By: Jason Holland/ECKC.ca
The Eastern Canadian Karting Championship made its return to Quebec over the weekend as teams and drivers headed to Le Monaco de Trois-Rivieres and the fabled grounds of Exhibition Place/GP3R. After practice days on Thursday and Friday and a round of the Coupe du Quebec on Saturday, the fields raced the penultimate round of the 2013 Championship on Sunday, a day that saw multiple championships mathematically secured and a number of other classes change hands. It was an incredible day that saw the weather tease but stay mostly dry, and the masses on hand in the grandstands thoroughly entertained from the first class to the last. This, then, is how it unfolded:
Rotax DD2 Pole Position: 40.604 – Ben Cooper, KMS North America/Birel/SRA Rotax
Prefinal: Ben Cooper, Brendon Bain, Marco Di Leo, Fred Woodley, Enrico Menotti
Final: Light rain drops that began as Prefinals worked to a close were cleared from the sky as Finals got underway and just as he did in the formation race, Ben Cooper (Birel) maintained his pole position at the wave of the green. While Marco Di Leo (Praga) followed into second early on, it wasn’t long before Brendon Bain (Maranello) took his starting position back and Di Leo was under pressure from Bain’s teammate, Fred Woodley (Maranello). Woodley had qualified second to start the day, but dropped to the back in the Prefinal after trouble in the GP3R karting hairpin. Getting back to fifth on the last lap of the heat race, Woodley was quickly fourth in the Final but again found trouble, this time in turn seven as he was knocked down an escape road! Cooper and Bain were free and clear at the front by that point, while Di Leo didn’t have a respite for long, as Enrico Menotti (CRG) was then hounding him for the final podium position. In the end the order remained at the front, Cooper taking his fourth win from five starts and Bain cruising to second. Di Leo held third at the checker, but a contact penalty dropped him three spots down the order and elevated Menotti to the podium, Alessandro Bizotto (CRG) to fourth and Woodley back to fifth. The sweep of the day also took Cooper to the 2013 Championship, his point total mathematically beyond reach with one race left to run.
DD2 Field: 10 karts, 5 chassis manufacturers.
Briggs & Stratton Junior Pole Position: 49.422 – Tyler McCullough, Gold/Briggs & Stratton
Prefinal: Christopher Proietto, Tyler McCullough, Braxton Terry, Nicholas Hornbostel, Zachary Vanier
Final: With championship leader Jordan Latimer not making the trek to Quebec for race five, others in the Briggs & Stratton Junior field were looking to capitalize and when Braxton Terry (Birel) finished third in the Prefinal he was into the overall points lead. Christopher Proietto (Praga) won that race, but it wasn’t long into the Final when the original pole man wanted top spot back. Tyler McCullough (Gold) took it, and then led things home from there. The lead pack was a fairly close bunch until infighting allowed two to break away, McCullough running to his first win of the season ahead of Proietto, who was second – but running on borrowed time after his header broke and a black flag waved. The Praga driver was thus docked post race, upgrading Terry to second and Nicholas Hornbostel to third. The trio also gained significant points in the championship chase. Zachary Vanier was then fourth, with Proietto a DQ. Of course, the Eastern Canadian Karting Championship allows its racers to drop one event, yet even dropping an event Terry is still the new championship leader and McCullough moves to a tie for second with Latimer, setting up what should be an incredible final weekend.
Junior Field: 5 karts, 4 chassis manufacturers.
Briggs & Stratton Senior Pole Position: 47.595 – Tyler Givogue, Margay/Briggs & Stratton
Prefinal: Kevin King, Sylvain Clair, Tyler Givogue, Taylor Gates, Mathieu Demers
Final: A sixteen-kart Briggs & Stratton Senior field was stacked with veterans at the front, many that worked to the upper echelons of karting during their first runs through the sport. Two of those were front and centre in the Final, as Kevin King (CRG) led the early stages with former SKUSA SuperNationals winner Tyler Givogue (Margay) slotting into second. A group of four formed initially, but before long it was the pair at the front that were set to settle things. They got clear by working together, and in the late stages it was showtime. Givogue took the lead, King took it back, and things were spiced up even more as the dicing brought Mathieu Demers (CRG) into the picture in third and raindrops began to fall! King had top spot as the white flag waved, and in a final dash to the line he held for the win by just 0.066 seconds! Givogue was second and Demers third, just over a tenth back and the highest standing regular runner to compete as point leaders Jon Treadwell and Marc Stehle were absent from race five. Vincent Cyr (Birel) had a strong drive from ninth to fourth, while Taylor Gates (Birel) was fifth.
Senior Field: 16 karts, 7 chassis manufacturers.
Briggs & Stratton Masters Pole Position: 49.217 – Jamie MacArthur, Birel/Briggs & Stratton
Prefinal: Jamie MacArthur, Jean Beltrami, Martin Coursol, Greg Jewell, Paolo Solaroli
Final: Jamie MacArthur (Birel) showed throughout the day he had the speed to cover the rest of the Masters’ field, beginning with a seven-tenths margin in qualifying and winning the Prefinal by nearly seven seconds. The Final was much the same, and the same can be said for the entire podium as along with MacArthur repeating in top spot, Jean Beltrami (CRG) repeated in second and Martin Coursol (Arrow) repeated in third. Greg Jewell (Arrow) was fourth, just as he was in the Prefinal while Philippe Schumacher (TonyKart) was fifth and Paolo Solaroli (CRG) sixth. The margin of victory for MacArthur was just under eight seconds with the field well spread around the temporary track.
Masters Field: 6 karts, 4 chassis manufacturers.
Rotax Junior Pole Position: 42.681 – Christophe Paquet, PSL/CRG/JVD Power Rotax
Prefinal: Christophe Paquet, Jeffrey Kingsley, Alexandre Lacroix, Gianfranco Mazzaferro, Tyler Ripani
Final: After two waved starts in Junior the field was halted and the front row booted in favour of Alexandre Lacroix (Zanardi) and Gianfranco Mazzaferro (TonyKart). The pair then then made the most of the gift as Lacroix took the early lead with Mazzaferro slotting second and Jeffrey Kingsley (TonyKart) third as the field cleared the early corners. Christophe Paquet (CRG) was hungry to move back forward though, after starting the day on pole and winning the Prefinal, and he worked back past both Kingsley and Mazzaferro toward his original starting position. The trio diced for second, which gave Lacroix breathing room at the front through the first half. Once settled in through the middle stages, Paquet established himself in second and began to run down Lacroix at the front. He ran to the bumper of the Zanardi Kart, but a look with two-to-go didn’t come off and Lacroix had the space he needed to take his second-straight ECKC win and fourth win in a row after adding a pair of Coupe du Quebec wins as well! Paquet was second, and after emerging from a tight three-pack with Mazzaferro and Natael Cantin (Birel), Kingsley took the final podium spot. It also translated to the points lead with former leader Nicolas Dore jumping to Rotax Senior at race five. Mazzaferro is now second in points and Lacroix is quickly putting himself in the championship picture.
Junior Field: 18 karts, 7 chassis manufacturers.
Rotax Micro-Max Pole Position: 46.665 – William Chayer, KMS North America/Birel/Rotax
Prefinal: William Chayer, Thomas Nepveu, Joshua Cunha, Alexandre Legare, Xavier Harris
Final: William Chayer (Birel) held his pole position at the start ahead of the Zanardi karts of Thomas Nepveu and Alexandre Legare. The trio were quickly joined by Matthew Latifi (TonyKart), as the championship leader was recovering from a retirement while leading the Prefinal and took just a couple of laps to make it back. When Legare passed his teammate Latifi followed through as well, then Latifi took second himself shortly after. From there he had a gap to run down Chayer in the lead and things got even more exciting as it started to sprinkle! Latifi was on the bumper of the Birel in short order, taking the lead and building a small gap himself into the second half, but Chayer settled back in and closed on the TonyKart. In the end three tenths was as close as he would get as Latifi scored his fourth win of the season, all but securing the class championship. Chayer was second, and Legare completed Le Monaco podium. Fresh from winning the Western Canadian Championship and a trip to the Rotax Grand Finals, Nepveu was fourth, and though Jeremy Tallon (Birel) crossed fifth, he was docked three seconds for hitting a cone and Joshua Cunha advanced into the top five.
Micro-Max Field: 13 karts, 6 chassis manufacturers.
Rotax Senior Pole Position: 41.612 – Pier-Luc Ouellette, PSL Karting/CRG/JVD Power Rotax
Prefinal: Pier-Luc Ouellette, Maxime Couturier, Olivier Bedard, Tyler Kashak, Kevin Monteith
Final: Pier-Luc Ouellette (CRG) held from his pole position in the Final with Olivier Bedard (Birel) slotting from P3 into second and Kevin Monteith (Birel) going from P5 into third. The trio had a slight gap from the get-go, but Zachary Claman DeMelo (Praga) was flying! First he got Tyler Kashak (OK1) to move into fourth, and quickly ran down Monteith for third as well. Then, with the podium positions firmly in his sights, DeMelo, the man who swept the Goodwood rounds, had to get by Monteith, the man who swept the opening races at Mosport. DeMelo got a run along the start/finish straight and had the inside through a quick turn one, but Monteith was hanging on the outside, which became the inside at turn two, a sharp left-hander into a bus-stop style chicane. Two into one didn’t go, and DeMelo fell far down the order after contact. Meanwhile, ahead of that action, PLO was continuing to lead the field with Bedard staying in touch in second place. They stayed that way until the white flag waved, and that’s when the rookie senior went to work on the former Rotax World Champion. Bedard moved to create a drag race toward the interior chicane on the final lap and took the lead at turn seven in front of a packed grandstand, then holding to the checkered and his first win of the season! Ouellette was second and Monteith third in completing the podium. Kashak maintained fourth ahead of Maxime Couturier (Zanardi) and DeMelo, who recovered to score some valuable points. The win moved Bedard to the championship lead, both overall and when a drop is applied, setting up for an epic season finale as the seniors look to secure a berth at the Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals.
Senior Field: 24 karts, 7 chassis manufacturers.
Rotax Mini-Max Pole Position: 44.204 – Antonio Serravalle, Pserra Racing/TonyKart/Pserra Rotax
Prefinal: Thierry Cote, Andres Felipe de Alba, JP Hutchinson, Samuel Lupien, Alexandre Foteas
Final: Maintaining the form that saw him capture the Western Canadian Championship and a berth at the Rotax Grand Finals just a week earlier, Thierry Cote (CRG) held the lead at the start of the Final with Andres Felipe de Alba (Zanardi) second and JP Hutchinson (TonyKart) sitting third. Things then happened fast and furiously in Mini-Max as Felipe moved to the lead and Samuel Lupien (Birel) moved to third just a few laps later. Also joining the fray was the day’s original polesitter, as Antonio Serravalle was recovering from being caught out in damp conditions at the start of the Prefinal and the retirement that followed. He was quickly into the top five during the Final, and moved into fourth when he passed Hutchinson. He then went by Lupien with seven to go, and the stage was set for a fantastic final showdown. First Cote moved to the lead in turn seven, and Serravalle went by at the same time to take second from Felipe. There they stayed until a last lap showdown. Looking to repeat the move in turn seven, Serravalle and Cote tangled and Felipe was caught out in the carnage as well! Through it all came Lupien to take the win from P4 on the final lap! Felipe then recovered for second, but was docked in tech and next in line was Serravalle, back to second, and Joe Soranno (LH Kart) up onto the podium in third. Hutchinson was then fourth after climbing back up after contact and Alexandre Foteas (Tecno) was fifth.
Mini-Max Field: 12 karts, 6 chassis manufacturers.
Rotax DD2 Masters Pole Position: 40.988 – Stuart Clark, Maranello North America/Prime Power Rotax
Prefinal: Stuart Clark, Francis Mondou, Martin Verville, John Cariati, Francois Bellemare
Final: The sun was shining as things came to a close at Le Monaco and the sun has been shining on Stuart Clark (Maranello) all season. The Grand Finals veteran was looking to complete a sweep of the day after taking pole and the Prefinal and got off to a great start at the wave of the green. Martin Verville (Haase) moved from third to second, and Francis Mondou (OK1) slotted third. Mondou quickly had second back, but Clark was stretching his legs in this one, a drive that would become his fifth win of the season – a perfect run to date. Mondou went the distance in second, but the final podium spot was in question. Starting from the back of the pack, Luc Sauriol (CRG) made his way to fifth in short order, and after passing into fourth faced a large gap to Verville. Lap after lap he picked away, and with two to go the podium was within reach. Sauriol got close, but he didn’t get by and the order remained to post race, when he actually went back one position after taking a three-second penalty for hitting a cone. With a perfect run to date, Clark has all but secured the class title and his third trip to the Grand Finals. Francis Mondou was second, and also sits second in the points, a spot that could see him headed to the Grand Finals as well should Clark win the National Championship in August. Verville completed the podium, and is also third in points. Francois Bellemare (CRG) was scored fourth and Sauriol’s run from the back ended with fifth.
DD2 Masters Field: 12 karts, 7 chassis manufacturers.
So came to a close the fifth race of the schedule at Le Monaco de Trois-Rivieres, three championships all but confirmed and the rest heading to the season finale at Mont-Tremblant. Before that race date, the 2013 Canadian National Karting Championships will be contested at Goodwood Kartways, and the results will surely have an affect on the Eastern Canadian Championship. Class Champions in Junior, Senior, DD2 and DD2 Masters will be awarded Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals spots on Team Canada at Nationals, along with three Mini-Max drivers and three Micro-Max drivers. Those drivers will then be ineligible for the same awards at the ECKC finale, opening doors for a host of others. The Eastern Canadian Karting Championship concludes on Sunday, September 15th, at the Jim Russell Karting Academy in Mont-Tremblant. The final race of the championship will follow a practice day on Friday, and a round of the Coupe de Quebec on Saturday. For more information, please visit eckc.ca often.