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Super Stirling triumphs in Spain

29 August 2010

Northern Irishman Adam Stirling dramatically snatched victory in the second round of the CIK-FIA Under 18 World Championship at Alcaniz in Spain with a daring last lap pass on Finland's Teemu Suninen.

Driving for the British based Millennium Motorsport team Adam, the younger brother of former British Junior Karting Champion Carl Stirling, came into the inaugural three-round U18 World Championship as something of an outsider having been out of top-line karting for some time.

But a strong top ten showing in the opening round of the series at the German circuit of Wackersdorf marked Stirling out as one to watch for the rest of the year and he duly delivered at the gruelling, sun drenched 1700-metre circuit.

After timed qualifying and a total of ten heats (each driver contesting four races) trimmed the 54-strong U18 entry down to 34 Stirling started the first pre-final in fourth behind Thailand's Tanart Sathienthirakul (Stirling's Millennium Motorsport teammate), Austria's Stefan Riener driving for the VPD Racing team and the RedStep kart of Suninen who accounted for six heat wins between them.

The other heats went to Briton Jordan Chamberlain, Irishman John Norris, Frenchman Vincent Fraisse and Spaniard Victor Colome and while Stirling went winless through the heats he was one of the most consistent finishers, scoring two seconds and two thirds from his four starts.

Suninen won the first pre-final with a last lap pass on his RedStep teammate Pyry Ovaska, who had started sixth but worked his way into the lead on the penultimate lap. Dennis finished third with Chamberlain fourth after leading with two laps remaining. Norris took fifth with Stirling recovering to sixth after slipping to tenth in the opening lap chaos.

Stirling still fared much better than the two front row starters, who all but ended their chance of a good overall score with a lap two collision that eliminated Sathienthirakul and greatly delayed Riener.

The second pre-final started with a reversed grid, which meant Leo Roussel and Liam Gout on row one and Suninen and Stirling way back on row 16. But in just nine race laps Suninen powered his way up to fourth position, which became third when Simone Favaro, who won the race on the road, was penalised ten seconds for contact driving.

Favaro's penalty handed the win to Dubai based Englishman Edward Jones with Adrian Del Rio second and Suninen third. Of the other frontrunners Norris took fifth, Stirling sixth and Chamberlain seventh while Dennis retired and Ovaska struggled home 16th.

With the points from the two pre finals added together Suninen was on pole for the 18-lap final from Norris, Del Rio, Chamberlain and Stirling completing the top five.

Suninen held the lead at the start of the final with Stirling bolting into second place on the opening lap. With Italian driver Chiara Poletto grabbing third from seventh on the grid the top three pulled away from the rest of the field with Stirling continually stuck to his rear bumper.

As the leaders started their final lap Suninen still led but just a few corners from home Stirling pulled off an inspired move to snatch the lead and take the victory, crossing the line just seventeen hundredths of a second ahead of Suninen with Poletto half a second back in third.

Chamberlain took fourth, atoning for his exclusion from the opening meeting in Wackersdorf with Dennis putting in another charging drive to go from 16th on the grid to fifth.

That result for Dennis means that the round one winner retains a share of the points lead with Suninen, the Anglo-Finnish pairing both on 36 points with Stirling just four points behind in third and the rest, led by Matias Koykka, 16 points and more off the lead.


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