For Daniil and his team, qualifying for the second WSK round had gone pear-shaped. Kvyat was disqualified for a burnt clutch and, in a list of almost 80 surnames, he was dead last. That meant that Daniil could only end up among the 34 finalists by making several overtakes during the preliminary heats. In each heat, he had to start last – but that didn't stop him from winning.
"In qualifying we were simply out of our element. First it started to rain and we couldn't find the right set-up. Then the clutch burned out, and in karting that usually gets you disqualified right away. So I was 78th and started each qualifying race last. But we were still confident in ourselves, simply because we were much quicker than anyone else on sheer pace. I finished the heats in third, fifth, seventh, each time fighting through from the last row. Couple of times I was out of luck. In one of the heats I couldn't fight through, in another I had a small crash on the penultimate lap. But we made the pre-final in 25th place, having been 78th in qualifying.
"In the pre-final it was important to make up as much ground as possible, because only the top drivers were left in contention, and you didn't want to give the leaders a head start. It was one of those races where you're fighting in almost every corner. Already after the first lap I was 12th and then I started to overtake the rest. Every time through resistance, through contact. After that race we had to throw out the sidepods, the front bumper, the rear bumper, because there were collisions with almost every rival. But most importantly the job was done: I climbed to third place, ensuring a good starting spot for the final.
"By that point many had caught up to us in terms of sheer pace – after all, everybody had gone through qualifying and several heats. Three or four drivers already could take us on. It was a four-way battle for victory: myself, Raffaele Marciello, Carlos and another Spaniard, Gerard Barrabeig. I took the lead right away, but they were putting pressure on me, and at one point I was back to third again. Carlos was hanging on in fourth. Then I saw that the pair ahead started to battle, and I passed one, and then the other. They continued to throw down, soon joined by Carlos, and thanks to that I soon pulled away by about 50 metres, which was enough for victory in the end. Carlos' speed in the final was even better, so when he dealt with the other two, he started to catch up fast. Thankfully for us, the chequered flag came soon. So, having been last in qualifying, we still ended up winning the race. We couldn't believe it."
Kvyat's form at Sarno should have been especially worrying for his rivals, because that was the track that was due to host the world championship.