CNKC: Marco Di Leo prepares for World Finals

A Win and a Trip to the Canary Islands to Compete Against the Best in the World (MARKHAM, ON -- SEPTEMBER 1, 2004) -- Markham, Ontario's young racing star Marco Di Leo, is determined to add one more medal to Canada's medal count. On August ...

A Win and a Trip to the Canary Islands to Compete Against the Best in the World

(MARKHAM, ON -- SEPTEMBER 1, 2004) -- Markham, Ontario's young racing star Marco Di Leo, is determined to add one more medal to Canada's medal count. On August 18-22, the 17- year-old driver competed in the Canadian National Karting Championships in Chilliwak, British Columbia. Di Leo headed out with Team Gold Kart and team owner Lon Herder to battle against the best teams and drivers from all over Canada to fight for the title of 'Canadian Champion.'

Marco competed in the Headline Class, Rotax-Max Senior. On the line was a chance to compete in the Rotax-Max Challenge World Finals in Lanzarote, Canary Islands. This class was not only the most competitive due to the fact that the class was designed to produce a world qualified driver, but Rotax-Max Senior also held the largest field of the weekend totaling nearly 60 qualified drivers.

During Wednesday and Thursday practice Di Leo had proven to the rest of the country that he was going to be the one to set the pace. However when Friday's qualifying session was completed Di Leo found himself sitting fifth on the grid. "I put a great lap together that I thought would of put me on the front row. This just proves that this weekend we'll have to be perfect if we want to stand on top of the podium" Di Leo reported to several media publications. After hard work and long hours preparing for the next day, Team Gold awoke to a wet track. Set up sheets became useless however, Di Leo & Herder knowing that this was the case for all teams put a hypothesized set-up on the kart.

In the first heat race Di Leo started 4th on the grid and fought through flooding conditions to finish second. In heat two Di Leo started third and was unable to advance as he finished where he had started. The 2nd and 3rd place finishes in the heat races gave the Markham student a 3rd starting position for Sunday's pre-final.

After a good night sleep Team Gold was ready to put it all on the line in quest for the World Finals. When the green flag dropped in the pre-final Di Leo wasted no time by making it three wide in corner one advancing to second place. The next lap the 17-year-old made a pass for the lead and never looked back grabbing the pre-final win and the pole position for the final. Going into the final with pressure rising and conditions drying Di Leo had to make a decision on whether to use the rain tire or the slick tire for the damp race track. With the last minute board up Di Leo was convinced that the wet tire was still the best.

In the Final, with all the marbles on the line Di Leo came through in the clutch by taking a ten kart length lead over 2nd place. With the race half completed Di Leo knew that it was important to maintain his shredding rain tires in order for them to reach the checkered flag. Marco was charged late and hard by a B.C. driver on slicks but was able to overcome the charge to take the checkered flag, the race win and the title, Rotax Max Canadian National Karting Champion. "Our strategy paid off and I'm so happy for myself and my team that we were able to take the win, but my job is only half done as in January I need finish what I started."

-mdl-

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