Stefan Haas Ontario Region's Magnum Ice Race series review

Haas second in ice racing championship March 04, 2002 Ice racer Stefan Haas has claimed second in the S3 class of the Canadian Automobile Sport Clubs - Ontario Region's 2002 Magnum Ice Race Series. The twenty-nine-year-old resident of...

Haas second in ice racing championship

March 04, 2002

Ice racer Stefan Haas has claimed second in the S3 class of the Canadian Automobile Sport Clubs - Ontario Region's 2002 Magnum Ice Race Series. The twenty-nine-year-old resident of Etobicoke, Ontario, who drives the CanadianKarting.ca car was tied for the class win with Tony McGrath, but McGrath, with more wins, was awarded the title.

This year's ice racing schedule has been repeatedly disrupted by warm weather and it was decided at this final meeting to get in as many races as possible trying to make up for lost events. Three championship-scoring points races were slated for Saturday and Haas got the upper hand by winning a qualifying heat in the morning to put his car on the pole for the first points race of the day.

Drivers had to contend with a dilapidated surface, damaged by weeks of racing in marginal conditions and Haas, who went into the final event leading the championship, also had to grapple with a shift linkage problem and other niggling difficulties that have resulted from heavy wear and tear this year. He finished second to McGrath in each of Saturday's races and, when the scoring formula to was applied to factor out low scores, McGrath had pulled even on points.

With the stage set for a Haas-McGrath showdown on Sunday, the season came to a disappointing end when overnight rain washed away hopes of any further racing.

"I had six wins and thirteen seconds," said Haas who was seeking his third consecutive S3 championship. "And I lost the championship because Tony had more wins. It's disappointing, but that's the way it goes."

Haas, however, has already turned that disappointment into fuel for next year, saying he will be working hard to get more power from his engine. He and McGrath both use VW Rabbits, but while Haas has a modified version of the original 4-cylinder engine, McGrath has installed a VW V-6, turbo engine in his car. More power, however, did not mean McGrath had it all his way. While fast on the straights, his heavier engine made him slower in the corners, making for some exciting cat-and-mouse battles.

Tires, Haas believes, are also a major factor and led to some handling problems in the latter events this season. He experimented with his studded tires this year, searching to extract maximum traction on the ice, and he'll be using his lessons from this year to build better tires for next year.

Although he fell short of his goal of winning another championship, he looks back on this season with a smile: "It was fun. I was happy to have the support of CanadianKarting.ca this year and I'm looking forward to the awards banquet in a few weeks."

-mirs/mj-

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