Making the switch from privateer to the powerhouse Team PSL Karting in 2016 paid off in big dividends for Quebec City’s Andres De Alba as the Rotax Junior driver earned multiple victories throughout the year, including the biggest one of his young career thus far, the ASN Canadian National Championships in Mont-Tremblant. As Canadian Champion, De Alba earned the chance to compete in the Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals held this year in Sarno, Italy as a member of Team Canada.
He was the most competitive Rotax Junior driver in the east this season, missing the podium only twice in the nine major events he entered, including two ECKC victories en route to finishing third in the championship in a title race that came down to the final run at Mosport.
As one of four Canadian drivers to compete in the Rotax Junior category this year at the Rotax Grand Finals in Italy, fifteen year old De Alba is honoured to get the chance to represent his home country on the world stage and show off his driving talents.
“Being able to represent my country in the biggest event of the year, it’s an honour and a real pleasure for me,” explains De Alba when contacted by CKN. “Joining Team Canada is my biggest accomplishment, not only because I’m going to the worlds but also because I know who wanted that place too.”
De Alba had some very large competition challenging him for the position on Team Canada all season long, including Ryan MacDermid, who qualified as ECKC Champion, and Matthew Latifi along with a handful of others who challenged for race wins all season long.
His level of excitement after claiming the Canadian title is just one of the many reasons why De Alba is one of the most passionate drivers on the grid and well deserving of the chance to compete at the Rotax Grand Finals. Competing in Europe for the first time, he has simple goals for the event that show a veteran attitude with a true passion for the sport of karting.
“I’m going there to do the best I can. I want to have fun, represent my country well and remember why we all love this sport.”
Having never been to the Grand Finals before, De Alba enters the race in a similar situation as teammates MacDermid and Matthew Taskinen while the fourth team member, Samuel Lupien, is entering his fourth Grand Finals meaning the trio will be looking to young veteran for guidance throughout the event.
There will also be the curveball of competing on the MOJO D1 tire in Italy. The North America Rotax races switched to the D2 for the past year and a half meaning the Juniors will need to come to grips quickly with a different tire along with the Praga Kart that is supplied to them. To prepare, De Alba has spent some time driving on the D1 tire since the Nationals to begin adapting before he gets to Italy.
With no other plans for his time in Italy, it is all business for De Alba when he arrives in Naples.
“For this event I’m focusing on myself one-hundred percent!”
The Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals runs from October 16 to 22 in Sarno, Italy. Team Canada has qualified 17 drivers to compete in the event and CKN is the official media partner for Team Canada covering every aspect of the event. Tune in often as we preview members of the team travelling to Italy.