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CIK-FIA World Karting Championship Kicks off in Macau

Macau, October 8, 2009 – The 2009 CIK-FIA World Karting Championship got underway in Macau today, the first time the event is being held in Asia, and where the world’s best karter will be crowned on Sunday.

Over 170 karters from 20 countries and regions are taking part in the competition, which includes the headlining 2009 CIK-FIA World Karting Championship and the 2009 CIK-FIA Karting Asia-Pacific KF3 Championship, as well as numerous support races as part of the 2009 Macau International Kart Grand Prix.

Thursday’s free practice sessions saw the Kartodromo de Coloane light up with a flurry of action as the 43 competitors taking part in the CIK-FIA World Karting Championship took to the circuit for their first practice session. While some karters were racing in Macau for the first time, others, such as two-time defending world champion Marco Ardigò (ITA), were returning to the SAR for what has become an annual visit.

Ardigò first raced in Macau in 2005 as part of the Macau International Kart Grand Prix. He has since returned each year, and was last year’s CIK-FIA Asia-Pacific Champion in Macau.

“Today’s practice has gone well, but there’s still a long way to go until Sunday’s race,” said Ardigò, who hopes to win a third consecutive title. “At this point, I don’t feel stressed about the race, but it’s probably too early for that! The level of this championship is extremely high. When I first came here it wasn’t a world or regional championship, but when I came here in 2005, I did well and I seem to have always had strong results on this circuit. We’ll see what happens this year.”

João Afonso knows all the intricacies of his home circuit, but the first Macau karter to compete at the pinnacle of the sport spent Thursday taking everything in: “This is by far the most powerful kart I have driven,” Afonso said. “It’s been a fantastic experience today and it will be an exciting race, although it’s the toughest competition I will have ever faced.”

All three of last year’s podium finishers are competing in Macau, with Libro Toman (CZE) and Gary Catt (GBR) also hoping to take home the victor’s laurels. Still, there is plenty of other stiff competition.

Said Manuel Renaudie (FRA) of the championship: “I’ve raced here before for the Asia-Pacific championship and placed third here last year, but it’s something special this year, to have the world championship in Macau. I really enjoy racing on the circuit and having achieved some good results this year, I’m confident enough for Sunday’s race.”

The 2009 CIK-FIA World Karting Championship continues tomorrow with official practices, before Saturday’s qualifying practices and heats and Sunday’s race.