FWT: Kevin Ludi on top in DD2 Sunday Final; Ben Cooper is crowned champion
Championship Sunday. The final day of the 2013 Florida Winter Tour is in the books as series hit the track at Ocala Gran Prix under a wide mixture of weather, including very heavy winds and even an intense downpour, and heated action on track. Seven class champions were crowned, with six tickets awarded to the Rotax Grand Finals, held this November in New Orleans, USA.
After clinching the Championship on Saturday Ben Cooper (Birel) would sit out today’s DD2 action in Ocala to stay away from unwanted trouble.. Xen De Ruwe (Formula K) would lead the DD2 Pre final by almost two seconds over Marco Di Leo (Praga) as the two would battle for the second ticket to the Grand Finals. Scott Speed (TonyKart) who is making a karting return would go to the third position after passing Collin Daley Jr. (CRG) for the spot. Daley would also lose positions to Kevin Ludi (Birel) and Fritz Leesmann (CRG) as he struggled to stay with pace of the drivers around him. Positions would remain static for the rest of the race as De Ruwe would take the win ahead of Di Leo, and Speed. After a ten-second penalty was given to De Ruxe for a penalty in the morning warm-up, he would be scored as fourth place.
With heavy rain hitting the OGP facility during the lunch break, the DD2 class was up first under full wet conditions. Ludi would take lead the DD2 Final as on the first lap De Ruwe and Di Leo would be in the back of the field after problems at the start of the race. Leesmann would slot into the second position with Speed following the PSL driver as track conditions worsened. On lap eight Di Leo took the third spot away from Speed, as the Canadian would need to finish ahead of the De Ruwe to be able to take second in the championship. Soon after Di Leo went by Speed, De Ruwe would follow through to keep Di Leo in sight. The race would then spread out as the gap between the drivers in the top five would become static and Ludi would cruise on for the win. Leesmann would back up his Challenge of the Americas Championship with a second-place in Ocala ahead of Di Leo, De Ruwe, and Speed.
With Cooper taking his second FWT Championship in as many years, Di Leo would become the second member of Team Canada going to the Grand Finals Finals in DD2 as he came second in the championship. De Ruwe who had trouble early in the championship in West Palm would take a solid third place in his first year competing at the Florida Winter Tour. Ludi would finish fourth ahead of Jesse Lazare (CRG) who was the first of the drivers who didn’t compete in the season finale due to the USF2000 opener in St. Petersburg. Notably, James Hinchcliffe who competed in the first two rounds of the 2013 FWT in Rotax DD2 could not compete this weekend at OGP, but for good reason, as he earned his maiden INDYCAR victory today on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida.
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