It was another beautiful day in Ocala, Florida as the 2014 Florida Winter Tour hosted round four at Ocala Gran Prix. As the championship continues past its midway point and looks towards the final round next month, Sunday’s race day in Ocala helped give us a look at the championship contenders in each class.
After taking four wins on the Formula Kart weekends in TaG Cadet, Michael d’Orlando (KoeneUSA/TonyKart) had yet to top the podium on the Rotax weekends of the FWT. He was very close in Homestead, but on Sunday in Ocala it seemed like there was nothing that could stop d’Orlando from taking the victory.
Harry Coulton (MRP/Birel) and Matthew Latifi (Ferrolati Corse/TonyKart) got things underway with Coulton taking the early lead from the pole. The defending class champion Nicholas Brueckner (MRP/Birel) had a great start to move into second, but it would only last a lap as d’Orlando dove to the inside of corner one on lap two to retain the position and he brought Australian Lochie Hughes (Praga) with him.
Coulton had built a sizeable lead but lap by lap d’Orlando was able to close in to the bumper of his Birel. With two laps to go d’Orlando dove to the inside of the “tree turn” and grabbed the lead away from Coulton, who has been so close to victory this year, and with that set himself up for victory, his fifth so far in 2014!
Coulton had to settle for second place for the second time this weekend while Latifi recovered very well to finish third after falling back at the start.
Once he was able to settle into his rhythm, Lachlan Defrancesco (DFR/Benik Kart) finally showed the speed he was capable of all weekend, but it was a little too late and he had to settle for ninth in Sundays Final after qualifying on the pole-position for both days. Tough runs for the remaining Canadians saw Matthew Barry (Praga) and Ryan MacDermid (Energy Kart Canada) finish 26th and 27th while Nicholas d’Orlando (KoeneUSA/TonyKart) was caught up in accident while running in the top-ten and scored a DNF.
The final round will be a showdown in Mini-Max as there are a number of contenders in the mix for the class championship as it shifts to Orlando next month.