Friday morning at NOLA proved to be a challenging day for not just the Canadians, but also all drivers. Off and on rain showers made tuning especially difficult for all teams. Drivers were forced to navigate a tricky NOLA Motorsports Park circuit which was never completely dry. Rotax Senior was a battle from morning until the end of the day with drivers fighting for every position.
Heat one of groups A vs D saw United Kingdom driver Kyle Fowlie crossing the line in P1, with his teammate also from the UK Max Aitken coming in second. Martin Henckel-Hortens of Denmark was able to pull of a third place finish. Canadians Skylar Dunning and Olivier Bedard battled for positions all race long. Dunning gave a strong effort resulting in a 14th place finish, after he was tangled up early on and was consistently battling adversity throughout the race. The Quebec driver Bedard, suffered an issue when water ran into his motor causing him to have to work around a power loss before retiring early.
The second heat of groups B vs C had Irishman and defending Grand Finals Champion Charlie Eastwood locking down a first place finish after a strong drive in the heat. Eastwood worked his way effectively through the pack as he started far back. Philip Morin of Sweden was able to pull off a second after leading early and it was Oliver Hodgson of the UK coming third. Canadian Zachary Claman DeMelo was involved in a fiasco off the start pushing him back in the field, before carb issues forced him to retire early. This resulted in a 34th place finish for the Canadian driver.
DeMelo was the only senior driver to directly transfer to the Pre Final for tomorrow’s action, as he will be starting in 23rd position. As for Bedard and Dunning they had to test their luck in the last chance qualifier. The LCQ was a non-stop battle with both Canadians getting tangled up off the start in turn two. Dunning was pushed back deep in the pack and finished 25th. Bedard had a strong drive and was able to work his way up to the 10th position, just short of the 6th position cut off. All in all it was an extremely difficult day for Canadian drivers.