The largest category of the weekend at the Canadian Open sure did provide plenty of excitement both on and off the track as Rotax Senior Max capped off the event with a bang.
All weekend long, everyone was chasing Laurent Legault (BCR/Kosmic) and he was challenged but unbeaten through the heats and Prefinal. Pressure from Olivier Bedard (Premier/OTK), Timothe Pernod (PSL/BirelART), Lucas Nanji (HMP/Kart Republic) and Arnaud Sabourin (BCR/BirelART) in the heats meant it wasn’t going to be easy and the PreFinal saw the arrival of Ryan Maxwell (REM/Kosmic), Ari Korkodilos (Premier/OTK) and Cole Hooton (PSL/BirelART) added to the mix.
After a large number of penalties were issued from the PreFinal, the drivers were given a stern talking to on the grid for their Final as a dark cloud loomed and the temperature started to drop. It appeared some rain was close by, but other than a few light sprinkles, a shift in the wind direction thankfully kept Mother Nature away for the main event of the Canadian Open weekend.
Legault led the field from the drop of the green flag with Pernod and Maxwell both getting by Bedard for second and third in the opening sequence of corners with Nanji also slipping back to fifth.
The pressure was on Legault early from Pernod while Bedard worked his way back into second place by lap five and onto the rear bumper of the race leader.
A shake-up came on lap ten as some pushing and shoving in the penultimate corner saw Pernod exit with the second position ahead of Maxwell, Nolan Bower (PSL/BirelART) and then Bedard. On the next lap by, Maxwell moved into the second spot, leaving Pernod to slip down the running order.
Legault had a small gap after those two laps but with a clear track, Maxwell delivered a number of fast laps to catch the race leader. He did so with four laps to go and the race was on.
Legault defended down the back straight on lap fifteen but enough contact from behind pushed him wide and Maxwell drove up the inside to take the lead with a comfortable margin.
The only thing that could stop him from getting to the finish line first was a lap kart and it nearly did in the final sector but Maxwell was able to navigate by and just stay ahead of Legault to the finish line while Bedard, Samuel Lupien (CRT/BirelART) and Pernod completed the top five.
But the race wasn’t settled there as a number of penalties were issued post-race, 14 to be exact with three drivers also getting warnings for track limits.
Maxwell was issued a 5-second penalty for the contact on Legault, knocking him back to eighth in the final result. This moved Legault to the top of the podium, joined by Bedard and Lupien, who started the Final from 13th on the grid. Pernod and Nanji rounded out the top five with Nanji posting the fastest lap of the race as well.
With the win, Legault will join Team Canada for the Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals for the first time while the rest of the pack will have a second shot at a ticket at the Canadian Karting Championships in Hamilton where the combined points from the Open and the Championships will determine who else will compete in Bahrain this fall.