As the season progresses, Team Canada is starting to form for the 2023 Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals.
Following a great weekend of racing at the Canadian Karting Championships, which took place at the Hamilton Karting Complex, six drivers were awarded tickets to the prestigious event this year at the Bahrain International Circuit.
To win a ticket this weekend, racers also needed to compete in the Canadian Open with the combined points over the two races determining who would join Team Canada.
Starting the day off, Canadian Open race winner Lucas Deslongchamps took the checkered flag in Rotax Junior. In a tight battle between teammates, Olivier Mrak got up as high as third in the race but eventually slipped back to sixth at the finish, one position behind Antoine Lemieux. Still, it was enough to secure the ticket and his first invitation to the RMCGF. Mrak will join Deslongchamps and the Max Karting Group Canada Final winner, which will be determined this weekend in Chilliwack, BC, in Rotax Junior.
Getting two chances at a ticket, Lemieux cashed in a few races later to secure the Rotax Mini Max ticket. He entered the weekend with the most points from ICAR and he ensured he stayed ahead of Rayan Ghandour to secure his second trip to the Grand Finals. Combined with the Mini Max race was also a ticket for Micro Max for drivers born in 2012 or later. Edward Kennedy was the driver who scored the most points over the two events and will represent Team Canada for the first time in Micro Max. The race was won by Jackson Morley but he wasn’t present at the Open to be in the running.
An intense weekend in Rotax Senior Max saw Timothy Pernod take the ticket. Pernod got as high as third in the race but slipped back in the late stages to sixth at the finish but it was enough to stay ahead of his competition and he will join his brother Lucas, who will race in DD2, on Team Canada, marking his first start at the RMCGF. Frankie Esposito was the race winner.
The final race at the Canadian Championships to award tickets was Rotax DD2/DD2 Masters. A race-long battle between Lucas Pernod and Gianluca Savaglio, two drivers already on Team Canada, ended in disaster for both as they came together on the final lap. This opened the door for Olivier Bedard to swoop by both with only three corners to go and take the DD2 race win and clinch the ticket. A few moments later his Premier Karting teammate David Laplante rounded the final corner and locked up the win in DD2 Masters. With their victories, both ranked atop the standings and won their invites to Team Canada. For Bedard, this will be his fourth time at the RGF while Laplante has finally earned his first chance to compete at the global Rotax championship.
With 11 drivers now locked onto Team Canada, there is one more race in our nation to award tickets, this weekend’s Max Karting Group Canada Final taking place in Chilliwack, BC where six more invitations will be earned.
For those who miss out, there will be one final opportunity to win a way into the Rotax Grand Finals. The US Rotax Trophy Finale will run at New Castle Motorsports Park in Indiana, USA on September 15-17. Six open tickets will be up for grabs which will surely draw a great turnout and hopefully a few Canadians can race their way in.