As one of Canada’s most active karters, Zachary Claman DeMelo has been crossing the Atlantic with regularity this season as he raced the Eastern Canadian Karting Championship at home and both the Rotax Euro Championship and WSK KF3 Championships abroad. Just back from his most recent trip where he prepared for the Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals at Portugal and raced the WSK Final Cup, ZCD once again checked in with CKN to update the Canadian readership:
We got to Portugal Wednesday, and we arrived at the track that evening. At first glance, the track looked great – long and fluent. I got a good night’s rest that evening, and was looking forward to a strong day of testing Thursday. The test day went well. I got to know the track and perfected my driving.
The second day started off great, we did some new tire tests and played with the little we could on the kart as that is how it is at the Grand Finals. We started to make changes and play with the kart Friday afternoon, as my driving was up to speed with the track by then. Later that day it rained, so we set off back to our pit, changed the set up, and got some great wet testing in. I feel we had some strong testing, as I felt comfortable with the track in the wet and dry, and got very comfortable with the new chassis we will be using at the Grand Finals.
On the final morning we looked to beat times, and we put up some very good times according to how the track conditions were. I feel very confident now and when I return for the world finals I plan to go for the win!
After a day of travel, I arrived at Castelletto on Monday for the WSK Final Cup in KF3. We had some prep to do on the kart on Tuesday, but ultimately we rested that day in favour of having a few strong test days. Wednesday went well as we broke-in for two sessions. The last session of the day we really pushed it and saw the speed was there for the win.
We pushed very hard all day, tried some things on the kart and got the set-up to a very good point. Thursday is when we really knew we could compete for the win.
We had two practices in the morning, and they seemed to go well as we placed in the top ten on both runs. Then qualifying came, and we struggled a little to get the kart to come off the corners with all the new rubber on the track. The line was changing every session. We started 11th for every heat, and the start went well in heat number 1. We were able to bring it home in 5th and I was fighting for 3rd most of the race.
With three heats on Saturday the day began well when I brought it to 5th and held it the whole race. I even had many shots for the win. Heat 2 went just as well as we planned, as we took a 3rd-place finish comfortably. We started on the outside for heat 3 but still managed to keep it in 8th spot for the whole race. We needed one more top-ten finish to start in the top 5 for the Prefinal, but bad luck came our way in heat 4 off the start. We got a little nudge, which caused us to finish 19th. We were then in the 14th place starting spot for the Prefinal on Sunday.
The Prefinal did not go as well as we planned, as we got pushed off at the start of the race putting us to dead last – but we managed to bring the kart back to 17th and take the last spot to the Final. In the Final we knew it would be tough to start from 34th, but we would try our hardest to make magic happen. Off the start I took the outside, which was a risk and I did not get the most out of what I wanted. After a long race I managed to bring the kart home in 19th from 34th, so we got some positions and the week went well as we learned a lot. We know the speed and potential is there, so the next races can only get better.
Next up I plan to go for win the World finals in Portimao, Portugal, and also the SKUSA SuperNationals in Las Vegas. You can all know I will give it my all in both races and represent Canada as best as I can.