Guimaraes, Herder, Formal score Moroso triumphs West Palm Beach, FL (February 10, 2008) - The Formula Kart Racing Florida Winter Tour presented by Tony Kart Florida wrapped up rounds 3 & 4 of its 2008 International Rotax Max Challenge with a...
Guimaraes, Herder, Formal score Moroso triumphs
West Palm Beach, FL (February 10, 2008) - The Formula Kart Racing Florida Winter Tour presented by Tony Kart Florida wrapped up rounds 3 & 4 of its 2008 International Rotax Max Challenge with a thrilling weekend of racing held at Moroso Motorsports Park in West Palm Beach, FL. Sunday's main events featured some of the most exciting racing of the season, as over 200 drivers did battle in the six Rotax classes.
Cameron Motorsports DD2
The day's qualifying sessions opened with a thrilling DD2 contest between the world champ Pier-Luc Ouellette (SRA Karting/Arrow), Joey Collins (CRG/SSC Racing) and Alex Speed (Birel/MRP Motorsport). Pier-Luc's 1:00.288 would stand as the pole lap, but late in the session it was Collins who uncorked a lap just eight thousandths of a second slower. And Speed? He was just four thousandths behind Collins. It would hopefully set the stage for a dramatic day of DD2 racing, much needed after yesterday's dominant showing by Ouellette.
Pre-final action and Speed got a terrible start from third, while the Marsell brothers scooted past into third and fourth. Up front, if Pier-Luc had mirrors on his Arrow they'd have been full of Collins, who was locked onto the French Canadian's bumper from the get-go.
Stuart Marsell was soon glued to the rear of Collins' CRG, and it was now a five kart nose to tail battle as Brandon and a recovering Speed joined the fray. Stuart took a brave look at Collins, who in turn realized that it was Go Time to make a move on Ouellette. It seemed as though the Californian couldn't solve the champ, as Pier-Luc's advantage through the technical infield section was just enough to keep Joey at bay.
That was, until one and a half a laps to go when Collins lunged down the inside and seized the top spot, while Stuart dutifully followed through the same hole and relegated Ouellette to third.
In the final, Collins led from the start and up until the halfway point, but it wasn't Pier-Luc who eventually ran him down, it was his SRA Karting teammate Kyle Herder. Up from sixth, Herder methodically picked his way forward and, with Stuart Marsell in tow, zeroed in on Joey. Speed held down a distant fourth, while a struggling Ouellette ran in fifth.
It seemed inevitable that the second and third placed Arrows would have the better of Collins, and Herder made his move on Lap 12, easily moving into the lead. Marsell followed suit a lap later, and that's how they would finish.
Advanced Karting Rotax Junior
The usual suspects reigned supreme in Rotax Junior, as Daniel Formal (Advanced Karting/Tony Kart) blitzed to the pole, almost two tenths clear of Phil De La O (Tony Kart Florida). Tatiana Calderon again showed well in qualifying; the Venezuelan girl was fourth quickest, while Daniel Vela (CRG) laid down the third quickest time and was the only driver to break the Tony Kart domination among the front two rows.
Formal, eager to prove that his performance from the previous day was no fluke, staved off De La O in the pre-final, with the rest of the field a distant five seconds back. Nick Neri (OVRP/Maranello), Vela and Jesus Rios Jr. (PSL Karting/CRG) completed the top five.
In the final, Vela made the decision that he was going to lead for a while, so he made a bold statement into Turn 1 and held the fort for the first lap. But Formal would not be denied, and on Lap 2 he was back into the lead and, by all appearances, the battle for the lead was over.
Things were not so certain behind him. Vela, Neri, De La O, Kevin Monteith (Firstkart.com), Gabriel Chaves (Race Sport Karting/Arrow) and Cody Robinson (BTK/Arrow) kept matters interesting up until the checkered. De La O and Neri eventually staked their claims on second and third (respectively), but fourth place was a different matter. Vela fell off the pace and fell behind both Chaves and Robinson, while Rios Jr. and Monteith also closed in on Daniel.
But Vela was not ready to wave the white flag. He found some pace and got back around Robinson, then went back around Chaves into fourth. Last lap, last corner and those three tangled just enough for Monteith to go from seventh to fourth just 100 yards from the checkered. Ahead of all this, Formal took a comfy win, followed by De La O and Neri.
S1 Racing Karts Rotax Senior
Making his first appearance this weekend at the FWT, party crasher Felipe Guimaraes thoroughly crushed the Rotax Senior field in yesterday's proceedings, the Kart Mini driver having confirmed that the tradition of stellar Brazilian kart racers is alive and well. He opened Sunday's sessions with another salvo, throwing down a 1:00.544 that was two tenths quicker than second-fast man Oliver Sirois (CRG/PSL Karting). Christophe Boisclair (SRA Karting/Arrow) was third quick, while Champion/Intrepid's Ben Searcy was close behind in fourth.
The pre-final was more of the same, as Guimaraes was head and shoulders above the rest of the 41 kart field, annoyingly smooth through the technically demanding infield section. Felipe faced no challenge, while behind him it was Jose Zanella who was storming forward in an attempt to recover from his seventh place qualifying position. Jose and Boisclair battled mercilessly for that second position, failing to notice a fast closing Oliver Aquino (Tony Kart Florida) who cleverly victimized both of them on the final lap with a pair of passes within a pair of corners. A disgruntled Zanella and Boisclair were unhappy to finish third and fourth.
The field never completed the first lap of the main before a red flag came out for an incident involving a large chunk of the field. When the Seniors retook to the track and got the green, it was Guimaraes who took up his customary position up front. Zanella, points leader Fabio Orsolon, and Australian Scott Saunders (Birel/MRP Motorsport) ran in close arrears, but then another incident on Lap 5 brought out the second red flag for this class.
This time, a single file restart was called for, only this time there was a furious race for the lead for about six corners. Into Turn 1 after the restart and Zanella dive bombed past Guimaraes, who was content to watch Jose overshoot the corner before pulling back up alongside. It was a struggle between titanic wills as they went wheel to wheel into Turn 3; Felipe purposely ran wide on the exit to force Zanella onto the grass, and that allowed Saunders to sneak into second and pull alongside Guimaraes into Turn 4. Felipe threw the block on Scott before they made it to Turn 5, and that was the last that the field would see of the Kart Mini as it escaped cleanly up the road; for all intents and purposes, Giumaraes was in a class of his own.
Behind him was the absolute finest racing of the weekend, as the mother of all wars for second place featured five karts waging a thrilling race-long skirmish. Zanella recovered to quickly reclaim the spot to Saunders, the Australian then losing another spot to Orsolon.
Things began to really heat up at the crossed flags, as Orsolon made a beautiful slide job on Zanella for second spot, only to have Jose return the favor in the exact same corner on the following lap. Three corners later and a hard charging Aquino put Orsolon down yet another spot, but when Oliver tried to take second away from Zanella, his Tony Kart went sliding wide out of Turn 1 and the Philippines native lost a slew of positions.
Meanwhile, a previously fading Saunders had found the plot on his Birel, and he rebounded back into fourth and closed in on Orsolon for third, who was now on Zanella's tail. Aquino was also back in the mix, and there were just four laps to go.
Lap 15 of 18 and Orsolon claimed second spot from Zanella, yet on the next lap it was Aquino who made the pass of the season with a late braking, all or nothing effort into Turn 1 that saw him slide past Zanella, slide past Orsolon, and slide right into second spot from fourth. He used the exit curbing to keep his Tony clean and true, and the packed grandstand roared its approval.
Zanella took the opportunity to go back around Orsolon (now for third), but into the final corner of the final lap Fabio (the current points leader) gambled it all on a last ditch effort to reclaim the position. There was no mercy shown by either driver, they collided, and watched thirteen karts go by before they could rejoin in tandem and take 16th (Orsolon) and (17th) Zanella. To date this season, both of them have squandered golden opportunities to solidify their place atop the points standings.
Their loss was the fortunate gain of Saunders, who gleefully went past and finished third. Boisclair and Victor Pedrosa completed the top five.
RDD Motorsports Masters
A late downpour on Saturday afternoon postponed that day's Masters final, so at the completion of morning warm-up, the 35 and older (or 190lb.+) crowd took to the track for their first of two mains. Current points leader Michael Riolo (Advanced Karting/Tony Kart) took an uneventful win by almost three seconds, while Paul Montopoli (Firstkart.com) and Ian Thomas (Full Throttle Karting/Birel) completed the podium. In a bit of foreshadowing, Eric Beltrami recorded the fastest lap of the race.
Later that morning, the Masters returned to the track for their Sunday qualifying session. Thomas would top the charts, followed by Beltrami and an on-pace Andy Seeseman (Full Throttle Karting/Birel). Big news from the aged class was that morning winner Riolo set the 16th fastest time, after mistakenly attempting to qualify with the choke on.
The flag dropped on the pre-final and it was Thomas away into first spot, while Beltrami and a surging Seesemann immediately applied the heat to the leader. Those three gapped the field straight away, and it was Beltrami who on Lap 4 demoted Thomas to second.
It was now the best racing seen yet from the Masters this year, as Villeneuve closed in on Seesemann's bumper and the top four were nose to tail. Baltrami was just fast enough to keep the others at bay, but the result was an increasing number of karts stacking up behind him. Montopoli demoted Villeneuve down to fourth and closed in on Seesemann's bumper; Lap 10 and Montopoli was past Andy into third.
Two to go and Ian was back into the lead, but then on the white flag lap Beltrami tried to force the issue with Thomas. They went side by side out of Turn 4, allowing Montopoli to sneak past into the lead as the trio went three wide into Five. Bertram's bold move paid no dividends; he got shuffled to fifth as Seesemann and Denis Lachance also went through.
Montopoli jumped into the lead in the final, but it was Seesemann immediately onto the bumper of the leader with Beltrami lurking. Lap 3 was a good one for Eric; he got past Andy and Paul and was into the lead. Those three had a one second advantage over Lachance in fourth place. A lap later and Andy made a hugely opportunistic move through the infield and caught Montopoli by surprise; Andy was back into second.
Halfway (Lap 9) and there were no changes to the leading three, but they remained tightly bunched and separated by less than a tick of the watch. In particular, Montopoli was putting intense pressure on Andy, the First Kart driver finally getting past the Birel with two laps to go, and that marked the final moment of interest. Beltrami won with about a second to spare.
Kart Mini of America Mini Max / RDD Motorsports Micro Max
Jack West (Juncos Racing) and Dore Chaponick, Jr. (Birel/MRP Motorsport) waged a day-long confrontation in the Mini Max category, the two young drivers staging their own personal duel away from the rest of the field. Chaponick won the battle when he nipped West by a tenth to the pre-final win, but Jack won the war with his triumph in the main. Dalton Sargeant (RDD Motorsports) was best of the rest en route to third.
For the second straight day, the #666 kart of Patricio O' Ward (Paradise Racing/Arrow) annihilated the lesser-numbered karts in the Micro Max field. The young Mexican driver took the pole by over three tenths, won the pre- final by almost three seconds, and won the main by over five seconds. Juan Manuel Correa from Ecuador was second, while Canadian Grant Quinlan finished third.