This past weekend, the second round of the 2014 Florida Winter Tour hit the track at Ocala Gran Prix for the first of two weekends of competition. The Formula Kart weekend hosts the TaG and Shifter divisions along with Briggs & Stratton and is a great warmup for the headline Rotax program the weekend following.
A number of Canadians were in attendance in north Florida, with the weather playing a major factor throughout the weekend. Heavy rain drenched the facility on Saturday before clearing up on Sunday, while cold temperatures were kept many of those in attendance where jackets and pants.
After sweeping the opening round in Homestead last month, Michael d’Orlando (Koene/TonyKart), the American driver with Canadian family connections, continued his dominance of the youngest class competing. Taking on the challenge in both wet and dry conditions, d’Orlando scored the victory on both days and remains unbeaten in 2014 TaG Cadet action.
Making his way up through the field, Matthew Latifi (Ferrolati Corse/TonyKart) joined d’Orlando on the podium on Saturday with a third-place run, while finishing fifth on Sunday, a great weekend for the youngster.
Also in the class was Matthew Barry (Praga North America/Praga). A tough run on Saturday saw him end up 14th after starting 20th, but he rebounded nicely on Sunday finishing behind the other Matthew in sixth.
Finally Nicholas d’Orlando (KoeneUSA/TonyKart) and Lachlan Defrancesco (Benik Kart) had relatively disappointing weekends compared to their openers in Homestead. d’Orlando seventh both days, while Defrancesco was 16th on Saturday and failed to finish on Sunday.
All five drivers should be back in action this weekend for the Rotax round, before heading to Orlando in March for the final rounds of the FWT.
A trio of Canadians took part in TaG Junior as Roman DeAngelis (KoeneUSA/TonyKart) and Antonio Serravalle (Pserra/TonyKart) utilized the IAME X30 powerplant with Gianfranco Mazzaferro (Ferrolati Corse/TonyKart) on a Rotax. With the parity of the class a little closer than Homestead the competition was brought even closer with Saturdays rain.
The rain worked well for DeAngelis and Serravalle as they were sixth and ninth in the Saturday Final, but both struggled in the dry on Sunday resulting in thirteenth and fifteenth place finishes. For Mazzaferro it was the opposite as a DNF on Saturday turned into a seventh place run on Sunday.
The lone Canadian in TaG Senior, Zachary Claman DeMelo was looking to continue his strong start to 2014 aboard his new Goodwood Intrepid Kart. However he was only able to muscle up two sixth place runs, even after leading shortly in the Satuday Final.
Continuing to push his offseason training regimen, Matthew Di Leo was back aboard his familiar Praga shifter kart in the Stock Moto class as the Indy Lights driver awaits the start of his car season.
A winner in the opening round, Di Leo has some more competition to deal with in Ocala. Still he was able to score a respectable podium on Saturday, standing third, while on Sunday he ended up fifth in a class full of local talents.
Once again CKN will be trackside for the Rotax round of the Florida Winter Tour this weekend in Ocala. Coverage begins on Friday with official qualifying, before a full weekend of racing action takes place on Saturday and Sunday. Be sure to tune in all weekend long.