The cold and wet front that has rolled into and shocked Las Vegas, Nevada once again greeted drivers and teams as they arrived at the track in Saturday morning. The wet and cold weather has wreaked havoc on the event this far, taking most of the prestige out of the paddock as everyone tries to stay warm and dry in a desert known for its sunshine.
For the afternoon/evening classes, the cooler temperatures made things even more challenging at the RIO Hotel. But even with the track being as slick as it is, drivers demonstrated some incredible driving composure.
In Rotax Junior, the battle up front has featured a handful of different drivers. Heat #2 saw Austria’s Thomas Prieining (PSL/CRG) pull away early after overtaking his teammate and pole-sitter Rinus Van Kaimthout, but in the closing laps Philip Hemprecht (TonyKart) was able to reel in the Austrian and the two put on a great final lap. Hemprecht eventually took the win ahead of Preining Kaimthout third, Leonard Hoogenoom (PSL/CRG) fourth and Richard Verschoor making it four PSL CRG’s in the top-five.
It was a tough run for the Canadians as Clay Van Eerd (TonyKart) spun from his fourth place starting spot, while Nataël Cantin (KMS/Birel) also ran into some troubles. Gianfranco Mazzaferro was the highest placing Canadian in 11th, with Van Eerd and Cantin 20th and 21st. First lap retirements for Russell Boyle (IPK/OK1) and Jeff Fulham (LH Kart) had them ending up 37th and 39th.
In the final heat race for the Juniors, Van Kaimthout was finally able to score a heat win, holding off a charging Preining. Hoogenboom and Verschoor made it a CRG 1-2-3-4 while Van Eerd rebounded nicely to end up fifth ahead of heat one winner Juan Manuel Correa (TonyKart). Cantin bounced back well as well finishing ninth, while Mazzaferro struggled to a 19th place run. Fulham made the distance in this one finishing 25th while more trouble on the opening lap for Boyle meant he ended up 38th.
Preining should hold the top position going into Sundays final. It was be a real racy one with the ticket to the 2014 Rotax Grand Finals on the line and the potential for a some dry racing, finally!