Pedro Hiltbrand of CRG SpA and Victor Martins of VDK Racing were this evening crowned the undisputed world champions of karting.
Hiltbrand clinched the title in the CIK-FIA World Championship, while Martins was the winner in the CIK-FIA World Junior Championship.
Both newly crowned champions earned their titles after winning the final race of their respective categories, each of which featured 34 karters. All the action was held as part of the first-ever Bahrain Motorsport Festival. The action took place at Bahrain International Karting Circuit.
The world championship and junior world championship were the two biggest and most significant international karting events of the year, with participants from 35 countries around the world. They were also the only CIK meetings organised outside of Europe in 2016.
Commission Internationale de Karting (CIK) President and Bahrain Motor Federation President Shaikh Abdulla bin Isa Al Khalifa was on hand to watch the proceedings, as were Bahrain International Circuit (BIC) Chairman of the Board Arif Rahimi and BIC Chief Executive Shaikh Salman bin Isa Al Khalifa. CIK Vice-President Kees van De Grint was also in attendance along with other high-ranking officials.
In the world final, Hiltbrand was on the winning end of a heated battle with last year’s world KF champion Karol Basz of Kosmic Racing Dept in the 22-lap sprint.
Starting from second on the grid alongside pole-sitter Alexander Smolyar of Ward Racing, Hiltbrand got off to a fantastic start and immediately snatched away the lead. Basz moved up front for a brief period but even after Hiltbrand regained first place on lap three, the battle remained tight between the pair with the gap going no larger than 0.5 seconds.
Hiltbrand led all the way up to lap 15 but Basz made another move for the front and looked on his way to claiming the victory. But Hiltbrand was determined to finish strong, and with just four laps remaining, the Spaniard managed to take back first place.
He eventually held on until the chequered flag and won the world championship ahead of Basz by just 1.365s. Felice Tiene, also of CRG, claimed the final podium place in third after finishing 2.557s behind the victor.
Fourth through sixth were all CRG SpA karters including Paavo Tonteri, Hannes Janker and Tom Joyner in that same order.
Taking seventh was Noah Milell of Kosmic Racing Dept and eighth was Lorenzo Travisanutto of Ward Racing.
With the result, Hiltbrand added to his European karting title and his victory in the International KZ2 Super Cup for 2016.
The world championship featured close to 50 participants battling it out over three days.
In the junior final, Martins was starting from the front row next to pole-sitter and favourite David Vidales Ajenjo of Tony Kart Racing Team.
Ajenjo managed to keep his lead at the start while Martins was overtaken by Gianluca De Castro Petecof of CRG SpA.
In the third lap, however, it was Martins who had gained the lead with Ajenjo behind him and Petecof dropped to sixth position. Martins did well to hold on to the advantage but momentarily gave up first place on laps six and seven, when Ajenjo and Finlay Kenneally took turns to lead the pack.
Martins took back control on lap eight and never looked back. The Frenchman gradually extended the gap from his closest challenger from 0.6 seconds to the 2.312 seconds he won with at the chequered flag, after 18 hotly contested laps.
Theo Pourchaire of Kosmic Racing Dept claimed the final podium position after finishing 6.363s in third place.
Ivan Shvetsov of Ward Racing was classified fourth, Petecof fifth and Oscar Piastri of Ricky Flynn Motorsport in sixth. Kiern Jewiss of Forza Racing and Pavel Bulantsev of Ward rounded out the top eight.