It was a soggy ending to the opening weekend of the 2015 Coupe du Quebec Championship at SRA Karting as after dark clouds loomed all day long, they finally opened up during the Finals and forced the back half of the classes to switch over to rain tires.
Nine categories were on track, including the new ROK Shifter class which saw the return of 6-speed shifter kart racing in Quebec. It was a pleasant day at the track, but a concerning one with only 71 entries, a topic we will get into with a feature article later this week.
And with the new season we got our first look at the who’s who for 2015, with some new faces rising up to the top of their categories. We also got a view of the manufacturers battle for 2015, which will mainly see only two colours competing; Red vs Blue, as BirelART is flown by PSL Karting and Ben Cooper Racing, while SH Racing is supporting the FA Kart colours. The three teams covered a majority of the entries.
Here is our report on the Junior classes, while you read about the Senior categories here.
Arseneau holds off Curran as BCR drivers control Micro-Max
It was a two-horse race in the youngest category on track, who narrowly escaped the rain showers that followed immediately after their Final. Justin Arseneau (Ben Cooper Racing/BirelART) and Ontario driver Dale Curran (Ben Cooper Racing/BirelART) broke free early in the Final, but never really waged a battle as the teammates just pushed each other to a mistake free race, with Arseneau taking the win. Rookie Gabriel Savoie (SH Racing/FA Kart) scored a podium in his Coupe du Quebec debut, narrowly beating William Michaud (PSL Karting/BirelART) to the finish line. Brandon Itzcovitch (Ben Cooper Racing/BirelART) and Felix Roy (SH Racing/FA Kart) rounded out the six-kart field.
Penalty to Nepveu Gives Woods-Toth the Victory in Mini-Max
In the dry, Thomas Nepveu (SH Racing/TonyKart) and Patrick Woods-Toth (Ben Cooper Racing/BirelART), both drivers who moved up to Mini-Max for 2015, were very close in speed. But when the rain came pouring down, Nepveu was unstoppable, roaring to a eighteen-second victory over Woods-Toth and Vincent Deseautels (SH Racing/FA Kart).
However, Nepveu was excluded in tech for a non-conforming carburetor based on the new Rotax EVO rules, bumping Woods-Toth to the top of the podium along with Deseautels and American Chloe Chambers (Ben Cooper Racing/BirelART).
Dorsnie has no troubles in Briggs & Stratton Junior
As the only returning driver in the category from last season, Xavier Dorsnie (Ben Cooper Racing/Birel) had no troubles taming his competition in the Briggs & Stratton Junior class. He scored the win on slick tires just as the rain fell over Vincent Berthiaume and Jeremy Roy.
It was tough to see only four drivers on track, but there is no doubt the class will grow as the season progresses.
Tech issues in Rotax Junior shuffles finishing order
On track there was no stopping the trio of SH Racing drivers in the rain or dry as early season favourites Samuel Lupien and Raphael Forcier along with Thierry Cote controlled the lead in every on track session, with Cote claiming the pole-position in Qualifying. In the rain they were just as dominant, with Lupien setting the fastest lap en route to the race win over Forcier and Cote. However some confusion as to the jetting in the new Rotax EVO carburetors in SH Racing camp unfortunately led to the three being excluded from the results.
With all three losing their podium results, Alexandre Legare (PSL Karting/BirelART) claimed the win in his Junior debut over Natael Cantin (PSL Karting/BirelART) and George Stojakovic (Ben Cooper Racing/BirelART).
With round one in the books, the Coupe du Quebec now looks towards round two in a months time when it teams up with the Eastern Canadian Karting Championship for a double-header. Originally scheduled for Pointe du Lac, a recent change has the event now happening at ICAR in Mirabel on June 13 and 14.