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Jun 05, 2014 - 02:39 PM
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Webb Makes Sensational Return With Double Victory In Italy
Posted by: newsla on Jun 05, 2014 - 02:38 PM
WRC Rally News 2010
Webb Makes Sensational Return With Double Victory In Italy


Six months after he last sat in a kart, Harry Webb showed that his enforced sabbatical had not dulled his speed or competitiveness. The former Junior Max European and World number one was in scintillating form at Casteletto di Branduzzo. There was also a Junior podium for Strawberry Racing’s Max Timmermans .

 

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The Sheffield-based squad looked set for an historic conclusion to its endeavours in the Senior class, when Webb led home a Strawberry 1-2-3 in the pre-final. Guan Yu Zhou and Joseph Reilly crossed the finishing line in that order behind their team-mate, underlining what had been a dominant performance in the preliminaries. After the heats, the trio had topped the intermediate rankings with Lars Lamborelle also qualifying straight into Sunday’s two finals.

Having controlled the pre-final from the front, some onlookers bemoaned the lack of on-track action; such was the ‘détente’ between Webb, Zhou and Reilly. However, the gloves were off as the main final got underway.

Once again, Harry led the charge into Castelletto’s first corner – a tricky right-hander that tightens into two further curves right before flicking sharp left – with Guan Yu and Joseph in close company behind. As the race found its rhythm, Webb began to edge away, leaving Zhou and Reilly to dispute the remaining podium places. As the intensity of their scrap increased to fever pitch, they collided and span off. The chasing pack screamed past, leaving Reilly able to rejoin in the lower orders but Zhou on the sidelines.
At the front, Webb romped to the chequered flag, whilst Reilly fought back to an eventual 19th with the unfortunate Lamborelle a lap adrift in 26th spot.

DD2 is increasingly becoming the preserve of top-flight, professional drivers where any and every error is punished. Strawberry’s Sean Babington was local hero Paolo De Conto’s closest challenger throughout the weekend, with Andreas Backman also in the mix. Babington maintained a watching brief in 2nd throughout the pre-final, not quite able to match the Italian’s pace. Rather than destroy his tyres or push his Cream-prepared engine to the limit, the Englishman sensibly brought his Tony Kart EVK home safe and sound to secure a front-row showdown in the main final. Similarly, Backman claimed 5th at the chequered flag, giving him the safer inside line for the run into the first corner of the final.

Slotting behind De Conto at the start, Sean again tracked his Italian rival and looked for an opportunity to pass. As the race wound on, Babington began to lose ground and soon found himself fighting for track position with several other drivers. Unable to match his rivals’ speed, Sean slipped to 4th at the finish, just ahead of Andreas in 6th.

New signing Max Timmermans instantly rewarded Strawberry’s faith in him with P2 on the grid for the Junior pre-final. Despite sustaining some minor damage in the opening moments of the race, he would go on to finish in an excellent 6th place. Also showing grit and determination was Dean MacDonald who drove from 13th to 4th. The USA’s Darren Keane crossed the line in 9th, whilst Jack McCarthy secured the main final grid slot behind him by virtue of his 11th. Juri Vips’ DNF gave him a mountain to climb for the following race.
With his Tony Kart EVK repaired and set-up for 14 tough laps around the excellent Sette Laghi cicrcuit, Timmermans put on a real show as he fought for 3rd place. He repeatedly swapped places with DHR’s Leonard Hoogenboom and it required a photo-finish to separate the pair on the line. The last step of the podium was awarded to Max by just 0.020 of a second but was no less richly deserved.
Dean claimed a fine 5th spot, just ahead of Jack in 6th, while Darren notched up a consecutive 9th-place finish. Juri had fought his way up ten places to 21st, scant reward for the reigning Rotax Winter Cup champion.


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