The 2013 Rotax Pan American Challenge has hit the track in New Orleans, Louisiana. The final chance for drivers to qualify for next months Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals, this weekend also acts as a test for many drivers who are already qualified as NOLA Motorsports Park will host the Grand Finals.
With the Pan Am being an International event, this weekend’s event will award the winners of Junior, Senior, DD2 and DD2 Masters with tickets to the Grand Finals, with the winning drivers awarding their previously earned ticket from their respective National championships. Micro-Max and Mini-Max classes will also award three tickets per class, meaning no team in North America is set just yet.
After two days of practice, Friday saw official qualifying and heat #1 for every class. While a bright sunny sky welcomed everyone to the beautiful facility, a heavy rain storm rolled through at lunch, making for some interesting heat races.
In Rotax DD2 Masters Qualifying, the four of the top-five drivers are all aboard the Rotax Grand Finals spec Praga chassis, having already qualified for the Grand Finals. American Champion Alan Rudolph posted the fastest time, with Brazils Fernando Guzzi second and American Mike Jones third. Christophe Adams (Birel) of Belgium was fourth with American Scott Falcone fifth. Canadians Stuart Clark (Maranello) and Francis Mondou (Praga) were sixth and eleventh respectively.
Heat one was on wet tires and right away Adams went to the lead en route to the heat win. Jones worked his way by Rudolph in the closing laps to take second while American Johannes Rodriguez (Kosmic) got ahead of Guzzi at the finish line. Mondou moved up to eighth as Clark fell to nineteenth after spinning halfway through the heat.
Saturday will see drivers line up for their second and third heat races from the position they qualified.