Bray second in KZ2 Super Cup final
Aucklander Daniel Bray (GP Karts/Alu Group/TM Racing/Le Cont) is the toast of New Zealand’s KartSport fraternity this morning after finished second to Italian Matteo Vigano (Tony Kart/Vortex/Le Cont) in the Final at this year’s CIK-FIA International KZ2 Super Cup title meeting at Genk in Belgium on Sunday.
The International Super Cup event shared the programme this weekend with the first of the CIK-FIA’s 2018 World Championship title events – for the KZ class – as well as the final round (of three) of the CIK-FIA Karting Academy Trophy series.
Bray is now a veteran of a number of CIK-FIA International KZ2 Super Cup campaigns, leading the final before being punted off the track by a then 14-year-old Max Verstappen in Italy in 2012, and ending up third after again leading the Final in France a year later.
Second place in the Final this year, at the biggest meeting of the year for the 6-speed/125cc KZ2 class karts on the CIK-FIA’s annual kart calendar with 105 entries, is a major achievement for the Auckland driver, and is arguably the most important result for a New Zealand karter since fellow Aucklander Wade Cunningham won the World Karting Championship title in Italy in 2003.
Earlier this year the now 30-year-old finished 8th at the first round of the 2018 CIK-FIA European KZ2 Championship in France in May, and 12th at the second round in Italy in July, leaving him 10th equal in the 2018 class points standings.
Bray was quick from the get-go at Genk, too, topping the time sheets in the first free practice session then being second quickest in his group (Group 4). That group went out when the track had cooled off however, meaning he ended d up qualifying 11th overall.
Two heat wins and two second places proved he was on the right track on Saturday, however, and after placing fifth in his final heat race Bray started the Final from P3 on the grid behind eventual winner Matteo Vigano from Italy and Adrien Renaudin from France.
Vigano got a clean start from pole in the 23-lap Final but Renaudin was slower away and held Bray up for a good lap before the Kiwi was able to find a way past.
That was the order for the best part of the race with Bray closing to within half a second of Vigano before the Italian responded, opening the gap back up to 1.4 seconds on Bray at the flag.
Renaudin, meanwhile finally succumbed to pressure from Vigano’s Spanish teammate David Vidales and Brazilian CRG driver Gaetano Gomes E.S Di Mauro on the second to last lap, slipping back to fifth.
Though he didn’t make it to the Final, Bray’s young teammate in the works GP Karts/Alu Group/TM Racing/Le Cont squad this weekend, Matthew Payne, 15, from Papakura in south Auckland again showed good pace through free practice, qualifying 50th (out of the field of 105) for the heat races and finishing a weekend best ninth in his second qualifying heat.
Nosecone penalties cost him places in a couple of heats, however, and he eventually ended up classified 69th.
“So stoked with Daniel’s P2 in the Final,” he said
from the track on Sunday evening. “It’s been an
absolutely awesome weekend and I have been really happy with
my pace here.”