Back in action for the second day of competition, the 2013 Rotax Pan American Challenge returned to NOLA Motorsports Park in New Orleans, Louisiana, USA to more humidity, sunshine, and great racing action. Saturday played host to the second and third round of heat races for all classes and was capped off by a Last Chance Race for Rotax Junior.
This weekend, every Rotax Senior session has been a dogfight, with all kinds of action all over the track and for every position. For most drivers, putting together three solid heats was a challenge, but Polesitter Nick Neri (TonyKart) of the USA was able to make the most of his front starting position on Saturday. Neri outmuscled his OGP teammate Sam Beasley in heat two to take the win, as Jack Weprin (FA Kart) made it a USA 1-2-3. Canadians have had their hands full this weekend with Nathan Kelly (CRG) leading the contingent in heat two in 13th, followed by Johnny Flute (Kosmic) in 17th. DNF’s for Zacharie Scalzo (TonyKart), Zachary Claman DeMelo (Praga) and Adam Dowler (TonyKart) really hurt their points totals after heat two.
The third and Final heat saw USA’s Oliver Askew (TonyKart) advance from his front row starting spot to the lead early on and check out from his competitors. Charlie Eastwood (TonyKart) of Ireland put together a smooth run to finish second with Neri third, Beasley fourth and Jordan Lennox-Lamb (CRG) of the UK fifth. Lennox was running in the top-five in heat two until a mechanical issue forced him to the sidelines with only a couple corners remaining. Nathan Kelly was again the highest placed Canadian, this time in 14th, with Scalzo two back in 16th. Flute managed to finish 19th, while it was another DNF for Demelo (28th), who was running as high as fifth in the heat, and Dowler (30th).
With Eastwood and Neri tied in points, Neri’s qualifying time places him back on the pole for Sunday’s Prefinal with Eastwood on the outside. FA Kart teammates Weprin and Philip Morin, of Sweden, fill row two as Beasley and Jules Cousin (Sodi-Kart) of France complete row three. Kelly will start 15th, while the remaining Canadians have a lot to do on Sunday with Flute starting 26th, Scalzo 28th, DeMelo 29th and Dowler 31st.
Sunday will feature a Prefinal and Final for all classes to determine the Pan American Champions as well as the final tickets to next months Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals.