Chris Hays tenth at European Championship
Reigning Castrol EDGE CIK Stars of Karting Series Pro Gearbox (KZ2) Champion Chris Hays recorded an impressive tenth placing at round two of the CIK-FIA European KZ2 Championships at the Genk circuit in Belgium
Hays’ top ten result is the highest by an Australian driver in the highly competitive championship that attracted no less than 84 drivers from 20 countries. When added to his 15th placing in the opening round in May, Hays’ performances made many onlookers sit up and take notice of the Australian talent.
Hays competed in the two-round championship with the factory Energy Corse team, the outfit that is charged with also fielding the Lotus F1 Junior Team.
“The opportunity to come over to Europe and race against close to 100 of the world’s best drivers with a factory team is an amazing one,” said Hays, an apprentice mechanic with Renault Australia.
“Then to get a top ten result on the board and show that Australian drivers can mix it with the world’s best is an even better feeling.
“During my European debut at the opening round I learnt a lot and was able to take that into this round. To be able to come away with a top ten finish is just great. Now, the challenge is to get the budget together so that I can race in Europe more often and further my career over here.
“Without the support of the team at Energy Corse, my family, Adam Graham of Energy Corse Australia and Jon Targett, this opportunity would not have been possible and I really thank them for everything they have put in. The support from everyone in Australia has been great across the weekend, I’m so proud to be able to be fly the Aussie flag in Europe.”
Hays was joined at the event by fellow Queenslander Jason Faint who showed continual improvement. Unfortunately he missed out on a transfer into the main event when he finished 25th in the pre-final where only the top 17 finishers progressed into the final.
Hays’ Energy Corse team-mate Joel Johanssen finished third on Sunday. The Swedish driver narrowly missed out on the European Championship with Norwegian Emil Antonsen, who finished second on Sunday, edging him out by a solitary point. CRG driver Felice Tiene, who qualified dead last in 84th place on Friday, was nothing short of amazing on his way to securing the round victory.
Both Hays and Faint will return to Australia today before preparing for Round Four of the Castrol EDGE Stars of Karting Series at Sydney’s Eastern Creek International Karting Raceway on July 27/28.