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Challenge of the Americas

Pankewitz Masters the Conditions to score COA victory in Sonoma; Gardner Crowned Champion

Pankewitz Masters the Conditions to score COA victory in Sonoma; Gardner Crowned Champion

All day long everyone in the paddock knew that the rain was coming. What started out as a beautiful sunny day at Sonoma Raceway in Northern California slowly changed its tone as first the wind picked up, then the temperatures dropped and then finally, with only two Finals left, the dark clouds rolled in and the rain fell.

After the Senior Rok class had to race on their slicks as rain fell after the green flag, Mini Rok was the only category to use rain tires.

It was a race of attrition as lap after lap, the young drivers were struggling for grip and spinning off in nearly every corner. All drivers except one, Canadian Max Pankewitz.

He may not have been the fastest driver in the dry this weekend, but Pankewitz was smart in the rain, lifting early and coasting through the corners. All race long he kept his four wheels on track and his kart pointed in the right direction and while he surrendered the lead a couple of times, to championship leaders Chase Gardner Logan Toke, and his challengers pushed too hard and would hand the lead right back to Pankewitz.

Battling through lapped traffic on the final two laps, Pankewitz continued to play it smart and didn’t try any brave moves and ensured he made it to the checkered flag first. A brilliant drive by the young driver, no doubt.

Toke wound up second with Gardner taking home third place and the COA Mini Rok Championship as well as a ticket to the Rok Cup International Final in Italy.

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