David Coulthard drove the RB6 at the Bologna motorshow – though he had plenty of friends to keep him company.
The show car team are never what you might call subtle but even by their usual standards of mayhem this weekend’s Bologna Motor Show was spectacular. The Red Bull Speed Days in the arena featured DC doing his thing in the RB6 and the Red Bull NASCAR, joined by Daniel Ricciardo in an STR7. Sébastien Loeb made sure WRC got it’s due while streetbike freestyle World Champion Chris Pfeiffer made sure it wasn’t just fun of the four-wheeled variety. Aleksandr Grinchuk showed everyone the true meaning of ‘sideways’ in his drift car, Travis Pastrana was there, as were two generations of Carlos Sainz.
40,000 people braved the cold to watch the showcar in action as David did two runs each day in the RB6, the first a tyre-destroying squealing, screaming, smoking virtuoso, the second in harness with our friends. For once, though, this was the warm-up act, not the main event. Top of the bill was the final of the Red Bull Kart Fight. The year-long search for a karting champion saw the winners of national finals from around the world come to Bologna for the grand final and some special mentoring from the professionals – David looked after the Northern Europe group.
“It’s been a great couple of days with the youngsters in Bologna. There was some fierce competitors out there and definite stars of the future,” said DC, who will next appear at the Race of Champions in Thailand.
Many congratulations go to champion, 13-year old Shinji Sawada. Having come through the Kansai heats and the Japanese final in Tokyo, Shinji put in a marvelous performance to tough it out against the world’s best. After 28 laps there was nothing to separate him from Russia’s Vasily Rozhkov but a crunching final tour saw the Japanese karter come out in front. Croatian Ivan Višak grabbed third.
“I can't believe it,” said Sawada, “I'm really speechless. It was such a tough race. The Russian was so fast and so were many of the others. We had a great battle all the way and on the last lap we came together, bumped a bit, it was so close we were fighting so hard and I just managed to get through at the second-to last corner and then raced for the line.
“It wasn't just the racing, for me it was my first trip outside Japan, everything was new. To meet heroes like Sebastian Loeb and David Coulthard was very special but in a way, even more special was Carlos Sainz Jr. I respect him so much and he was such a big help with my driving here with such great advice, I couldn't ask for anything more.”
Of course under the skin of every professional racing driver lurks a karter waiting to get out, and most of our lot didn’t need a second invitation to get out on track. And if they weren’t enough, a man looking exactly like Adrian Newey put in an appearance. Obviously our Chief Technical Officer is much too busy with the RB9 to spend his Sunday having WRC taxi-rides with Sébastien Loeb and bombing around in a go-kart, so it must have been a stunt double.