Idube Kart Track, Pietermaritzburg
Rotax African Open 2012
It was a tall order for Fabienne to reach the front of the 23 kart Rotax DD2 grid in an unfamiliar kart but the fearsome female was relishing the challenge up against tough opponents and double Rotax Champions, Caleb Williams and Christiano Morgado.
The weather was unfavourable for the karters, with the cold front bringing in snow from the south which delayed and curtailed the testing day for Fabienne. After trying out various combinations of kart and engine set up, Fabienne was one of the fastest in warm up on the Sunday morning of the Rotax African Open.
The 3 lap qualifying did not go according to plan as four drivers all spun off due to a slippery liquid on the track surface leaving Fabeinne and one other karter retired with a badly damaged front end of the kart. The team hurriedly got the kart ready just in time for the first pre final, which Fabienne had to start in last position as she did not have the chance to post a lap time in qualifying.
The race went well as Fabienne picked her way through the field and finished in a hard fought 7th position, posting the 2nd fastest lap time, giving a second grid start for the Pre Final 2. After getting a good start Fabienne finished in 3rd place for the Pre Final 2 after being overtaken by Caleb Williams but she clung on to the position.
The 7th and 3rd positions from the two pre finals gave Fabienne the perfect position to start the Final penultimate race in 3rd position. The start of the 20 lap Final went well, with no incidents or crashes. She then tucked in behind Justin Allison as he was in 2nd place and Luca Canderle in the lead. Following another kart through the thunderdome was tricky as it is the fastest part of the track with a roller coaster right hand corner which is taken in almost flat out speed. When driving behind a competitor through this corner, Fabienne lost a lot of time as the kart had no down force and caused understeer, meaning Fabienne lost some time by having to back off the throttle.
“We started lapping the slower guys in about lap 17 and in lap 18, a backmarker held Justin up a bit climbing up the hill out of the steep downhill Kangaroo corner, which allowed me to close the gap. As we raced down towards hockey stick corner, I made my move and dived to the inside to take 2nd position. I then maintained it and the following lap Justin tried to overtake me in the same corner I overtook him the previous lap, but I accelerated and kept my position and claimed the runner up position” said Fabienne.
“I want to give a big thank you to all in the team for their endless hard work getting the kart perfectly fixed and their support and a huge thank you to our sponsors: Batelco Racing; Gary Stephenson Computing; 1st Race; Peter Lanz Motorsport and Artstar for their continued support”.