It was a sea of red on Sunday at Circuit ICAR as round three of the Coupe de Montreal saw many victories taken by the BirelART brand. In total, there were nine wins on track by BirelART karts, one victory for a Ricciardo Kart, a chassis manufactured by BirelART, and a checkered flag for a TonyKart. These wins came from a selection of race teams, including Ben Cooper Racing, PSL Karting, Gerald Caseley Racing and ACM Karting, as well as privateer efforts.
The race day itself was spectacular with 124 entrants spread across the eleven categories, headed by 24 karts each in both Briggs Junior and Briggs Senior. The complex ICAR track challenged racers all day long under hot weather conditions and the races came down to the wire, including a six-wide drag race to the finish line in Briggs Senior. Overall, it was another great day of racing in the province of Quebec, showing they are well into the rebuild of a great karting community.
Those in attendance this season have been treated to excellent Briggs 206 racing, just as the program intended. Round one at SH came down to the wire in Briggs Senior, while SC Performance was another showdown for the victory. Briggs Junior, Masters and Cadet have followed suit, also providing excellent and unpredictable results.
The intensity heated up at ICAR, where six drivers fought tooth and nail for the race win in Briggs Senior and it wasn’t until the group exited the final corner six-wide that a winner could be predicted. Arriving first at the finish line was Kelsey Hann, who scored her second checkered flag of the season. She got the best of Patrick Woods-Toth, a two-cycle racer taking on the Briggs challenge for the weekend, and Mickael Aubin Poirer, who entered the penultimate corner side-by-side for the lead. Wheels banged, side-pods rubbed, karts jumped into the air and the epic finish was on display with Hann celebrating first. William Lowther was able to sneak through the pack to take third behind Hann and Woods-Toth, followed by Brandon Stephens, Poirier and Mathieu Demers.
The Juniors had a four-kart train for the lead with BCR duo Mathieu Cousineau and Yuchen Ye leading Zack Lalonde, who was making his return to the category after two starts in Rotax, and double race winner Isaac Teed. The teammates did their best to stay together all race long and even though Teed and Lalonde both had moments of separating the leaders, they weren’t able to get into the lead. Cousineau was on top from lap three onwards and remained in the lead all the way to the checkers to take his first race win of the season, with his teammate managing to overtake Teed on the final lap to stand second on the podium. The racing throughout the grid was superb as these young racers continue to develop their talents and get faster and faster each race.
In Rotax Senior, Marc Antoine Poirer had his work cut out for himself as he worked towards his third straight victory. A disqualification in Qualifying for bad fuel meant he needed to start the PreFinal at the rear of the grid. Disposing of the Rotax Masters drivers and all but one of his fellows Seniors in the PreFinal, Poirer earned himself a front row starting spot for the Final and after an awesome first lap dual with Vincent Desautels, which saw no less than four passes for the lead, Poirer was able to check out and cruise to victory. Nalin Shah started the Final in ninth and had a great drive to take second on the final lap, overtaking Zephyrin Dupain in the final corners and celebrating his achievement at the finish line. Taking the win in Rotax Masters was Jocelyn Pelletier.
Fresh from his fourth-place finish in the FIA Karting Academy in Italy, Justin Arseneau was back in his home province for some seat time and did he have his hands full. After Arseneau posted the fastest time in Qualifying by 0.054 seconds, over Callum Baxter, the racing was on. Arseneau got the jump at the start to lead laps one and two before Baxter made his move for the lead. From there the driver from Nova Scotia was able to open up a lead through the middle stages of the race until Arsenau put down his best laps to close in before the last lap board was displayed. On the leaders rear bumper, Arseneau tried for a pass down in turn three, but was unable to make it work and it cost him his momentum before the long back straightaway. Baxter was clear from there and rounded the second half of the lap without pressure to score the race win. Maude Grenier took third place, finishing just ahead of her BCR teammate Justin Roy.
Making his first Canadian start of the season, Toronto’s Davide Greco steered his BirelART kart to victory in Open Shifter, besting another Toronto driver, Xingran Tang, for the win. Charles Robin snuck by Nathan Gilbert on the final lap to take third. Dany St-Hilaire won the Open Shifter Masters portion of the race over Christian Gysi and Nicolas Bedard.
After losing rounds one and two to his Gerald Caseley Racing teammate, Ethan Lowther was finally able to score his first big win of the race season in Briggs Cadet. Lowther was a rocket ship at ICAR and took the win by three seconds over Lucas Deslongchamps and championship leader Zachary Hitchcock. Bronson Hetherington and Ilie Tristan Crisan rounded out the top-five.
In Rotax DD2, Isaac Marritt was back in action after missing round two and he retook control of the category. He checked out early en route to an eight-second victory. Crossing the finish line second was Etienne LaSalle, who started tenth on the grid and climbed positions all the way to the checkered flag to score the DD2 Masters win. Kevin Ignatowicz and Raphael St-Pierre joined Marritt on the DD2 podium while Alexandre Gauthier and Bruno Legrand stood alongside LaSalle on the DD2 Masters podium.
Finally, Steve Desroches was able to break free of the action in Briggs Masters to take the race win. Serge Boisvert was able to win the battle for second, finishing just ahead of David Barab, Simon Pepin and Eric Beltrami.
The Coupe de Montreal returns to Circuit ICAR for round number four in only two weeks as racers return to the airport circuit on July 7. To learn more and to register for races, visit http://coupedemontreal.com.
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Today’s Coupe de Montreal race winners had their work cut out for them at Circuit ICAR. ———— Briggs Cadet: Ethan Lowther Briggs Junior: Mathieu Cousineau Briggs Senior: Kelsey Hann Briggs Masters: Steve Desroches Rotax Junior: Callum Baxter Rotax Senior: Marc Antoine Poirer Rotax DD2: Isaac Marritt Rotax DD2M: Etienne LaSalle Open Shifter: Davide Greco Open Shifter Master: Dany St-Hilaire