Eastern Canadian Karting Championship, Round 5Tweet
Another picture perfect day greeted racers to the fifth round of the Eastern Canadian Karting Championship (ECKC). After an exciting day of racing Saturday, the stage was set at the Mosport International Karting facility for the penultimate round in 2012 and with championship battles intensifying, so did the action on track.
Four Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals invitations are up for grabs at the series finale in just over three weeks time and Round #5 on Sunday only made the chase for the championships that much more exciting. Entries over the weekend were down from years past, but the intensity never waivered.
"I had great expectations for these two races," explained Series Manager Louis-Philippe Gelinas. "The TV show, the battle for the points, the new track records, the Mosport home track advantage for many and SRA Rotax Canada really knowing their product - the Rotax powered Birels were flying! I can’t hide my disappointment to see so many drivers not attending. Last year we had over 140, and this year we almost reached 100. The usual questions are haunting me…championship out of reach, some will go to Nationals and Pan Am, the wrong weekend, races too close together? So I spent lots of time talking with drivers to get a better idea…and I really enjoyed it! Thanks to all of you who took the time!"
The exciting on-track action certainly made up for any lack of entries and it was apparent even in qualifying. SRA Karting’s Ben Cooper (Birel) again earned pole position, with a new track record of 53.179. In an extremely tight session, the top four were separated by less than a tenth, with the SRA Karting squad on fire! Nicholas Latifi (Sofina/CRG), Christophe Boisclair (SRA Karting/Birel) and Zacharie Richard-Robichon (SRA Karting/Birel) were chasing Cooper in the session, with Pier-Luc Ouellette starting his day of better than Round #4 action with the fifth fastest time. The prefinal saw the CRG of Latifi best the Birels of Cooper, Boisclair and Robichon, with Enrico Menotti (Intrepid North America/Intrepid) moving up to fifth after Ouellette fell back with troubles. At the drop of the green for the final, Latifi was able to hold his lead, with Boisclair getting the jump on Cooper.
By the second lap, Boisclair had gotten by Latifi, with Cooper soon following through. Cooper then made his bid for the lead on the next flyer, relinquishing it after only four corners with a kart that had no drive. The resulting DNF would see Cooper miss the podium for the first time this season, leaving Boisclair, Latifi, Robichon and a closing Ouellette to fight for the win and podium positions. Boisclair went on to take the win by 1.857 seconds over Latifi, with Ouellette completing the podium. The points have Ouellette leading Boisclair and Cooper before drops are calculated, setting up an epic battle for the championship title and Team Canada berth in Trois-Rivieres.
An incredibly close qualifying session in DD2 Masters put Stuart Clark (Prime Powersports/Maranello) on pole over Saturday winner Marc-Andre Bourgeois (PSL Karting/CRG) by a mere 0.003 seconds! The two finished in the same order after the eight-lap prefinal, with Paul Carvalho (PSL Ontario/CRG) in third. Clark was on a mission in the final, going flag-to-flag to take the win by 4.658 seconds, thanks in part to the duel behind between Bourgeois and Carvalho. Carvalho looked poised to earn a trip to the podium, but a meatball flag for a missing side pod ended his run leaving Bourgeois comfortably in second with Luc Sauriol (PSL Karting/CRG) completing the podium. With the points tallied, Clark retains his lead over Bourgeois before drops.
Another record breaking qualifying session saw Steven Szigeti (SH Karting/TonyKart) on pole with his lap of 54.788, bettering Saturday’s record, over the REM/Birel duo of Taylor Gates and Kevin Montieth. A disastrous start of the prefinal saw the front row demoted after three failed attempts, with Szigeti then getting hit in turn one when the green flag finally flew, ending his race. Szigeti’s teammate Jesse Lazare was able to take the prefinal win by a slight margin over Marco DiLeo (Intrepid North America/Intrepid) and Monteith. The final saw Lazare and DiLeo get a good jump on the field, with DiLeo making his bid for the lead in short order. Lazare held a comfortable second, with a battle brewing for third behind. DiLeo went on to take his third win of the season, with Lazare a half second back. With the final podium finisher undecided until the last lap, Luke Chudleigh (Prime Powersports/Maranello) was able to get past Monteith for third. Austin Milwain (SH Ontario/TonyKart) and Szigeti, who powered through the field after his prefinal DNF, were also able to pass Monteith in the hairpin, putting him back to sixth. With his win, DiLeo moves back into the championship lead, before drops, over Szigeti. The title will be decided in Trois-Rivieres, setting up another epic finale.
Zachary Claman-DeMelo was back on top of the Rotax Junior time sheets in qualifying, with yet anther record breaking time of 54.655 - fast enough to put him on pole in Rotax Senior! Championship leader Parker Thompson (SH Karting/TonyKart) was five-tenths back in second, but his time at the front was short as he would spin in the run up to turn two. DeMelo went on to a two-second victory over Olivier Bedard (SRA Karting/SRA) and his PSL teammate Samuel Fontaine. DeMelo and Bedard would then be the two to fight for the feature win, with DeMelo coming out on top to sweep the weekend. Fontaine held on for third, his second straight podium finish, with Thompson posting the fastest race lap in his bid for a fourth place finish. Tyler Ripani would complete the top five. Thompson will enter the finale round the leader before drops, but DeMelo’s double win moves him up to second, creeping in on the title and spot Team Canada.
Rotax Mini Max saw Gianfranco Mazzaferro (Zanardi) on pole for the second consecutive day, but Saturday winner Joe Sorrano (Karts & Parts/LH Kart) was hot on his heels, only 0.080 second back. The prefinal win went to Mazzaferro, who also secured the final victory with Sorrano and Austin Riley (Intrepid North America/Intrepid) battling for the final podium positions. The same three lead the Mini Max standings heading into Round #6. Matthew Latifi was back on top of Rotax Micro Max qualifying, with the Intrepid North America duo of Matthew Barry and Xavier Harris right behind. Barry was the prefinal winner ahead of Harris and Latifi, with the order back to that of qualifying after an excellent display of race craft in the 12-lap final. With Latifi back on top and a four-time race winner, the rookie pilot managed to lock up the Micro Max championship. In Briggs & Stratton action, Cory Cacciavillani scored his second straight victory, with championship leader Simon Rosseau in second and Tyler Fredericks third. Junior championship leader Brady Dylan was another double winner in Mosport, and Andre Oliver came home with the Masters victory.
"I already have many ideas and plans for 2013! Until then, Le Monaco first! See you in Trois-Rivieres!" continued Gelinas. "Also, a special get well from all the ECKC Staff to Chase Pelletier! See you at the Nationals!"
The championship showdown is now set, as Round #6 will take to the streets of Trois-Rivieres, Quebec during the famed Le Monaco de Trois-Rivieres July 26-29. Hosted by PSL Karting, the Monaco event is one of the most glamorous events in all of Canada, drawing upwards of 25,000 spectators to the site of the GP3R at Exposition Park. Two days of practice will lead up to the finale of the Coupe du Quebec championship on Saturday, July 28 followed by the Eastern Canadian Karting Championship finale Sunday, July 29.