Two sophomore Rotax Senior drivers have enjoyed stellar seasons leading up to the season finale of the Eastern Canadian Karting Championship at Mosport Kartways. While Cedrik Lupien won the first three races of the season, a strong second half for Gianfranco Mazzaferro brought him right into the championship challenge and the race for the ticket to join Team Canada for the Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals.
It was a nightmare start for championship leader Lupien on Saturday as he lost a chain on his first flyer in Qualifying and was unable to complete the lap and post a time. Mazzaferro on the other hand was dominant on Saturday, posting the fastest time in Qualifying by 0.242 seconds.
After Lupien found some trouble in the PreFinal and earned himself a penalty, Mazzaferro was closing the gap in the championship, dominating the remainder of Saturday and taking a convincing victory over Samuel Lupien and Michael Sputore. Cedrik was able to recover to fourth at the line.
After Mazzaferro secured his second pole-position of the weekend and won the PreFinal, Cedrik Lupien lined up just behind him for the Final in third.
But just as the previous race finished, a drizzle began to fall and wet the track. Officials pondered the decision for a few moments to see if the rain would pass, but after a few minutes they declared it a rain race and everyone scattered to change tires and setups.
But as the championship leaders returned to the grid with rain tires, a few gambled, including off-pole starter Marco Di Leo, and opted to stay on their slicks as the rain was very light, although it continued to fall.
It was a hairy start as drivers tip-toed up the hill with those on rain tires taking the early advantage with Mazzaferro out front followed by Cedrik and Samuel Lupien.
A few laps later and while there was still rain falling, those on slicks picked up pace and Di Leo was the first to work his way through the leaders and takeover control of the race. Shortly after, Michael Sputore, Taegen Poles and Jonathan Woolridge drove by Mazzaferro and the Lupien’s and suddenly there were two races to watch.
Di Leo held the point but was hounded by Sputore and Poles as the laps counted down but last years Canadian Champion never let up, always finding his way back into the lead. Meanwhile Mazzaferro had his hands full of Cedrik and Samuel Lupien along with Justin Ovejero.
A great last lap battle saw Sputore overtake Di Leo in turn five on the outside as he defended to the inside and that was enough for Sputore to secure the biggest victory of his career, closing out a double-podium weekend, while Di Leo and Poles completed the podium.
Lupien and Mazzaferro got scrappy on the final lap and Mazzaferro fell back three spots after being passed in corner five. However even though Cedrik and Samuel beat Mazzaferro to the finish line, it wasn’t enough points to sway the championship back in his favour, with Mazzaferro taking home the title.