Jun 4 2010 Dumfries Standard Friday
KARTING ace Ross Wylie made the podium at Wackersdorf in Bavaria, closing the gap on his Euro Max Challenge rivals.
The 18-year-old from Thornhill was a consistent front-runner in the preliminary heats, taking a trio of third place finishes to put himself sixth on the grid for the first of Sunday’s two points-scoring finals.
Against the world’s top drivers in the Senior Rotax category, Ross delivered an excellent performance in the pre-final.
The former Wallace Hall Academy student pushed his way up the order and crossed the finishing line, once again, in a commendable third place.
He said: “I was full of confidence after I’d set the fastest lap and had the vital inside line for the first corner of the main final.”
With the regulations requiring the drivers and their karts to assemble in a holding area 20 minutes ahead of the race, choosing what tyres to fit to his Fernando Alonso-branded kart beforehand prompted some frantic head-scratching, as Ross explains.
Ross added: “Chaos broke out on the grid. It was decided that I would go out on treaded wet tyres because it was raining while we waited for the Junior race to finish, but I wanted to go on slicks because I had a hunch that the rain would stop and the track would dry quickly.
“We looked at what the majority of the other teams were going for and it was wets.
“Unfortunately, I was right. We’d completed just one lap before the rain stopped, the clouds rolled back and bright sunshine caused the water on the track to start steaming. A dry line formed immediately and just increased as the race wore on.”
The resultant dry surface was fatal for Ross’ wet tyres, which need water to keep them cool and working at their best.
The drivers on slicks carved their way up the order, while Ross was forced to dive off the racing line towards any remaining puddles in a desperate bid to stop his tyres from shredding.
Suddenly, just as quickly as it had stopped, the rain returned with just five laps of the race remaining.
Seizing his chance as the slick-shod runners now slowed and skittered around in the treacherous conditions, Ross fought his way up to 6th and looked assured for a higher finish when the officials stopped the race due to a nasty-looking crash.
Unfortunately, Ross was classified in 9th because the result was taken from the lap prior to the red flags.
Ross said: “It was a fantastic experience, a really good weekend. I gave a good performance and the team did a brilliant job throughout.
“We beat the championship leaders and with two races to go, I’m feeling very positive that more is to come.”
Ross returns to British championship duties later in the month, when he competes in round four of the Super 1 Rotax championship at the challenging Buckmore Park circuit, near Chatham in Kent.