The 2012 Formula Kart Stars Rotax Mini Max season opening weekend couldn’t have been much more dramatic if it tried as Kimbolton hosted rounds one and two of the Formula One Management backed championship.
On the same weekend that former FKS Mini Max Champion George Russell was nominated as Britain’s representative in the 2012 CIK-FIA Academy Championship, 16 young contenders began their collective bid to join Russell on the role of FKS Mini Max Champions and get their hands on one of TAG Heuer’s exclusive prize watches.
Whilst Saturday’s opening round played out under cool but dry skies at a much modernised Kimbolton, Sunday’s second round couldn’t have been trickier for both drivers and mechanics as intermittent showers made tyre choice a massive headache and led to one of the biggest upsets in the 17-year history of the Championship
Formula Kart Stars Rotax Mini Max Championship
With an exciting mix of returning drivers, graduating Cadets and fresh faces more than compensating for the slight drop in numbers compared to previous years the opening round saw Lando Norris (RL Racing Department) score his maiden FKS triumph after numerous close calls during his time in the MSA British Cadet Championship.
Starting from the outside of the front row heat one winner Norris pulled off an audacious outside passing move on poleman Philip Rawson (AIM Motorsport) going into Stow Corner on the first lap and was never headed, leaving the rest to fight over the minor placings. Rawson eventually held off qualifying pacesetter Connor Mills (Chris Rogers Motorsport) and Harry Williams (Coles Racing) for second place while heat two winner Jack McCarthy (Project One) suffered a spin and finished 15th.
The weather turned Easter Sunday into a lottery but when the chequered flag finally fell the driver holding the winning ticket was Inem Coker (Campfield Racing) who not only claimed victory on his FKS debut but also scored his first victory of any kind in MSA racing following an inspired tyre gamble by team boss Marc Campfield.
Plagued with engine troubles on Saturday that prevented him from finishing a single race, Coker was one of only two drivers to start the final on wet tyres and while the rain stayed away for the entire final, the track never warmed up enough to allow his slick shod rivals to take advantage.
At one point Coker held an eleven second lead and while heat two winner Mills and Norris, who took pole position for the heats and won the opening race, were catching him by the end, Coker held his nerve and took the chequered flag to universal applause with five seconds to spare.
Despite being caught up in a crash at the start Norris could console himself with a slender championship lead over Mills with ten rounds remaining.