DRIVER BEHAVIOUR CHANGES CHAMPIONSHIP LEAD FOR ALEX NINOVIC
Round 4 of the SP Tools Australian Kart Championship was conducted at the Emerald Karting Club in Queensland on the 15-16-17th July 2022.
In his first year contesting KA3 Senior after winning the 2021 KA4 Junior National Title, Alex Ninovic took on Friday’s open practice against 33 experienced senior drivers.
In the first session 15 year old Alex went to the top of the score board in 41.536 seconds.
Practice 2 had Joel Macpherson take the top in 41.385 bumping Ninovic Jnr 41.388 to second. This tiny margin of three one thousand of a second shows how competitive KA3 Senior Class is.
Practice 3 had Alex in first place on 41.372 while practice 4 saw the current national champion Jace Matthews take top honours with 41.356, pushing Alex back to second in 41.363.
The final practice session had Alex top the time charts in 41.535, second 41.559, third 41.567, with Jace Matthews in position four on 41.599. The next four drivers were all running 41.6, again showing how small margins in KA3 Senior splits the field.
Saturday morning was an 8 minute qualifying session with all competitors fighting for clear track to put down a fast lap. When the flag came down Jace Matthews showed why he is National KA3 Senior Champion recording 41.344 beating Kurtis Tennant 41.537 and Alex Ninovic 41.541 taking third. Five times KA3 National Champion James Sera was in fifth with a time of 41.591, again reflecting on how competitive this class is!
Heat 1 – Jace Matthews took victory over Alex, with Sera third over a fast finishing Jai Brown closing out championship contender Benito Montalbano and Kurtis Tennant.
Heat 2 – Matthews again took victory over Ninovic Jnr, James Sera rounding out third over Montalbano, Tennant and Lachlan Platten finishing sixth.
Heat 3 – Jace Matthews closed out Sera with Jai Brown taking third and setting the fastest lap over Ninovic, Oscar Priest and Benito Montalbano.
Heat 4 – Was a none event for the current points leader Alex Ninovic. Starting off grid two on lap 3 of the 12-lap heat James Sera out braked himself slamming into the back of Alex’s PCR Factory Kart taking both drivers off the circuit. Alex resumed in 27th place coming home in 15th. Sera later apologised to Alex for his mistake.
Championship 20 Lap Final – With 33 drivers on track there was bound to be plenty of action. Bunched up behind Jace Matthews who controlled the start, it was push and shove through the first corner. Alex Ninovic who started off grid position 3 was hit from behind again creating wheel to wheel contact with Montalbano both karts spinning infield.
When the dust settled, Alex restarted last in 33 and like the champion he is, drove the wheels of the ‘Hamilton Blackstone Lawyers’ sponsored PCR Kart. When the flag fell victory went to Jai Brown ahead of Matthews with Ninovic Jnr setting the second fastest lap on his way to finishing in 12th place.
Alex said ‘It was disappointing to be on the receiving end of other driver’s mistakes. When you are taken out of front running positions which robs you of championship points, this means we have to go to Newcastle to fight for the KA3 Senior National Championship’.
After round 4, Jace Matthews now leads Alex Ninovic by 3 points setting up a fire cracker grand finale.
The next round of the SP Tools Australian Kart Championship is 19th – 21st of August where Alex and the AN Racing team are off to Cameron Park in Newcastle for the final round of the season.