This past weekend’s MSA National Karting Championship season opener proved challenging for Diego Antunes, who was made to work hard to earn valuable championship points at the Celso Scribante Raceway, Gqeberha.
Making his national Kid ROK debut, Antunes, backed by TrevPar World, struggled to match the pace of the frontrunners for most of the weekend. In Saturday morning’s qualifying session, he set the fourth-fastest time, but it soon became apparent that he would be in for a tough contest.
Nevertheless, he fought valiantly against some of South Africa’s most talented young drivers. In the first heat, he was in a multi-kart challenge for the off-podium placings. When the chequered flag dropped, however, he would claim seventh. Heat 2 saw him in another fierce midfield contest where he occupied the sixth place most of the race but had to settle for another seventh-place finish.
The highlight of his day came in the afternoon’s final heat. After dropping to eighth in the running, he remained patient and gradually gained positions while staying out of trouble. This resulted in a fifth-place finish and a sixth-place overall result for the day.
“It was not our ideal national debut, but we still managed to take home 80 valuable championship points,” said Antunes. “Our pace was somewhat down of that of the front runners, and while we played around with different settings and motors throughout the weekend, we have some hard work ahead of us if we want to challenge for any titles this season. Thank you to the team at NBR Karting for the assistance this weekend.”
Antunes’ next outing will be in Round 2 of the regional championship on 21-22 April at Vereeniging Kart Club. His next national outing will be on 26-27 May at Formula-K Kart Circuit.
Published by: Motorsport Fanatix – Raymond Cornwell
Picture Caption: Diego Antunes
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