Glastonbury karting star Lando Norris took his third win of the season in the Rotax Mini Max class of the MSA Super One Championship at Three Sisters near Wigan at the weekend. The result keeps the 12 year-old in contention for what could be his second national title of the season.The weekend did not start well for Lando. The RL Racing Department team were working on various set-ups throughout the free practice sessions and it left Lando unable to go for a quick lap. As he headed into qualifying he wasn’t sure whether he was on the leading pace.
In the warm-up on Saturday morning he developed a problem on one part of the track which was losing him time. A quick set-up change by the team prior to qualifying helped and Lando was able to take pole position in his group, but he ended up fifth overall and four-tenths of a second away from outright pole.
In the two finals Lando was caught out at the first corner, which was still incredibly wet. He was forced wide and lost places in both races and had to work his way back up the order. In the first heat he managed to cross the line in second place after a lot of hard work. In his second final he had to settle for fifth position.
His results put him fifth on the grid for the first of the two point-scoring finals. As the teams lined up in the collecting area the track was still drying and Lando and his team thought about playing safe with wet tyres. However, the majority of the field were bolting on slicks and Lando knew that if the track dried enough he would not be able to challenge, so went the same way.
At the start he moved up to fourth place and after a handful of laps he started to catch the top three. He moved into third place and the rival he had just passed worked with him to try and catch the leading pair. In the closing stages he realised that he wouldn’t be able to get on terms and it turned into a battle for the final podium position. Unfortunately Lando wasn’t able to hold onto the place and crossed the line in fourth.
In the second final Lando lined up in fourth place. As the lights went out he was once again pushed wide and dropped to tenth, leaving him with a mountain to climb to get back on terms with the leaders. He worked with another front-running rival and they managed to close the gap to the leaders over the next dozen laps.
With just a handful of laps to go Lando was back on the tail of the leader, who then made a small error, allowing Lando through into the lead. He was able to gain a couple of kart lengths over his rivals over the next two laps. However, on the final lap, with just four corners to go, he made a small mistake after hitting a wet patch on the track. This allowed the chasing pack behind to close right up. Some superb defending over the last half of the lap allowed Lando to cross the line with a lead of just five hundredths of a second.
The nail-biting win was enough to keep Lando in the hunt for the MSA Super One Mini Max crown, with just two rounds left to run. With current dropped scores he leads the series by just four points. But, it was also one of the toughest races for the ADD Motorsport supported driver this year and he knows it’s not going to be an easy end to the season.
“That was probably the toughest race I’ve had this year to be honest,” he said afterwards. “The weekend didn’t start well. I knew we had good race pace, we have done all season. But I wasn’t able to get the kart right to go for pole. If you’re not on the front row in this class it’s hard work anyway. But to be two or three rows back with the track conditions changing, it was really difficult,” he added.
“I got pushed out in the heats and the same thing happened again in the second final. I was lucky that I was able to work with one of the other drivers and get back in contention. It was really tough, we were only a couple of tenths of a second faster each lap, so it took almost the entire race to get up to the front again.”
“I’m really happy to take another win though,” he smiled. “There are four races left and plenty of points to win. I know that I’ve got to keep pushing hard and getting the best results I can to try and take the title. It’s definitely not going to be easy, but I’m going to try as hard as possible,” he added.