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Wilson Heads To Australia To Further His Career


Wilson Heads To Australia To Further His Career

Top New Zealand KartSport* driver Karl Wilson flies to Melbourne today to prepare for the first round of Australia's big Ford KartStars series.

The first round of the high-profile five-round karts-to-cars series will be held at the Raleigh circuit near Coffs Harbour on the central New South Wales coast over the May 17/18 weekend with subsequent rounds at Geelong in Victoria in June, Ipswich in Queensland in July, Oran Park in New South Wales in August and Bolivar in South Australia in September.

Wellingtonian Wilson, 19, won last year's New Zealand Rotax Max Challenge and after finishing seventh overall at the World Final of that series in South Africa in January he says that competing in the high-profile Ford-backed series across the Tasman is the next logical career step.

"The Karts are the same but everything else - the competition, the backup, the promotion - is in another league. First prize is an all-expenses-paid drive in the Australian Formula Ford championship and one of the rounds is at a V8 Supercar meeting. We've done the numbers and in terms of bang-for-your-buck it's hard to beat."

Wilson will also start the series with something of an advantage, having driven an Australian-built Arrow AX8 kart to victory in New Zealand last year and to seventh place in South Africa at the beginning of this year.

To make sure the 'playing field' is as level as possible all competitors must use identical Arrow AX8 Karts and sealed Rotax Max engines.

With incentives like the drive in the Australian Formula Ford Championship (plus the possibility of tests with V8 Supercar teams for promising drivers) the Ford-backed KartStars series has been attracting the cream of Australasian KartSport talent since it was set up in 2000.

It's doing its job too. The winner of the 2001 series, Sydney driver Mark Winterbottom, finished second overall in the 2002 Australian Formula Ford Championship and is currently leading the 2003 Konica V8 Supercar 'feeder' series driving a Milligan's Food Group (an New Zealand company headquartered in Oamaru)-backed Ford Falcon AU for the Stone Brothers's team.

Competition for New Zealand driver Wilson is expected to come from top Australian KartSport drivers Reif Corbett, reigning Australian Rotax Max National champion Josh Arandt and hard-driving 2002 Ford KartStars series front-runner Taz Douglas.

Travelling with Wilson to all of the the rounds of the 2003 Ford KartStars series will be his father Gary. Respected local kart engineer Stu Park will also fly over for some of the meetings.


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