When the Paul Fletcher International circuit near Grantham in Lincolnshire was announced as the venue for the Western Region qualifying round for the 2010 European KF2 and KF3 Championship it marked the first time in nearly twenty years that an official CIK-FIA event had come to British shores and the local talent were keen to prove that they were the ones to beat on home soil.
For the large number of spectators who came to watch the event they weren't to be disappointed as the British dominated both classes to the point that some of the best racers from France, Spain, Portugal and Switzerland were reduced to also-rans.
With more than 60 drivers entered in KF3 and nearly 50 entered in KF2 ten heats per class were required (drivers competing in four each) to sort out the 34 drivers in each class that would go on to contest the two finals. From there the top 30 finishers on aggregate would qualify in KF3 and the top 26 in KF2 going through to the European finals themselves in Genk later this year.
Qualifying took place on Friday with the track soaked thanks to some traditional British spring weather and understandably those drivers with local knowledge excelled with British drivers taking the top three fastest times in KF3 and the top twelve times in KF2.
Callan O'Keefe, Jake Dennis and Ben Barnicoat led the way in KF3 qualifying with Monaco's Charles Leclerc a shock fourth and France's Esteban Ocon fifth. Ocon was one of a handful of drivers to travel to Britain a month early to compete in a club race at PFI and as the weekend wore on that experience would prove to be invaluable.
With Saturday and Sunday staying dry there was a feeling that the continental Europeans would close the gap on the locals but that would not be the case with British drivers eventually winning a staggering 23 of 24 races over the course of the weekend in both classes.
Sennan Fielding won three of his four heats and finished second in the other to lead the intermediate qualification in KF3 with reigning British Junior champion Alex Albon just behind on three wins and a third place finish. O'Keefe, Roy Johnson, Barnicoat, Jake Dalton all took one win apiece with Frenchman Anthoine Hubert the leading non Briton after the heats in fifth place overall.
The two finals saw more of the same from the British contingent with Fielding winning both races from Johnson in the first final and Albon in the second. Barnicoat claimed second overall courtesy of two third place finishes while Johnson would have made it an all British overall podium only to receive a time penalty for breaking formation at the start. Albon's drive to second in final two was superb having been knocked back to 14th in the opening race.
Taking advantage of Johnson's demotion was Ocon, who was the leading non-Briton home in both finals in fourth and fifth places, which was good enough for third place overall.