Kiwi kart driver Josh Hart got second place in the final atthe second round of this year's Rotax Senior European Championship in Italy
The 24-year-old from Palmerston North drives for the Austrian-based Intrepid Force Rotax team.
It was a confidence-boosting result for the former New Zealand champion and Rotax Max Challenge of New Zealand winner who qualified quickest and claimed two wins and a sixth across the three heat races on Saturday.
This gave him a tally of six points and a second row start (P3) for the Pre-Final behind the two British-based Strawberry Racing Tony Karts of Luke Varley and Joseph Reilly.
The start of the the Pre-Final did not go Hart’s way however and after a small crash he was in seventh position. He then spent the second half of the race regaining the four positions he had lost, allowing the two Tony Kart drivers to get a small break which he was unable to pull back before the finish, despite setting the fastest race lap.
To the Final and at the start Hart jumped into second place and immediately applied pressure to pole man Luke Varley, the winner of the Final at the first round of this year's Rotax Euro Challenge series.
Varley's teammate Joseph Reilly had other ideas though, repassing Hart a lap later before making a brilliant pass on Varley.
Hart followed Reilly past Varley which seemed to surprise the former British Junior Champion. Hart and Reilly then battled for the remainder of the 19 lap Final constantly exchanging fastest lap times, but Hart was unable to find a way past, and the hard charging Kiwi had to settle for the second step on the podium.
After the final Hart commented; “ We definitely had the pace to win. My Intrepid chassis and HRS engine combination was very fast in the racing, and I recorded the fastest lap time in qualifying, in all three heat races and in the Pre-Final. That said, I don’t believe I did a good enough job and my race fitness is not up to scratch. I really need to sharpen my game and I will have to do better at round 3 in July."
The Sosnova circuit in the Czech Republic hosts that round between July 22 and 26.