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Kian Spies endured a challenging weekend marred by several incidents and post-race penalties to end his weekend in a disappointing 17th after a promising start to his South African Rotax MAX Challenge national championship challenge in Benoni.

With the Formula-K Kart Circuit open to practice on Thursday and Friday, the Kosmic Kart driver made steady progress over the two days to improve his kart setup, ending Friday’s practice within the top five on the time sheets. The subsequent Qualifying Session would see the Johannesburg teenager claim an impressive sixth allowing him to start Saturday’s opening heat from the third row of the grid.

Following a solid start to his race, Spies moved up two positions, occupying fourth for a brief period of the race before being punted off the circuit, losing six positions. While he recovered well to end his opening heat in sixth, he received a post-race five-second penalty for a Nose-Cone Infringement Penalty (NCIP).

Starting from the fifth row of the grid for Heat 2, Spies, who races out of the NBR Karting stable, made up three positions over the first two laps before an accident forced him to retire from the race. Spies was unfortunate as he was helpless to avoid a slower competitor who chose the wrong line at the wrong time seeing an unavoidable collision. The accident also led to significant damage to Spies’ kart, leaving the team scrambling to repair the damage between heats.

While the team did their utmost to make repairs to the kart, Spies was forced to take to the Heat 3 grid with a less-than-perfect kart. Starting from the fourteenth position, he battled the midfield, trading places on a few occasions to bring the damaged kart home in 12th. It, however, came at a price as Spies received another NCIP to be classified 16th.

“It was an incredibly disappointing weekend since we had the pace to fight for the podium. I made up as many positions through the heats as possible, but there wasn’t much I could do after the crash. That pretty much ruined my weekend and kart. But this is racing, and we move on. Cape Town is next on the national calendar where I reckon, we can do well. Thank you to the team for the effort this weekend,” stated Spies.

Spies returns for Round 2 of the Rand Kart Club Championship at Zwartkops Raceway on 13 May, while the third national round of 2023 is scheduled for Killarney International Raceway on 30 June to 1 July.

Published by: Motorsport Fanatix – Raymond Cornwell

Picture Caption: Kian Spies

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