A federally accredited coach (DE JEPS), Didier André has participated in the training and development of several drivers since he founded his DADD (Didier André Driver Development) organisation. At the end of September, he was in Sweden alongside Lorenzo Travisanutto, who reached his ultimate goal by becoming FIA Karting World Champion in OK on the Kristianstad circuit. A title that Didier André experienced with great emotion, more than 25 years after himself coming very close to the feat.
Lorenzo Travisanutto and Didier André met at the beginning of this season and immediately a spark passed between the former karting and car champion and now coach, and one of the kart racers most prominent on the international scene today. “In the first races of 2018, when I was working in Dino Chiesa’s structure, I was impressed by him, by what he created through the KR Motorsport team. His Kart Republic chassis is extremely competitive and he has set up very strong partnerships with Nico Rosberg and the IAME factory (Parilla engines) for example. He is a brilliant technician and a charismatic team manager. When I was racing, I often found myself side by side with his drivers. In his current team, I immediately noticed Lorenzo Travisanutto,” admits Didier André.
A victory experienced from the inside
At the World Championship at Kristianstad, Didier André joined Dino and Lorenzo, before sharing the global success at the end of a Sunday like no other. “I want to salute the great professionalism of all members of the KR Motorsport team. It reigns an incredible working atmosphere. Everyone has the same objective, the same state of mind. KR and Lorenzo Travisanutto can be proud of what they have accomplished. Because we have to admit that this World Championship was incredibly difficult. The weather conditions changed frequently, the heats were very numerous, penalties for a front fairing in the wrong position were waiting for all the drivers. He really had to be as fast as he was consistent, with no room for mistakes.”
“It is very difficult to manage the pressure around the driver, I know that too. In 1990, I was on the front row in the World Championship Final alongside Giancarlo Fisichella, but a collision ruined my hopes. The following year at Le Mans, I was close to getting on the podium. And in 1992, I was again at the front when the engine broke in the Prefinal. I managed to move back to 5th after an intense comeback. Even though I also have four French Championships, a Vice European Championship and a podium at the World Cup, these World Championships remain great disappointments for me, and also for those around me, starting with Christian Boudon with whom we worked hard to get there. I can therefore easily understand the feelings for Lorenzo and his team in Sweden after this title.”
Finding the right words
Travisanutto, however, had to go after the World title, drawing from deep inside himself, especially when his rival Hannes Janker stole his lead during the Final. “With Lorenzo, we talked a lot during the weekend. We knew he could count on exceptional equipment, but when he watched the performances of the other drivers, he wondered. Many athletes know that they are capable of winning big events, but until their moment arrives, doubts are still there! I told him he had to put himself in the shoes of a champion, that he could not let this opportunity pass. The mind is decisive for a top athlete and Lorenzo understood. The important thing was to find the right words. Sometimes one look was enough to make it even stronger.”
“In his career, he has made mistakes. But at Kristianstad, his maturity changed again, he has been majestic. He is now World Champion and he will remain so all his life. In the future, he will be even harder to beat. I really wanted to congratulate him, as well as his team. Experiencing this moment, with the Didier André Driver Development logo on Lorenzo’s helmet, warmed my heart and allowed me to mitigate the disappointments during the World Championships that I lost that I still often think about,” concluded the French coach.