Dan Zelos records maiden Mini Max victory

As the 2012 British karting campaign roars into view, Dereham teenager Dan Zelos has thrown down the gauntlet to his rivals.

The Northgate High School pupil, 13, has set out his stall as a Mini Max front-runner and even recorded a maiden victory in his new class only a few weeks after making his debut in it.

Having established himself as one of the best drivers in the country at Comer Cadet level in 2011, Zelos has graduated to the more powerful and keenly-contested Mini Max category with Tooley Motorsport. He has wasted little time in demonstrating that he will continue to be a force to be reckoned with as his burgeoning career shifts up a gear.

'It's going really well,' he said. 'We've come into Mini Max and been immediately up at the front and battling with drivers who finished in the top ten nationally last year. I'm actually quite surprised that we've settled into it all so quickly. In Cadets, it took me a couple of years to get fully up-to-speed, but in Mini Max, it's taken only a few weeks.

'It seems to suit my driving style better; there's a lot more grip, and you need to have strong arms for that, so I've really stepped up my fitness programme this year. You've generally just got to be much tougher in Mini Max – both physically and mentally.'

Zelos' first Mini Max triumph came at Rowrah, as he defeated a host of local specialists around the demanding Cumbrian circuit.

After that he headed to Whilton Mill in Northants ready to test his mettle against 30 of his very fiercest adversaries.

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Finishing fifth, 10th and first in his heats placed Zelos fourth on the grid for the final.

He went on to grab a podium place by finishing third, a scant six tenths of a second