Lando Norris just missed out on a podium result at the biggest one-off race weekend of the season, the Kartmasters Grand Prix at the PF International circuit in Lincolnshire.The current Formula Kart Stars Championship leader went into the event as one of the favourites, following his domination of the Rotax Mini Max category so far this season. However, after a poor free-practice and qualifying Lando knew that he would have a tough weekend ahead of him.
His qualifying times would put him 19th on the grid for his heats and in the first he managed to make his way up to ninth. In the second heat he suffered a rare non-finish, which meant that he would have to work even harder in his last heat to get the best grid position for the pre-final.
A great drive to seventh place meant that he would line up 15th on the grid for the pre-final. The result from this race would set the grid for the grand final, so Lando knew that he needed a strong finish to be in with a chance of the Kartmasters Mini Max title.
As he went into the pre-final the RL Racing Department team had made some changes to the kart and its set-up and Lando was able to find the sort of pace that has won him over half a dozen national championship races so far this season. A superb drive to third place meant that he would start from the second row for the final.
As the lights went out for the start of the 13-lap race Lando was forced wide and dropped back a few places. By lap four he was back in his orginal starting position and a lap later had moved into third place. He held that position for five laps before taking the lead, holding it for two more laps.
He was forced back into third place with just two laps remaining and on the final lap dropped back one more place, eventually crossing the line in fourth.
A frustrated Lando was disappointed not to add the Grand Prix title to his 2012 achievements, but was happy with the way he and the team turned around their pace during the wekend to be in contention when it mattered.
“I’m disappointed not to have won,” he said. “But, we started the weekend in a bad way, qualifying was terrible compared to where we have been this year. We worked really hard and we found our true pace again in the right races.”
“It’s frustrating not to have made it onto the podium, but it was a tough weekend, no one gave any ground in any of the heats or the finals, so to end up where I did was a good result. It’s given me plenty of confidence to go into the second half of the two main championships to pick up more victories,” he added.
Lando doesn’t have long to wait to try and break back into the winners circle, with the next rounds of the Formula Kart Stars Championship taking place next weekend, at Nutts Corner in Ireland, a track Lando hasn’t raced on for a few years but one he’s really looking forward to.
“I haven’t raced there for a couple of years and it’s had a track extension since then. It should be a really good meeting and I can’t wait to see what the new track is like. After this weekend we know we are fast, so I will go out to prove it again,” he said.