Lee Harpham became another British driver to win the prestigious CIK-FIA European Superkart Championship this season. Here tells Simon Stiel how he did it...
Many congratulations for the European title. What were the factors for you participating this year?
Basically, I had two years off from the European championship and missed it quite a lot so I wanted to get back into it. I'd done the Grand Prix with John Riley the previous year so I got in touch with John after that and decided to have an attack on the European championship and see how we'd get on this year.
Obviously, it went well for us. We were just expecting to do as well as we could but we didn't expect to win it this year.
Yes, because at Hockenheim in the wet you were quick and then at Snetterton
in the dry you achieved that hat-trick...
Yeah, I mean Hockenheim was quite a shock to be honest. Obviously I had two years out and we were looking for a top ten finish before we went to the meeting. But after the qualifying and the first race we thought maybe it could be a bit different to what we'd planned. We were a bit let down with the chain in the second race but for the first meeting of the year after two years it was good. We were pleased after that weekend.
we had some new cylinders from FPE for that weekend which helped a bit more with the speed. That helped us get the three wins there.
Your likely challengers Emmanuel Vinuales and Gavin Bennett had trouble with chassis. How did your chassis develop over the course of the season?
It's been good. It was John's personal kart that we were using for this year to see how we got on. John over the winter made a lot of developments with the kart, like a small diffuser on the rear end and different bodywork. The kart was really well set up to begin with basically. We just improved it bit by bit from there to suit my driving style.
For this year you briefly competed in F250 Nationals did you think you could joggle the two championships?
Well, the aim at the beginning of the year was to race the 250 singles to get us back into race speed and then was going to decide before Snetterton
what we were going to do. The problem was trying to do both championships but obviously after doing well at Hockenheim we thought it was going to be a bit of a rush at the Snetterton
We decided to just use the European from then on really because we'd just had a bad result in Ireland with the single. We decided to put the single back in the garage and concentrate on the European for the rest of the season.
The challenger for the title turned out to be Marcel Maasmann. What was the atmosphere like in the garage when you're in the same team?