This weekend marks the final chance for drivers from around the world to qualify for the 2013 Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals, held this year in New Orleans, Louisiana, USA. The Rotax Pan American Challenge will invade NOLA Motorsports Park in New Orleans with this weekends event being held on the same circuit and configuration as the Grand Finals.
Attracting drivers from around the world; some already qualified and testing for next months Grand Finals, some still seeking their ticket, the Rotax Pan American Challenge is sure to be exciting this weekend and a handful of Canadians have made their way south to join the action.
Canadians have been pretty successful at the Pan American Challenge in years past, as in 2011 Canada swept all seven tickets up for grabs when the event was held in New Castle, Indiana, while in 2012 in Centennial, Colorado only a few Canadians were in attendance, but still showed plenty of pace.
Taking a look at the pre-entry list, we reflect on Rotax Micro-Max and Mini-Max today, while the Junior and Senior divisions are on tap for Tuesday and DD2 and DD2 Masters set for Wednesday.
CKN will be trackside for this weekends event in New Orleans, with our coverage beginning on Friday October 11 with Qualifying. Saturday will feature an array of heat races before Sunday’s Prefinals and Pan American Championship Finals.
As of this morning, and impressive 29 drivers are entered in the youngest Rotax Max division. This years Rotax Grand Finals will feature an invitational race for the Micro-Max racers and many drivers in North America are using this opportunity to prepare. All eight Canadians entered have already qualified for the Micro-Max Invitational, but that wont be stopping them from seeking the top of the podium.
From British Columbia, Marco Kacic (CRG West/PSL/CRG) is looking to secure his first major title of 2013 after finishing runner-up in both the Western Canadian Championship and the inaugural Rotax Can-Am Prokart Challenge. Also from the West is Jordan Novota (BBR/Birel). From the East, Eastern Canadian Karting Championship Champion Matthew Latifi (Ferrolati Corse/TonyKart) is registered as well as Joshua Cunha (IPK/OK1), Xavier Harris (IPK/Praga), Patrick Woods-Toth (PSL Karting/CRG) and Jeremy Tallon (KMS/Birel). Nicholas d’Orlando (Koene USA/TonyKart) will also represent the Canada flag as he is a dual-citizen, although he will represent the USA at the Grand Finals having qualified at the US Nationals.
A couple notable entries in the class include: Americans Harry Coulton, Dylan Tavella and Hannah Greenemeier, Mexican Emilano Richards among many others. It will surely be a great weekend of Micro-Max racing.
For the Grand Finals all drivers will be on a spec OK1 kart. As of today, we are unsure if any drivers will be taking the opportunity to test an OK1 kart this weekend in preparation for the Grand Finals.
Like Micro-Max, there is a stout number of drivers registered for Mini-Max. The class is also part of the Invitational at the Grand Finals this year and many North American drivers are already qualified and will use this as a chance to test. From Canada, only three drivers are registered to take part, but all should be threat for victory.
Canadian Vice-Champion Roman DeAngelis (Koene USA/TonyKart) took the opportunity this past weekend in New Orleans to test and prepare at the Texas Prokart Challenge and was very quick all weekend, putting himself on the podium on Saturday. Western Canadian Championship Vice-Champion Griffin Dowler (Apollo/TonyKart) of Alberta has entered as he looks to accompany himself with the track. Finally duel-citizen Michael d’Orlando will fly the Canadian and American flags in New Orleans this weekend although he will join Team USA for the Grand Finals as the 2013 US Rotax Grand National Champion.
The stacked class has many notable entries including 2013 FWT Champion Nicholas Brueckner, US Grand National podium finishers Enzo Fittipaldi and Michael Benyahia, the always fast Terife brothers Santiago and Sergio from Venezuela, David Malukas and many more. The action will be intense!
The spec kart for the Grand Finals will see Mini-Max drivers aboard a Haase chassis as the brand switches from the DD2 Masters class this year. We are unsure if any drivers will be testing out the chassis this weekend.
Stay tuned on Tuesday and Wednesday for the remainder of our previews.