New Stars & Old Favourites On the Podium In GriffithTweet
The penultimate round for the 2012 Rotax Pro Tour has wound up with some of the best finals racing seen in the series, with new round winners across the classes. Despite early forecasts of torrential rain, the sun shone through as the drivers continue their strive towards the World Finals in Portugal.
DD2 Masters were the first class to see the finals round of the weekend, with 28 laps on the counter, Albury round winner Hamish Leighton required the upmost focus and determination to succeed as a result of starting from the rear of grid due to a DNF in the pre-final. A developing battle between he and eventual 3rd place recipient John Bailey proved exciting for all watching. The speed of the Exprit chassis became prevalent across the weekend, with both Brent Coghlan and Cameron Harch; however it was the latter that took victory at the fall of the chequered flag. Due to impending tribunal hearings, results for the DD2 Masters are currently provisional.
It was a weekend of domination in Rotax Heavy, as current National Champion Troy Woolston completed five round wins from five events, taking home another victory. With challenges provided by Christopher Board who would go onto claim 2nd, Woolston stood tall and his experience was a shining light throughout an action packed final. As was the case throughout the weekend, William Yarwood defended regular overtaking manoeuvres from both Adam Hunter and Aaron Rintoul, however for Rintoul; his final was ended on lap 11 with mechanical dramas. Rotax Heavy newcomer Michael Saller was a standout finishing 5th delivering a performance that was could have developed into a podium with more laps in the event. Saller’s time’s reflected the teenager’s determination to display his talent, having started from 28th. For Woolston, his visions of visiting Portugal are beginning to take shape, having undertaken double duties in the DD2 class, the category in which he would contest.
The experience gained by Sydney’s Pierce Lehane in a recent trip to Germany has proved extremely beneficial providing a standout drive throughout the 28 lap final for Rotax Light. An incredible challenge was placed on Lehane as fellow teenager Joseph Mawson powered into 2nd having started from 3rd as the two traded best lap times. The crowd were kept on their feet with continuous dicing amongst the second group of Karts, with Daniel Rochford who would go onto claim 3rd, along with Geoff Connell, Tyler Greenbury and James Macken, all vying for the final podium position. A standout performance was given by CC Racing’s Josh De Maio, starting from the rear of the field following a DNF in the pre-final, the Victorian held fastest lap times of the race to storm into the top 10, and finish 8th by race end. The round win for Lehane will help to extend his Rotax rankings lead that he held leading into Griffith.
In a superb display of grit, Jaxon Evans took the lead early in the Junior Max final ahead of Joseph Burton-Harris, who up until that time, had reigned supreme over the weekend. Evans managed to defend attempts by Burton-Harris to reclaim the lead across the majority of the race. James Golding made an unfortunate early exit after being caught up in a racing incident on the opening lap, forcing a DNF. Both Mitchell Griffin and Thomas Randle who began the final from 13th and 14th respectively showed strong pace over the longer race distance, with Griffin managing to claim a top 5 finish by race end, less than 2 tenths of a second behind Triple Queensland State Champion Brock Plumb. Randle would be just behind the pairing in 7th. World Under 18 Championships entrant James Abela finished 3rd, and was in full view of the last lap dash by Burton-Harris to reclaim the lead and take victory over Evans, which was also his first Pro Tour round win for 2012.
DD2 again concluded the Rotax Pro Tour program, and as with all categories previous, the final turned on some nailbiting wheel to wheel racing. With Troy Woolston starting from the rear of grid, it allowed CRG Australia’s Jason Pringle to assume pole position alongside Thomas MacDonald who had proved to be the man to catch over the weekend. Following a DNF in the pre-final, Energy Course Australia’s Lucas Ward started from the rear of grid; however his pace was evident from the outset in a brilliant drive over the entire race. From the beginning, Troy Bretherton assumed the lead having started 3rd, however Ward was the story of the race, powering through the field and managing to take hold of the fastest laps of the race by up to two tenths of a second at times. This performance was thoroughly rewarded, seeing him cross the line in 3rd. MacDonald returned to the lead late in the race, ahead of Pringle who had taken victory over the Exprit driver in the pre-final. Kyle Ensbey’s mixed weekend continued, seeing him take fourth in the final, and he is sure to be back with the pace setters when the final Pro-Tour round heads to his home state of Queensland. Round results from DD2 are provisional to be confirmed.
Round 6 of the Rotax Pro Tour will be the final event prior to the Rotax Nationals, it will be held in Warwick, Queensland on July 20-22. The Rotax Nationals will occur in Dubbo on August 30-September 2.