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SuperNationals XVII: Robert Wickens Qualifies Pole in Rotax DD2; Wins Heat #1

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SuperNationals XVII: Robert Wickens Qualifies Pole in Rotax DD2; Wins Heat #1

The 2013 SKUSA SuperNationals XVII are underway in Las Vegas. While the event usually features sunshine, warm weather and amazing atmosphere, this years event has been plagued by rain and cold weather. There is also a shortage of rain tires available, forcing many drivers to skip qualifying on Thursday.

Friday morning was even colder temperatures and more rain. Although the rain hasn’t been heavy, it is a constant drizzle keeping the track wet and challenging drivers.

Rotax DD2, an addition to the SuperNationals roster this year features a star-studded lineup of drivers from all over the world and from different motorsports disciplines.

In Qualifying it was the Canadian Mercedes DTM pilot Robert Wickens (Prime/Maranello) who grabbed the pole-position with a last lap dash to overtake Italian Paulo de Conto (KMS/Birel). Bas Lammers (Intrepid) was third while Andreas Matis was fourth overall and the highest ranked DD2 Masters driver. Eugene Brittz (Birel) rounded out the top-five.

Ben Cooper (KMS/Birel) was the next highest Canadian in eighth, with Scott Campbell (CRG) eleventh, but second for the Masters. Stuart Clark (Prime Maranello) was thirteenth, Dominic LeGrand (PSL/CRG) was eighteenth, Fred Woodley 21st, and Brendon Bain was 22nd in the 44-kart field.

Photo by: Cody Schindel/CKN

Photo by: Cody Schindel/CKN

Heat #1

After a pair of waved off starts, Wickens was moved back to row three and DD2 finally got underway with the rain pouring down and the temperatures continuing to cool off.

But mayhem on the first start saw Nelson Piquet Jr crash hard into the barriers on the front straight and a lengthly red flag period delayed the event even more.

Once back under way it was intense action on track with drivers tippy-toeing around the temporary circuit at the RIO. After a couple wild opening laps, Ben Cooper emerged with the lead and began stretching away from Wickens and Bas Lammers. But Cooper would get held up by a lap kart forcing him to spin off and awarded the lead to Wickens. From there Wickens held on while Cooper rebounded to finish seventh. Andreas Matis would finish scone with Paulo de Conto driving from last to third. Francois Lepesqueux was fourth ahead of Kyle Ensby and Danny Formal.

Scott Campbell was 10th, LeGrand 14th, Clark 16th, Woodley 27th, and Bain 39th.

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