Melbournites To The fore At Rotax Pro Tour III
It was a case of déjà vu for the Rotax Pro Tour competitors today at Melbourne’s Todd Road circuit, with the changeable weather conditions they left in Canberra resurfacing for this weekend’s event.
The weather didn’t hamper Melbourne drivers, Anton dePasquale and Paul Mapperson who have dominated Junior Max Light and Rotax Over 35s proceedings respectively.
After qualifying on the front row alongside leading light, Joseph Mawson, dePasquale has shown the field a clean pair of heels in today’s three races. The differing conditions have provided mixed results, which sets up for a jumbled pre-final starting grid tomorrow.
Others to impress in the class include CRG’s Pierce Lehane and Top Gun Racing’s Jonathan Venter, meantime Michael Stewart, Mawson, Liam Morey and Renee Gracie have shown flashes of brilliance. Simon Hodge in the PD Kartsport machine qualified in 18th, but has shown amazing race pace, finishing toward the front in all races.
Mapperson has been outstanding on his home circuit, picking up where he left off at last year’s Melbourne Rotax Pro Tour event, taking all three heats. His closest competition could come from either Steven Johnson or Hamish Leighton, which will be weather dependent. Frank Falla was impressive, however a decision to roll the dice on slicks in heat two didn’t pay off.
The star-packed Rotax Light has been difficult to get a read on, with differing conditions for the two heats this afternoon. Their third heat (along with Rotax Heavy) has been held over until tomorrow morning after light conditions deteriorated. Josh DeMaio and David Sera shared heat victories, whilst Troy Woolston, Luke Rochford and Tyler Greenbury are looking menacing. The cagey Bart Price could well spring a surprise tomorrow when it comes down to Final time. Dean Monik and David Whitmore were also strong.
If it’s wet tomorrow, put your money on Kyle Ensbey to take the gold in Rotax DD2. Backing up his heat two win, in torrential conditions this afternoon, the Queensland based Kaos Karting driver smashed the field, finishing over 20 seconds in front of his nearest competitor. He was absolutely supreme, consistently over a second faster than his nearest competitor.
Damian Ward in the Pacific Kartsport machine was the pole-sitter and duly won the first heat. The battle for minors between Travis Millar, Jim Beam Racing’s Daniel Baker, Brinley Gread and David Whitmore will be well worth watching, whilst Christopher Hays has plenty of work to do after retiring from heat three.
Sydney-sider, Michael Saller took the biggest heat win of his career in Junior Max Heavy, dominating after the heavens opened on lap one of the first heat. He drove the best on slick tyres to take the win. The second heat saw him finish fourth after a blistering start. Rotax Pro Tour standout, lady racer, Jaymee Frampton took a dominant win from Dale Corbett (the only driver on slick tyres) and Ben Cooper. Lachlan Marshall put in a superb performance to win the final heat from Frampton, Corbett and Alex Griffiths.
Today’s Rotax Heavy heats – taken out by Aaron Rintoul and Jason Pringle, give little indication to form. Simon Meyer finished heat two (conducted on slicks on a wet racetrack) in fifth after starting 21st, Dan Stein came home in that heat second. Reece Broady, Ash Pollard and Luke Andalord looked quick on occasion. Jason Pringle was playing strategy by backing off in heat one to save his wets should it be damp tomorrow. His brother, Rick was also quick after qualifying third.
Tomorrow will kick off with the final 14 lap heat for Rotax Light and Heavy, then Pre-Finals and Finals for all classes will take place.
Competitors are hoping for more consistent weather, after the dry to damp to torrential conditions today, where the mercury barely rose above 12 degrees.
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