The Canadian National anthem was proudly on display this past weekend in country of France as Mont-Tremblant, Quebec’s Ben Cooper secured his second consecutive European Rotax DD2 title.
Competing in the fourth and final round of the 2014 Rotax Euro Challenge, Cooper (KMS/Birel) took to the track in Salbris, France with a tight championship lead entering the weekend. Rotax DD2 has been one of the highlights of the Euro Challenge with factory teams putting forth efforts and an excellent crop of drivers entering the division this season.
Cooper’s weekend was quite straightforward. He just missed the pole-position in Qualifying, but struck first in the heat races winning the first one. A pair of third place results helped rank Cooper second overall entering Sunday’s final day of competition. With the championship on the line and four drivers all in the hunt no mistakes could be made in either the PreFinal or Final.
But Cooper was calm as usual on Sunday and he delivered like he has done so many times in the past. Another second place effort in the PreFinal gave him the edge entering the Final, and a third place result in the Final secured the title for Cooper as he earned his fourth podium finish in as many races. The final tally saw Cooper take the title by five points over the UK’s Jordan Lennox-Lamb and Sweden’s Andreas Backman.
“It feels great to defend the title,” explains Cooper when contacted by CKN. “It’s the first time I have ever done back-to-back championships before so I am very proud of that achievement. There is also a sense of relief as there has been a lot of pressure all year. Now I’m looking forward to a few weeks at home and the final ECKC in Mont-Tremblant.”
Three other Canadian drivers were also competing in France this past weekend, all of them from Montreal, Quebec.
Zachary Claman DeMelo (Intrepid Driver Program/Intrepid) had an outside shot at the Championship podium in Rotax Senior entering the weekend, but a loose fuel line dampened his chances in his third heat and ultimately set him back entering Sunday.
After starting the PreFinal from sixteenth, DeMelo managed only to advance to thirteenth, and he held that position through the Final, where he ultimately finished eighth overall in the largest class of the Euromax.
In Rotax DD2, Alessandro Bizzotto (CRG SPA/CRG) enjoyed his best round of the Euromax finishing up with an 18th place result in Sunday’s Final.
In Rotax Junior, Gianfranco Mazzaferro also enjoyed his best Euromax weekend to date, running inside the top-20. Unfortunately he wound up with a DNF in Sunday’s Final after starting 19th.