After qualifying eight drivers for the Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals (RMCGF), set for November 28-December 1 in Portimao, Portugal, Team PSL Karting added one more name to that list this past weekend. Taking on the Pan American Rotax Max Challenge at The Track at Centennial in Englewood, Colorado, Jamaican karting star Collin Daley would come home the Rotax DD2 champion and earn his ticket to the 2012 RMCGF.
Daley started off his Pan Am campaign with the pole position in the Rotax DD2 category, with teammate Fritz Leesmann two tenths back in second. Saturday’s three heat race would see the two PSL/CRG drivers battle for the race wins, with Leesmann taking the first victory as Daley would come home second with fast lap honours. The final two heats belonged to Daley, however Leesmann would show his speed by earning two second place finishes and clocking fast lap in each. Daley’s two wins would earn him pole for Sunday’s prefinal and Leesmann would line up along side to get Championship Sunday underway. Daley then went on to take the prefinal win, while Leesmann would struggle and end up with an unfortunate DNF.
Falling back to third for the start of the 20 lap final to determine the champion, Daley found his way back to the lead quickly, taking over the point by lap two. A red flag for debris on the racetrack momentarily halted the competition, but once things got back underway Daley was unstoppable. Pulling away to a nearly one second victory, Daley would take the win and the Pan Am championship title, and will be part of Team USA for the 2012 RMCGF. Leesmann recovered to finish in the top five and again take fast lap honours and as a previously qualified Team USA member via his Gatorz Challenge of the Americas championship, will join Daley as they both take on the world later this year in Portugal.
“Collin drove superb and definitely impressed the entire team,” noted Andrew Campbell, PSL Karting Team Manager. “A slight problem with outdated D3 tires hindered Fritz’s performance, along with several other competitors. The tire issue was corrected for Sunday’s final, however at that point we had lost valuable ground with Fritz. (Alessandro) Bizzotto was not far of the pace and could have had a podium if it was not for a small driving error.”
Team PSL Karting nearly earned another Pan Am title, after a dominating performance by David Rafailov in the Rotax Mini Max class. The Colorado native earned pole position with his fast time of 50.588 seconds. Going on to post first, fifth and first in the three heats, Rafailov would then start on pole for the prefinal. Taking the win by more than two tenths, Rafailov would be in prime position for the Mini Max title. Holding onto the lead at the start of Sunday’s final, disaster would strike as Rafailov endured contact on lap four, which ended his race and dashed his title hopes. Fellow PSL/CRG pilot Luis Forteza waged a comeback in the final, coming from 15th on the grid to score a top-five finish in the competitive Mini Max category.
“David Rafailov had a good run the entire week, generally topping the charts,” added Dominic Labrecque, Team Principal. “Contact in corner one, early in Sunday’s final forced him to retire, however, Rafailov was able to prove he is capable of winning. Luiz Forteza, to me, has really matured as a driver – we are very pleased to announce his move to Junior for 2013.”
Two Team PSL Karting drivers in the Rotax Junior category were able to leave Colorado with top-15 finishes, as junior rookie Austin Versteeg finished 11th in the final while new recruit Alex Keyes placed 13th.
“Our newest recruit, Alex Keyes, was on spot for the entire weekend,” continued Labrecque. “An electrical problem set us back Saturday and Sunday, but overall – we gained some valuable data. Versteeg and his tuner Diego put forth an excellent effort, and for sure will be a threat in Vegas.”
Next up for Team PSL Karting is the grandest event on the US karting calendar, the 16th running of the SuperKarts! USA SuperNationals. Set for November 14-18 at the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, Team PSL Karting will be gunning for SuperNats glory during the prestigious and glamorous event. Less than two weeks later, the team will gear up as nine Team PSL Karting representatives take on the “Olympics of Karting,” the Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals in Portimao, Portugal.
Team PSL Karting will be trackside in 2012 at the SKUSA SuperNationals. Team PSL Karting is associated with CRG, Maxter Kart Engines, Rotax, Tillett Racing Seats, Sniper, Unipro, Douglas Wheels, Vega, MG Tires, Arai, Bell, ULV, Mir, Freem, Elf Fuels, Alfano, MaxJet Software, D.I.D. Racing Chains, KC and Power Mist.
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