Trois-Rivières, Quebec - May 24, 2012 - With enough drivers to make up the entire starting field of the Indianapolis 500, 33 Team PSL Karting drivers recently took on the first round of the 2012 Coupe du Quebec. Heading to the SRA Karting facility in Saint-Roch-de l’Achigan for the May 13 event, PSL/CRG drivers not only made a statement with their sheer numbers, but in their results as well. With drivers in all eight classes, Team PSL Karting came home with a staggering four final wins, eight additional podium finishes, 26 total top-ten finishes and five pole positions.
Five Team PSL Karting drivers would take on the Rotax DD2 category at the Coupe du Quebec opener. Leading the way was 2012 Florida Winter Tour Rotax DD2 champion Nicholas Latifi. After just getting nipped for the pole position by a scant 0.067 seconds and posting second in the prefinal, Latifi broke free in the 18-lap feature. Taking the win by 13 seconds, Team PSL Karting would sweep the podium as Dominqiue Legrand and Jean-Dominique Doyon came home second and third respectively. In fact, PSL/CRGs completed the top-five karts in the DD2 category with Samuel Drouin fourth and Alessandro Bizzotto fifth.
With seven pilots in the Rotax DD2 Masters class, Team PSL Karting drivers occupied more than half the grid in this competitive class. Martin Janson led the charge for the group of Masters drivers, adding another podium finish to PSL’s tally with his third place result in the final. Top-ten finishes were added by Daniel Gerard (5th), Michel Legrand (6th), Enrico Bolduc (7th) and Thierry St-onge (10th), while Bruno Legrand would have been added to the total if it weren’t for a four position penalty for crossing over the escape patches. Legrand was eventually classified in 11th. Eric Beltrami completed the DD2 Masters driver line-up, and will look to rebound at the next event after posting a disappointing DNF.
Two more top-ten finishes were added to the team total via Rotax Senior drivers Maxime Bussiere and Etienne Lasalle. After overcoming a disappointing qualifying run, Bussiere finished the day with a fifth place finish in the final. Lasalle, on the other hand, came back to post a sixth place finish in the final after a DNF in the earlier prefinal race.
A new face under the Team PSL Karting tent impressed at the SRA Karting event. 2011 Eastern Canadian Karting Championship Rotax Junior champion and factory CRG driver Zachary Claman-Demelo clocked fastest in qualifying to take the Rotax Junior pole position and was the prefinal winner on Sunday. Not able to race the final due to a prior commitment, the red-hot driver would likely have been a shoe-in for a sweep of the class. Christophe Paquet had an outstanding run in the final, coming from sixth in qualifying and seventh in the prefinal to take second place honours at the checkered flag. Samuel Fontaine added another top-ten finish with his eighth place run. Charles Regimbal, Buddy Munn and Sarah McKay also took on the competitive Rotax Junior field, posting 11th, 12th and 14th place results respectively.
In Mini Max, hot shoe Gianfranco Mazzaferro started off his 2012 Coupe du Quebec effort with fast lap in qualifying to take the pole position. Looking to be the driver to beat, Mazzaferro then went on to take the prefinal win, but had to settle for a second place result in the 15-lap feature. Thierry Cote was battling for his first ever podium finish, as the up-and-coming driver look poised to take the third place on the blocks. It was not to be however, as Cote was pushed back to the fifth place as a result of contact. Olivier Goupil completed the Mini Max contingent for PSL and added an eighth place top-ten result to the team’s effort.
PSL Montreal pilot Alexandre Somma started his season at the front, with a sweep of the Micro Max category. The pole winner and prefinal victor went on to a staggering 11-second win in the day’s final. Marc-Antoine Joseph and William Michaud were also Micro Max drivers under the PSL tent, and came home with more top-ten finishes as Joseph claimed sixth place and Michaud seventh.
Team PSL Karting drivers were victorious in both of the Briggs & Stratton classes at the Saint-Roch-de l’Achigan circuit. Taking top honours and sweeping the day with the pole position and prefinal win, Alexandre Gauthier led the charge in the Briggs Senior class. Gerald Caseley added to the PSL livery on the podium with his third place run, while Nicolas Michaud and Jean Beltrami finished seventh and 11th. PSL Atlantic’s Sarah McKay was on her game in the Briggs Junior class. After clocking second in qualifying, McKay was perfect for the remainder of the day claiming wins in both the prefinal and final. PSL/CRG drivers completed the Briggs Junior podium with Buddy Munn in second and Cameron Nickerson third.
The next round of the Coupe du Quebec is less than two weeks away, as Team PSL Karting pilots will descend upon the SH Karting facility June 3. First however, Team PSL Karting will take on the season opener of the Eastern Canadian Karting Championships at Goodwood Kartways in Stouffville, Ontario this coming weekend May 25-27.