CIK-FIA Academy Trophy | Round 2 | 2nd July 2017
Following the opening round of the CIK-FIA Academy trophy in Belgium, where Joseph finished fourth, he entered the second round held at Le Mans in France, home of the legendary 24 Hours, with bags of confidence, particularly since just one weekend earlier Joseph had shown such a dominant performance at Whilton Mill.
The competition began on the Friday where Joseph made a strong start against the 50+ 12-14 year old contenders from all around the globe. First practice, Joseph finished 5th fastest, the following practices that day again showed Joseph to have a strong pace culminating in a first position in the opening qualifying practice.
The pace continued into Saturday with Joseph gaining a 5th and a 2nd in the qualifying heats. All was going well and looking like Joseph would be starting at the top end of the grid for Sunday’s race.
Sunday started with two more qualifying heats with a finishing position of 5th and 8th. This resulted in a starting position of 8th for the final race later that day.
Rain had played in to young Joseph’s hands earlier in the weekend as he has a reputation for being quick in the wet, Sunday was cloudy but no signs of rain for the final.
Joseph lined up in his 8th spot for the 19 lap final just behind fellow Brit Alexander Simmonds. First corner and Joseph was pushed to the outside by the pack, forcing him to take a detour across the grass to prevent his kart from sustaining damage. He re-joined the race in 13th with dirty tyres, consequently struggling for grip. By the 4th lap, the field had settled own and his tyres had begun to find some grip, allowing him to make up one position. Up front Handsaeme had begun to develop a commanding lead and by lap 6 had over a second gap to 2nd and the remaining battling pack.
Joseph continued to fight with the bulk of the pack but more bad news in Lap 8 the – position JT had made up was lost, leaving him languishing in 13th. Lap 10 and more troubles as Joseph, struggling for grip, slid down to 16th. A brief drop to 17th came a lap later but he won it straight back on the next lap, briefly dropping to 18th as the race came in to its final laps, but managed to gain his position back, crossing the line in 17th. Not the final Joseph was hoping for. However, multiple penalties, including an exclusion for fellow Brit Alex Simmonds moved Joseph up the grid to 11th.
This results in Joseph sitting 5th in the Championship only 5 points from 4th place Mike van Vugt. With only one round left, first place Xavier Handsaeme is most likely too far ahead with 59 points to be caught, however a good result in Alahärmä, Finland could result in a top three championship finish.
The final round will be held later this month on the 23rd of the July.