International kartsport driver Jacob Douglas claimed two New Zealand titles at the Armstrong Group-backed three-day KartSport New Zealand National Sprint Championship meeting at his home track in Christchurch over Easter.
After winning the Vortex ROK DVS Junior title in the wet, on Easter Friday, he went on to dominate the 125cc Rotax Max Junior class in the dry on Saturday, claiming a second title for the weekend.
“I’m very, very happy with how the weekend went,” Douglas said. “The way it panned out showed that we were quick all weekend and it was no fluke.”
On the opening day, Douglas won three out of five races then followed up on Saturday with winning every race despite some stiff opposition.
“I had an amazing car all weekend so big thanks to the WKS team.
“The level of competition was pretty high particularly with a lot of locals who have some pretty good track knowledge. Seb Mason and Blake Knowles kept me honest.”
In Vortex ROK DVS Junior, the 15-year-old took control in both his Pre-Final and Final races jumping into an early lead in both, showing he was a rain-master on the streaming wet track as rain showers swept across the KartSport Canterbury club’s track at Carrs Rd in Halswell.
The following day in the dry, Douglas set a record claiming the 125cc Rotax Max Junior class title with a perfect record – pole in qualifying and wins in all three heats as well as the Pre-Final and Final.
This was despite a real fright in the Final when the driver who had been shadowing him all day, Sebastian Manson from Auckland, caught and passed Douglas mid-race and at one stage had established a lead of a couple of kart lengths.
With the race halted under a red flag due to a crashed kart needing to be retrieved, Douglas, who was quicker to get back up to speed pounced and passed Manson, taking the lead to the end of the race ahead of Manson, Blake Knowles, Mitchell Sparrow and Jay Urwin.
“Qualifying was so important,” Douglas said. “It gives you the opportunity for a good start.
“Carrs Rd is a flowing track so getting every corner right is so important. If you make a mistake in one corner it has a ricochet affect through the next three. It’s so important to keep it smooth and not to chuck the kart around. The most important corner is probably the exit onto the main straight, like a lot of tracks.”
Douglas made the return to kartsport to compete in the nationals after switching to and focusing on single seater racing over the summer. The teenager has been competing in both the South Island Formula 1600 Series and the New Zealand Formula Ford Championship.
“It felt like going home,” said Douglas. “It wasn’t difficult at all to switch back to karting which is so different to single seaters. Knowing the track helped heaps.”
Douglas and the team now return their focus to Formula Ford and some testing at the Mike Pero Motorsport Park, Christchurch, in preparation for the Formula Ford Festival, 1 May.
Having finished as top rookie in the South Island F1600 series, Douglas currently sits in seventh in the national championship with a chance to break into the top five overall in his debut season.
Main Image: Emilee Jane Photography