way through the field on numerous occasions and even managed a win after starting a lowly 21st on the grid! The championship, which concluded at the Asum Karting Ring in Kristiansand, Sweden, had over a 100 participants with more than 32 nationalities being represented over the course of 3 rounds of racing.
Kush who came into the championship in high spirits after winning his appeal, which had earlier excluded him from the results in the first round at Portimao, showed great pace through the practice sessions and saw him consistently running in the top 10. However Kush endured a dreadful qualifying, where an incident with a kart coupled with a lack of open space saw him qualify 15th in his group and 51st overall. This meant that Kush started 21st for each of his 4 heats on Saturday.
Though most drivers would let their headâs drop after such a difficult qualifying session, Kush chose to put on a master class in overtaking as he constantly battled his way up the order in each of his heats. In the first heat, Kush finished 9th after having worked his way to 15th by the end of lap 1. In the second heat, Mother Nature decided to spice things up, by providing everyone with a damp track, this played nicely into Kushâs hands as he capitalized on the indecisiveness of others and worked his way up to 3rd gaining an astonishing 19th places! However an incident with a fellow competitor and a trip over the curb resulted in Kushâs front bumper falling off and hence automatically handing him an exclusion.
Once again the youngster from Bangalore showed tremendous resilience and served up his best race in the third heat where he gained an unbelievable 20 positions en route to a win! Kush also managed to pull off the overtake of the weekend when he drove around the outside of a fellow competitor in tricky circumstances.
The final race for the day saw Kush make up a further 11 positions on a fully dry track, which brought his tally of positions gained to a remarkable 60 karts in one dayâs worth of racing.
This meant that Kush started his pre-final in 14th place and youngster picked up from where he left off picking his way through the field to 5th place, gaining 9 more positions and ensuring his first top 10 start for the weekend in the final
The final however was a tough affair, as a bone-dry track kept drama to a minimum and overtaking was few and far between, still Kush managed to gain 2 more positions to finish 8th overall in the round and a commendable 10th overall in the championship.
When asked about his performance, Kush said, âAfter such a disastrous qualifying session, things were always going to be difficult, that being said I am extremely satisfied with the way I drove, I always managed to gain positions and Iâm especially happy with my win in my third heat and also my overtaking in general. Iâd like to thank my team, Forza Racing who made some brilliant strategic calls and got the setup spot on when the conditions were difficult. Though the final result may not have been our ideal target, we can all walk away from the weekend satisfied with our performance.â
Kushâs next big target is the World Championship, which take place in the month of September.