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King of Europe Round 4 - Tours Speedway, France
July 5, 2018
Round 4 of the Federal Tire King of Europe series saw the drivers return to France as the legendary Tours Speedway made its first ever appearance in the series. With steep banking on both sides of the oval circuit and solid concrete walls which lie in wait, this round certainly gave the drivers the greatest challenge so far in 2018.
It was all eyes on Marco Zakouril after an almost flawless season so far saw him sitting comfortably at the top of the overall rankings going into the race, with Rick Van Goethem in second and Manuel Vacca in third.
After a scorching Saturday which saw the mercury rise to 37°C, it was Zakouril who yet again threw his M5 around the technical circuit with huge angle and gigantic smoke clouds as the Czech driver once again stunned the fans and rivals as he made no mistake in landing the top spot in qualifying.
Italian Riccardo Guidetti shook up the competition as he landed second place in the qualification session, well-deservedly securing highest position of the season so far.
Local hero Axel Francois proved that he is getting to grips with his new 1UZ turbo GT86 build as he showed no fear, running the walls in the new build to take the third qualifying spot.
In the Pro2 series, it was an extremely impressive second run from Michael Perino which handed him first in qualifying with Sofiane Yazid in second and Alexandre Strano in third.
As drivers prepared to go head-to-head in the battles on Sunday, the hot weather conditions provided a consistent playing ground which had been seen throughout practice and qualifying and despite threats of storms, the heat continued.
After passing Gerson Junginger in the Top 16, Massimo Checchin and his 2JZ powered Subaru Impreza would eventually meet their fate against local driver Antoine Amar in the Top 16.
Meanwhile, as Rick Van Goethem took a slight 6-4, 5-5 advantage against Raffaele Zanato’s supercharged V8 Ford Mustang in the Top 16, it was Axel Francois that took the win when he faced Van Goethem in the Top 8 as the scores turned in Axel’s favour after an intense battle.
After Denise Ritzmann’s impressive run at Round 3 where she narrowly missed out on a podium position, she was unable to move past the Top 8 this time round as series leader Marco Zakouril stopped her in her tracks.
As Manuel Vacca and Boulbes lined up in their Top 16, it would be Vacca, who is currently occupies third place in the overall series rankings who would have his weekend ended early. However, as Boulbes advanced to the Top 8, Riccardo Guidetti would steal the Top 4 spot.
After yet another close battle, a 6-4, 5-5 advantage for Zakouril against Antoine Amar secured his spot in the final. With Guidetti and Francois fighting in the second semi-final, an initial 6-4 advantage was handed to Guidetti and as he prepared to chase Francois, an unfortunate driveshaft issue ended his weekend on the banking.
With Axel unable to repair his car within the allocated time frame for the small final, it was a hard-fought weekend for Antoine Amar as he secures the third place spot on the podium.
It all boiled down to series leader Marco Zakouril as he faced Riccardo Guidetti in his first King of Europe final. As Zakouril led the opening run, the pressure proved too much for Guidetti as a 10-0 advantage was given. Despite a promising lead run from Guidetti, it wasn’t enough to take the win, but the Italian was undoubtedly delighted to land the second spot on the podium.
This means that the incredible driving from Marco Zakouril lands him his third consecutive win in the series and creates an even larger gap at the top of the rankings.
After a stunning weekend from the Pro2 drivers, they proved that the standard just keeps getting higher with each round, especially with walls and banking to contend with here at Tours.
After running the walls throughout the weekend, Alexandre Strano was eager to land his place in the final as he faced Sofiane Yazid in the semi-finals. After pushing too hard and getting lost in Yazid’s huge smoke cloud, a hard impact into the wall would spell an unfortunate ending to the weekend for the young French driver.
In the final battle, an initial 10-0 advantage was handed to top qualifier Michael Perino before Sofiane Yazid gave his best efforts, despite his 8-2 advantage in the lead run not being quite enough to secure the victory.
This means that Michael Perino’s fantastic driving handed him the top spot with Sofiane Yazid in second and Mickael Commarmond in third.
We now head straight to the Spanish mountains this weekend for the third round of the Federal Tire King of Touge series in Castillo de la Muga. With this tough and technical mountain road being used for the first time, it’s undoubtedly going to be an exciting one to watch!