Almost three months after the Spanish event in Zuera, which was perfectly mastered by the manufacturer LeCont, the official tyre supplier for the KZ and KZ2 categories in 2023, the FIA Karting European Championship came to a close on the Naples international circuit in Sarno. Despite the demanding conditions, with almost 40° in the air and sometimes more than 60° on the ground, the races took place in excellent conditions. They gave rise to some intense duels, both for victory in the Finals and to decide the new European Champions.
The Sarno meeting undoubtedly combined all the most difficult conditions that a "Prime" tyre can encounter: extreme heat, an overheated track, numerous rubber deposits on the racing lines, high kart performance with lap averages of over 100 km/h and high cornering speeds, the specific weight of the KZ-KZ2 karts and regular use of the kerbs. Like the drivers and the machines, the tyres were put to a severe test!
New record of 52"459 in Sarno
To cope with such demanding conditions, the Italian brand did a lot of work in the run-up to this major Italian event, as Paolo Bombara, Marketing Manager at LeCont, explains. "During the WSK Open Series event held two weeks earlier in Sarno, we were alerted to the fact that tyres could suffer premature deterioration due to the extreme conditions encountered in Sarno, with an exceptional phenomenon of rubber build-up in certain corners. LeCont responded by supplying a tyre with slightly different characteristics, without reducing performance. On Friday morning, Danilo Albanese broke the track record with 52"459 at an average speed of over 106 km/h, further improving on the reference time set during the WSK".
"For the FIA Karting European Championship, we published a document with a series of recommendations which, I think, were generally well followed by the teams entered. Overall, the event was run in satisfactory conditions and the vast majority of drivers experienced a weekend without any complications. In KZ2, the drivers covered the first part of the meeting, i.e. a Timed Practice session, five Qualifying Heats and a Super Heat with only one and a half sets. LeCont complies with CIK-FIA regulations, which require tyres to have a life expectancy - in terms of tread wear - of at least 150 km. The manufacturer's role is a difficult one, as the tyres must guarantee a high level of performance, grip and safety, whatever the conditions: in July in Italy during the extreme heat, or in the cold at the start of the season in the Nordic countries".
"At Sarno, during the FIA Karting event, the few punctures encountered were mainly concentrated within one team and also a driver from another team. Naturally, LeCont will analyse this situation and get in touch with the team and driver concerned to try to understand what happened and, if possible, together avoid it happening again".
"Similarly, as we prepare for a new homologation period from 2024, we remain attentive and very involved in finding solutions to improve the robustness of tyres in this type of extreme condition. In such circumstances, we believe that the possibility of using "option" tyres instead of "Prime" could become a reasonable solution, to be examined with the various partners involved".
LeCont congratulates all the drivers on their performance and in particular the top three in KZ made up of Viktor Gustavsson, Danilo Albanese, the new European Champion, and Paolo Ippolito, as well as Freddie Slater, winner in KZ2 in Sarno ahead of Daniel Vasile and Cristian Bertuca (for a hat-trick of wins for their brand), and also European Champion at the age of 14 and a half. All in all, many different brands and teams had the opportunity to showcase their skills during the event on LeCont tyres.