The 2013 Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals is just around the corner and for the first time in Grand Finals history, the event will be held in North America. The beautiful and brand new NOLA Motorsports Park in New Orleans, Louisiana, USA will host 280 of the worlds best Rotax Max competitors, plus an additional 72 racers in the Micro-Max and Mini-Max Invitational races as this years event will boast a RMCGF record number of competitors.
Canada will send 14 drivers to compete in the four headline classes (Jr, Sr, DD2, DD2 Masters), with an additional 20 drivers in the invitational classes.
Breaking down the drivers in each class, CKN will provide class-by-class previews, continuing today with our Rotax Senior lineup.
2013 Team Canada Driver Stats:
- 34 Drivers from 5 different provinces
- Quebec, Ontario, Alberta, British Columbia, Saskatchewan
- 7 Different Qualifying Series
- ASN Canadian Nationals, Eastern Canadian Karting Championship, Western Canadian Championship, Rotax Euro Challenge, Rotax Can-Am Karting Challenge, Rotax Pan American Challenge, Florida Winter Tour
- 6 Grand Finals Titles
- Ben Cooper (3)
- Pier-Luc Ouellette (2)
- Scott Campbell (1)
- 7 RMCGF Rookies (not including Micro & Mini)
- 29 Combined RMCGF Past Appearances
- 13 Drivers raced at Rotax Pan American Challenge at NOLA
- Three on the podium with 3rd place finishes (Latifi, Ouellette, Kingsley)
Rotax DD2 Masters
Canada has been very strong in the Rotax DD2 Masters category in recent years and it looks again like we will be competing for victory at the Grand Finals with a solid threesome of drivers. 2010 Grand Finals winner Scott Campbell, from Saskatchewan, is back for another kick at the can, hoping to improve on his second place result last year, while Ontario’s Stuart Clark is looking to close out what has been an already incredible year. Completing the team in Frenchman Francis Mondou, who has been very fast in 2013, but always hidden in the shadows on Clarks dominance.
The Rotax DD2 Masters class will race aboard identical Praga chassis.
Qualifying Series: ASN Canadian National Karting Championship
2013 Stats: ASN Canadian National Karting Championship Rotax DD2 Masters Champion, Eastern Canadian Karting Championship Rotax DD2 Masters Champion
In 2013 Stuart Clark continued to prove that he is the best Rotax DD2 Masters driver in Canada, taking the two top honours; Canadian and ECKC Champion for the second straight year. He will travel to the Grand Finals for the third time in his career and hope to improve once again on his last showing where he ended up 21st.
He hasn’t racked up too many miles on the spec Praga kart, but Clark has demonstrated the ability to adjust to any situation, and having the support of Trevor and Robert Wickens in his corner will truly help him if he needs it.
“It will be great working with my teammates on Team Canada. This is my 3rd year to go on this adventure and they are more welcoming each time. Scott Campbell and I work together very well, and with Francis earning his seat this year it will only make the team stronger.”
-Stuart Clark on his 2013 RMCGF Team Canada teammates
CKN Prediction: Stuart had a disastrous weekend at the Pan Am, so he will need to put that behind him before getting to the Grand Finals. But we see Clark doing very well in New Orleans, and battling up front all week long. With some luck too, Clark could just end up on the podium.
Scott Campbell, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
Qualifying Series: Florida Winter Tour
2013 Stats: Florida Winter Tour Rotax DD2 Masters Vice-Champion
Scott Campbell is back at the Rotax Grand Finals again, for a record tenth time! Looking to secure his ticket early in 2013, Campbell joined the powerhouse PSL Karting team for the Florida Winter Tour and helped earn the team a 1-2 championship finish with Campbell ending up second behind three-time Grand Finals winner Christiano Morgado.
While he hasn’t been in a kart too much since the FWT, Campbell is a natural and the Grand Finals is a normal event on his annual schedule meaning he won’t be entering with any nerves. He was on the podium last year and just missed the victory, and we know that is playing on his mind when he lands in New Orleans, knowing he wants to improve and return to the top step that he held in 2010.
“I have never raced on a Praga. They are made by Intrepid and I raced a Italkart DD2 for 4 years which is also made by Intrepid. I have raced many karts in the past and will make the most of the kart as I usually do. I think I will have a good base line of a set up from my Italkart days and hope be fast right out of the box.”
-Scott Campbell on the spec Praga Chassis he will be racing in New Orleans
CKN Prediction: Ever since Campbell won the Grand Finals in 2010, he has been a threat for victory every time he hits the track. We expect Scott to be very quick in New Orleans, but he will have some work to do since he missed out on the Pan American Challenge. Nonetheless, we see Scott back on the podium on Championship Sunday.
Francis Mondou, Shawinigan, Quebec
Qualifying Series: Eastern Canadian Karting Championship
2013 Stats: Eastern Canadian Karting Championship Rotax DD2 Masters Vice-Champion
Francis Mondou was dead set on qualifying for Team Canada in 2013, and although it came down to the final ECKC race of the year he accomplished his goal and scored the race victory at the same time. While he doesn’t quite have the resume that his teammates boast, Mondou is very dedicated and he was pretty quick at the Rotax Pan American Challenge at NOLA.
One thing about the Masters category is they do all work very well together and that will be huge for Mondou in helping him get up to speed. But he does have one benefit to his name, and that is that he raced a Praga Kart all season long.
“I was surprised by Team USA drivers at Pan-Am. I dont know if they had practice on this track before but they were really good. As for me I did make an appearance the Pan Am and have noticed a few areas where I can improve both my driving and my kart.
I am not afraid of racing in traffic and still think that I am made for these type of event. I have no plan because you can never anticipate what happennnig in sports, so i will drive with my instinct and get there in the best physical condition I can be.”
– Francis Mondou on Team USA and his plan of attack
CKN Prediction: Mondou showed some good pace at the Pan Am, but the Grand Finals is a whole new demon. Although he is a good racer, he still needs to be very careful in the heat races in order to make his way to the main events, but we do see him making it into the Main Event.