Flying Dutchman zooming in for kart star challenge

THE 2011 World Cup champion Joey Hanssen will lead the charge to Ipswich for Round One of the 2013 CIK Stars of Karting Series this weekend.

The Dutchman is currently residing in Perth while working for the Lenzo Kart Australia team.

He will this year become the first European professional driver to compete in the entire schedule of Australia's elite karting championship.

"The competition in Australia is very tough,'' said Hanssen who will compete in the Pro Gearbox (KZ2) category.

"Since I raced here in November it seems as though everyone has stepped it up in terms of the equipment - it's pretty much all on par with the latest we've been running in Europe now.

"The only thing about the tracks that we go to in the CIK Series that I know is what sprocket we should have on, from the guys in the team who have been there before, and I've looked at some maps and videos but that's about it."

While understanding the expectation of him to perform, Hanssen (pictured) says that he has got the utmost of respect for the high level of competition here in Australia.

"There's a lot of talent here in Australia,'' he said. "It's just the experience of racing at the top level that the Europeans are better at than them.

"Everybody here thinks that the tracks have no grip, but in Europe we have the same problem when the tracks get hot and slippery, for sure the tracks here are a little bit smaller but that is just a little thing to get used to."

Gold Coaster Chris Hays is the reigning champion in the Pro Gearbox ranks.

He believes the inclusion of Hanssen adds a new challenge to the already highly competitive championship.

"It is going to be a great start, along with Joey there's also a few new guys from the other Pro categories coming into the category so it's going to be very tough," Hays said.

"The competition was very intense last year but I think it has stepped up a gear in 2013.

"Ipswich is probably one of my favourite tracks but it never seems to go my way there. Having the series start at my home track should be an advantage, hopefully there will also be a heap of people who come out and see the racing."

Tough competition is also expected in the Pro Light (KF) and Pro Junior (KFJ) categories.

Super Karting

A total of 152 entries have been received for this weekend's event, the largest in the series' history.

Practice will be contested for the Pro categories and the TaG 125 classes tomorrow with qualifying and heat races for all categories from 9am on Saturday. The finals will begin at 9am on Sunday.

The Ipswich Kart Club is located on Champions Way, Willowbank.

Admission is free.

Topics:  go karts

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