The final day of the 2013 Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals brought excitement and ambience to the NOLA Motorsports Park facility as Saturday played host to six Grand Finals, crowning world and Invitational Champions. It was the best weather New Orleans has given us all week with off and on sunshine throughout the day. After a great opening ceremony in which Aretha Franklin sang the American National anthem, followed by a flyover from the local US Air Force it was time to go racing.
Saturday proved to be a very challenging day for Canadian Drivers in all classes, and Canadians Pier-Luc Ouellette and Ben Cooper were no exception when it came to unfortunate circumstances. Cooper who started 17th at the beginning of the day in the Prefinal found himself battling for the lead in the Final in the opening laps. Immediately the front dozen beat and banged their way with nobody giving an inch. For Cooper, it would get ugly as after surrendering the lead, he returned to the point only to get hammered off track in the next corner, ending his chance to defend his Grand Finals title. Pushing his kart back down the grid as his DD2 competitors were still racing, the crowd at NOLA motorsports park let out a loud cheer to show their respect for the three-time Grand Finals Champion. As Cooper was forced to retire early, the fate was no different for Canadian teammate Pier-Luc Ouellette who had a fantastic drive from the rear of the grid and found himself all the way in seventh place with the only a handful of laps remaining. Unfortunately, Ouellette’s motor picked the wrong time to fail as it seized with only a few laps remaining.
Ultimately it was Lithuanian driver Simas Juodvirsis who claimed the Grand Final Championship. Juodvirsis had a fantastic drive and controlled the majority of the race. Second was American Joey Wimsett, who gave a strong effort to secure his spot and was able to defend his position from Oriol Dalmau Caballer of Spain on the final lap.
DD2 put on an amazing show for spectators in New Orleans, the drivers all gave their best effort and it showed with the level of competition.