Euro Rotax Runners Return For Pro Tour GriffithTweet
The next round of Australia’s premier Rotax Karting Championship will kick into gear this weekend at the rural centre of Griffith, in New South Wales’ central west. Featuring some of the country’s true up and coming stars, two of the nation’s best and current Rotax ranking leaders come back to the National series after recent visits to Europe.
For Pro Tour regulars Pierce Lehane and Joseph Burton-Harris, it has been an incredibly busy period since the last round in Albury, with travel to Germany to take part in the Euro Rotax Challenge.
For Burton-Harris, who attributes his opportunity to race to R360 coach and mechanic Ben George, admits the atmosphere and professionalism in Europe was phenomenal, “I drove with the Formula K team, they were incredibly proficient, even replacing the stickers on the kart after each race if they were spoiled in any way,” further stating, “my mechanic for the event was Spanish, so it presented a slight language barrier across the weekend.”
Joseph cites the strong focus on driving standards as a focal point he was forced to adapt to, “all of the karts had cameras on the back of them, so any contact resulted in an investigation and potential infringement, of which I received a ten second penalty at the event,” the Sydney sider admitted. Joseph was well and truly proving strong from the start qualifying 2nd, and subsequently leading laps in all three of the heats. An unfortunate DNF in the final was not a reflection of the professionalism and dedication he displayed, and continued to place Australian’s on the map amongst the World’s best Karters.
As the first Australians to attend the Euro Rotax Challenge since 2009, when 13 time National Champion David Sera made the journey, Pierce Lehane admits any opportunity to represent your country overseas is something to be proud of.
Lehane, who contested the Senior Rotax category and is a regular on the World scene having attended the 2010 Rotax World Finals in Italy, and the corresponding 2011 event in Abu Dhabi and is sure to feature prominently in the Rotax Light category this weekend. As with his Australian counterpart, Pierce Lehane scored 2nd in qualifying and converted this into race pace, where the Sydney teenager claimed 2 wins from 3 heats. A racing incident in the pre-final forced Lehane out, and this would see him start from 34th for the 18 lap final. In a truly amazing display of wheel to wheel racing, Pierce made his way through to gain 22 placings by the middle of the race, before crossing the line in 11th.
With the Griffith track recognised for its complexity in sections, it will have all drivers looking for every opportunity to make a passing manoeuvre to gain crucial Rotax ranking points and with near capacity grids in both Junior Rotax and Rotax Light, it is sure to provide excitement on every front.
Practice for Round 5 of the Rotax Pro Tour will take place on Friday, with qualifying and all heats on Saturday and both the Pre-Final and Finals to occur on Sunday.
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