Joshua Coertze, the winner of the 2018 MSA Academy Trophy, was nominated by MSA as the South African driver to compete in the 2019 FIA Karting Academy Trophy, which has 51 Drivers from 47 countries across five continents competing in 3 leagues, which take place throughout Europe.
The first leg took place this past weekend in Wackersdorf, Germany where the 14 year old celebrated not only his birthday but a second place podium finish.
The weekend started off on Thursday with the drivers receiving their chassis and karting equipment provided by OTK, Vortex and OMP. The weekend consisted of five practice sessions, qualifying, three qualifying heats and one final.
The majority of the drivers got seat time and to practice before the event, however Josh was not fortunate enough and had to arrive and drive. On his first session out he was 0.7 seconds off the pace, which he rapidly improved on over 5 sessions and went on to qualify an incredible 4th place in his group and 12th overall in the field, this found him 0.1 sec behind pole. The top 47 drivers were separated by 0.85 of a second.
Saturday came and so did extremely difficult conditions, there was severe weather changes from dry to wet. Josh was faced with sudden international waters, which saw him prepared for dry weather and had the challenge of driving on slick tires in torrential down pour on a track that he had never raced on before. As a true South African, he stood up to the challenge and consistently and safely finished all three qualifying heats on Saturday, which secured him a seat in Sunday afternoons final.
Sunday morning started off with a warmup session, where Joshua managed to set the fastest lap time on track, setting the pace for the rest of the field. His kart had grip, he was comfortable in the seat, his set-up was impeccable and the circuit was ready for the final.
Come 3pm on Sunday all 34 drivers that qualified for the final lined up on the grid, with Joshua upfront in P5. The formation lap was completed and the lights were out. The race was on, Josh steadily worked his way up the field, one by one, managing to keep it together and finish the race in Second position, taking a podium finish for South Africa. He is the first South African to fly the flag on the 2019 CIK FIA Podium, where he is currently 9 points behind the leader with two rounds and two of his favorite circuits to go.
“The opportunity to win the trophy is there, however it’s anyone’s game with so many talented drivers in the field from all over the world, we will give it our best and take it one race at a time, see how it all turns out.” Said Kobie Coertze - Joshua’s father
“The next two rounds take place at circuits I enjoy and that I have had seat time on. I’m excited for the challenge on my competitor’s home turf.” said Josh
Joshua leaves for Genk in Belgium on the 13th of May, where he will be competing as a wild card driver in the 2nd round of the FIA Euro Karting championship on 16 – 19 May in preparation for round 2 of the FIA Academy trophy that will be held at Sarno, Italy 14 - 16 June 2019.
The final FIA Academy round will be held at Lenato, Italy together with the KZ and KZ2 world Championship on the 20 - 22 September 2019.
For full event results : http://www.cikfia.com/fileadmin/content/Export/2019/Wackersdorf/Booklet_Academy.pdf
In case you missed the race you can watch it on YouTube, the final Academy race starts at 4:13:00 into the recording.: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Iv6OUXKWOTg
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