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Kiwi KZ2 kart champ gets chance to shine in Italy

Recently crowned NZ KZ2 class kart champion Matthew Payne from Auckland gets his chance to shine at the second (and final) round of this year’s FIA Karting European KZ2 Championship at Sarno in Italy this weekend.

At the first round of the 2019 European KZ2 championship at Wackerdorf in Germany last month, Payne was joined on the grid by mentor Daniel Bray and fellow Kiwi karter Dylan Drysdale.

This time he will be on his own, on the track at least, with Bray remaining at home in Auckland to contest the third round of the Toyota Racing ProKart Series in association with Speedworks series, and Drysdale – who is now living in Italy and working for the GP Karts team – stepping back to spin the spanners for Payne at this particular meeting.

Though only Bray got to start the Final at the opening round of this year’s two-round European KZ2 Championship in Germany, Payne and Drysdale both showed top-10 pace through the practise sessions on Friday and qualifying heats on Saturday and Sunday.

Payne, still just 16-years-of-age, was in fact the best placed of the three Kiwi at the end of Qualifying.

“Our actual pace in Germany was very good,” Bray confirmed this week. “Matthew had the best qualifying of the three of us and also had some great drives in his Heats. He would have made the Final too if not for contact in the last heat race on Saturday which broke one of his (wheel) rims into two pieces.”

Both Payne and Drysale have tested at the storied Circuito Internazionale Napoli Sarno kart track in recent weeks. They both have also competed at the track before, when the Rotax Max Grand Challenge was held there in 2016.

Though Payne will be the only Kiwi running in the KZ2 class at Sarno, 14-year-old compatriot Jacob Douglas from Christchurch will also be competing at the meeting, in the FIA Karting Academy Trophy class.

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