After convincing wins last weekend in the ROK Cup Championship, Mathias Ramirez and Kyle Kirkwood are seeking to do the same thing at the same place in the Rotax Max Challenge. Cody Schindel previews the event.
Coming off of a successful weekend for the ROK Cup Championship, the Sofina Foods Florida Winter Tour presented by FIKSE Wheels returns to the Ocala Gran Prix course this weekend for the Rotax Max Challenge. Turning the page and kicking off the second half of the Winter Tour, seven more classes will do battle on the short circuit in North Florida and in almost every category, the challengers are chasing down the drivers from the home squad, the Ocala Gran Prix race team.
Two of those drivers are Kyle Kirkwood and Mathias Ramirez who are buoyed by success from just a week ago, when Kirkwood cleared his closest rival by 10 seconds en route to the win in ROK Senior, while Ramirez showed similar dominance in Junior ROK. But it won't be easy for either driver, as the competition has stiffened up for this weekend’s Rotax Max event.
Kirkwood will feel the challenge from the likes of Jordan Lennox, Zach Holden, Luke Selliken, Zach Claman DeMelo, Darren Keane and teammate Austin Garrison. Lennox and Holden were able to pressure Kirkwood in Homestead but were no match for the Florida driver in the Final.
In Junior, Ramirez will come under pressure from Ryan MacDermid, Michael d'Orlando and Arthur Liest, all of whom stood on the podium last month, along with Killian Meyer and Eduardo Barrichello. Ramirez will also need a solid weekend to work himself back into the championship hunt.
In Rotax DD2, Mercedes DTM driver Robert Wickens is aiming for his second victory of the season but he faces a daunting challenge taking on Oliver Askew, who was by far the quickest driver in Homestead. The DD2 field is relatively small, but thick with quality as it consists the likes of Rubens Barrichello, Luke Chudleigh, Christian Munoz and Marco Signoretti. In the DD2 Masters category, Christian Calvo leads Luis Schiavo and Christophe Adams.
In both Mini-Max and Micro-Max, Jeremy Fairbairn and Josh Pierson secured maximum points in the opening round, providing the perfect boost to their championship hopes. Coming off a victory last weekend in Mini ROK, Matheus Morgatto is one driver in Mini-Max looking to challenge Fairbairn for the points lead as is Austin Torgerson, Sebastien Montoya and Jade Hubert. In Micro-Max, Pierson's hands will be full fending off Homestead rivals Rafael Camera and Diego Contecha, along with Ashton Torgerson and James Egozi.
Qualifying kicks off on Friday afternoon followed by heat races, leading up to the weekend Finals on Sunday. As always, you can watch the action right here on Motorsport.com with live feed of the races.