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Connor Steps Up At NZ Rotax MAX Challenge, Round 2

press release

Daniel Connor stepped up to claim top spot in the premier Right Karts 125cc Rotax Max Light class at the second round of this year's Right Karts Kartstars Rotax Max Challenge at Tokoroa over the weekend.

After finishing second to defending class title holder Daniel Kinsman at the first round of the 2012 series at Palmerston North in February then second to top Australian driver David Sera at KartSport New Zealand's annual Sprint Nationals meeting in Hamilton over the Easter weekend, Connor made it third time lucky at Tokoroa, setting the second quickest time - to last year's class runner-up Kane Taylor - in qualifying then beating defending title holder Daniel Kinsman to the finish line in the first heat, the Pre-Final and the Final.

Above: Daniel Connor leads the Senior MAX Light field
pic - Fast Company/Greg Henderson

Taylor was the dark horse early on, but was forced to start the Pre-Final from the back row of the grid when he spun on the warm-up lap. By putting in one of the drives of the day he got back up to fifth place at the flag but could only make up two more places - to cross the line third behind Connor and Daniel Kinsman - in the Final.

The pecking order was a little more clear-cut in the other two Challenge classes with newly crowned National Junior 100cc Yamaha champion Scott Manson from Christchurch and 2011 North Island 125cc Rotax Max Heavy champion Zac Zaloum from Hastings completing clean sweeps in their respective classes.

Above: Scott Manson (90) won Formula Junior
pic - Fast Company/Greg Henderson

In Arai Formula Junior, Manson beat new New Zealand KF3 class champion C.J. Sinclair to the top spot in qualifying then won the heats from Josh Drysdale and Sinclair, the Pre-Final from Drysdale and Sinclair and the Final from Drysdale and Jordan McDonnell.

Zaloum also qualified quickest and won both heats and the Pre-Final and Final - though  defending title-holder Aarron Cunningham made him work for it, briefly gaining the lead in both the Pre-Final and Final before Zaloum wrestled it back.

Third in the Strata Networks class Final after another strong showing was Christchurch driver Darryl Crichton, a former Junior standout who has returned to the sport after a lengthy break.

Above: Rotax Max Heavy class winner Zach Zaloum
pic - Fast Company/Greg Henderson

Crichton set the second quickest lap time in qualifying then spent the weekend battling for a spot in the top three with another returning driver, Auckland's Stewart Marshall, last year's Masters category winner and representative Steven Currie, and Tauranga driver Niki Urwin.

Marshall, Shane Hodgson, Currie and Crichton finished line astern behind Zaloum and Cunningham in the Pre-Final but it was Crichton who claimed the final spot on the podium in the Final from Urwin, Currie and Marshall.

The weekend's round was the second of six with the next to be hosted by KartSport Hamilton at its Agrisea New Zealand Raceway over the May 05-06 weekend.

Right Karts 125cc Rotax Max Light
1. Daniel Connor
2. Daniel Kinsman
3. Kane Taylor
4. Daniel Dufty
5. Mathew Kinsman
6. Fraser Hart

Arai Formula Junior
1. Scott Manson
2. Josh Drysdale
3. Jordan McDonnell
4. James Munro
5. Jonathan Buxeda
6. CJ Sinclair

Strata Networks 125cc Rotax Max Heavy
1. Zac Zaloum
2. Aarron Cunningham
3. Darryl Crichton
4. Niki Urwin
5. Steven Currie
6. Stuart Marshall

Rnd 1 Feb 18 Manawatu Toyota Raceway Palmerston North
Rnd 2 April 14-15 Pinex Raceway Tokoroa
Rnd 3 May 05-06 Agrisea Raceway Hamilton
Rnd 4 July 28-29 Fagan's Valley Raceway Te Puke
Rnd 5 August 25-26 Moselle Panel & Paint Raceway Auckland
Rnd 6 October 06-07 KartSport Rotorua Raceway Mamaku