Challenging Conditions To Close Out Rotax Canadian Open in Tremblant
After two days of dry racing in Mont-Tremblant, the skies opened up and the rain came pouring down. An early morning shower soaked the facility and set the tone for the day: rain racing. With tickets to the Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals on the line in five categories, the new conditions presented an opportunity to some drivers, while it was a new hurdle for those who had been up front throughout the first two days of the weekend.
And just as the track looked like it was going to dry out following the morning warm-ups and opening ceremonies, the rain returned with the Junior Rotax drivers on the grid and their engines fired.
Taking advantage of the conditions were a pair of Englishmen who travelled across the Atlantic to compete in the Canadian Open. The Hunter brothers are no stranger to racing in the rain and it showed in the Rotax Junior and Rotax Senior Finals. In addition, the Rotax Max race wins went to a Canadian, an American and a driver from Monaco.
Kai Hunter (BCR/Exprit) started the Junior Max Final from the front row and after moving past Patrick Woods-Toth (BCR/Kosmic) on the second lap, he never looked back, stretching out to a 13-second victory, securing himself on Team United Kingdom for the Rotax Grand Finals in Brazil and taking home the first place trophy.
Woods-Toth endured an uneventful race to finish second while Andrew Maciel (PSL/BirelART) took third, also running the entire race by himself. Justin Arseneau (ICAR/TonyKart) spun from third on lap three and then recovered to fourth place before retiring with a mechanical issue. This left Mackenzie Clark (PSL/BirelART) and Nolan Bower (VSR/TonyKart) to battle for fourth, but that ended after Bower made a pass, in turn, three for the position and then lost a wheel in the following corner to end his race.
In the Senior Max race, Kai’s older brother Rhys Hunter was an unstoppable force. From eleventh on the grid, he jumped to second through the first half of the lap and gained the lead exiting the final corner when Nicholas Hornbostel (REM/Kosmic) suddenly came to a halt with an issue and surrendered the lead.
Once out front, he clicked off laps untouchable by his fellow competitors. Only Marco Signoretti (Energy Corse/Energy Kart) was able to keep within sight of Hunter, but he eventually crossed the finish line 8.5 seconds adrift. Third place went to American Dillon Defonce (REM/Luxor Kart), who was 24 seconds back of the winner, with Cole Hooton (PSL/BirelART) and Stephen Mallozzi (PSL/BirelART) completing the top-five. Christopher Chanko (PSL/BirelART) was the hard charger in the race, moving up from twentieth on the to grid to sixth.
Polesitter Emma Delatte (REM/Kosmic) was unable to start the race after losing a chain on the pace lap, a heart-breaking moment for the young racer who was enjoying a superb weekend going into the Final.
Rotax DD2 was next to roll out on the wet track, with the rain slowing down significantly.
Tyler Kashak (Intrepid) was set to start on the front row, but he endured mechanical problems on the formation lap and fell to the tail of the starting grid, eventually retiring.
Flying into turn one, Davide Greco (PSL/BirelART) led the way followed by Lebanon’s Christophe Rizk (BCR/BirelART) and Alexandre Lavoie (BCR/BirelART).
Like the Hunter brothers, Greco was lights out in the rain and went unchallenged en route to an eleven-second win over Rizk, with Lavoie a further seven seconds down the road. After a spirited battle for fourth, Owen Clarke (Nonstop/BirelART) came out ahead of Alexandre Gauthier (BCR/BirelART).
Greco will join Team Canada in Brazil and will be the lone Canadian driver in the DD2 category.
DD2 Masters was quite uneventful until the final three laps.
After spinning on lap ten racing for the lead, American Derek Wang (PSL/BirelART) was in hot pursuit of the lead, Etienne LaSalle (PSL/BirelART). In what looked like a gap too big to close with three laps left, Wang cut into LaSalle’s lead by more than a second a lap and coming into the final corner ahead of the last lap board, Wang not only caught but passed LaSalle for the lead.
The struggling LaSalle had a tire go down and was to nurse his kart around for the final lap to ensure he finished second to Wang, who was already qualified for the Grand Finals. LaSalle was aided when Fabio Casanova (PSL/BirelART) spun with two laps to go and was unable to continue, surrendering third place.
At the finish line, Wang completed the spin and win, LaSalle took second and grabbed the ticket to the Rotax Grand Finals, and Bruno LeGrand (BCR/BirelART) was third.
Saving his best for last, Monaco’s Charlie Wurz (BCR/BirelART) delivered when it counted most in Mini-Max.
Overtaking American polesitter Karsten Defonce (REM/Energy Kart) in the race to turn one, Wurz lead the group down the back straightaway to the hard-braking turn three. Exiting the corner with the lead was Wurz while Defonce overtook Lucas Deslongchamps (BCR/BirelART) to regain second after a bad start.
Defonce was able to stay close to Wurz in the opening laps, but as the race laps ticked away, so did his chances. Wurz pulled away and grabbed the checkered flag to race his way to the Rotax Grand Finals. Defonce took second and made it two sets of brothers to stand on the podium, while Deslongchamps took third after passing Adam Bellafquih (BCR/BirelART) on the final lap, only to spin on the exit of turn three. He would regain the spot when Bellafquih slowed in turn four and cruise to the finish line.