Thundershowers were in the forecast throughout the day on Friday at the New Jersey Motorsports Park, host of this weekends US Open of New Jersey and the US Rotax Max Grand Nationals, but aside from a morning drizzle and few afternoon drops to keep everyone on their toes, all of Friday’s competitive sessions were shockingly held on a dry track. Friday was SuperPole Qualifying day, setting the pace for the weekend and finally letting drivers show their true speeds.
As 120 Rotax Max racers from around the world have made their way to New Jersey, it was exciting to see the top-six qualifiers from each category hit to the track for two clear laps to set their ultimate best.
Rotax Junior Max featured all four Canadian drivers entered in the event advance to the SuperPole session. In it, Thomas Nepveu (PSL/BirelART) opted to use his second set of new tires for the weekend and it paid off as the young driver took the pole-position by 0.066 seconds, earning him the position for the following three heat races. Justin Arseneau (Speed Concepts/TonyKart) and Patrick Woods-Toth (RPG/Kosmic) helped make it a Canada 1-2-3. Matheus Morgatto (AM/Parolin) and Chloe Chambers (Mike Doty/TonyKart) completed the top-five while MacKenzie Clark (PSL-Prime/BirelART) was sixth.
Davide Greco (PSL/BirelART) was the second Canadian to top a group in SuperPole as he led the way in Rotax DD2 Qualifying. Greco is the defending race winner from New Jersey and off to a good start in repeating. Peru’s Michael Greenfield (PSL/BirelART) was the second quickest followed by Australian Jac Preston (J3/CompKart) and American’s Max Hewitt (CRG Nordam/CRG) and Danny Formal (HR/TonyKart). Isaac Marritt (PSL/BirelART) will start seventh in the DD2 class while Alexandre Gauthier (BCR/BirelART) was tenth.
Rotax Senior Max pole position went to Englishman Bradley Barrett (Koene/TonyKart), who we expected would have been fine with either dry or rain. Canadian Samuel Lupien (RPG/Kosmic) was just 0.021 seconds slower than Barrett to wind up second while Mathias Ramirez (TonyKart) was third. Hannah Greenemeier (RPG/Kosmic), David Ilavia (J3/CompKart) and Josh Green (Mike Doty/Kosmic) rounded out the SuperPole qualifiers. A look at the Canadians saw Cole Hooton (PSL-Prime/BirelART) was ninth, Nicholas Hornbostel (REM/Kosmic) was fourteenth and Marc-Antoine Poirer (C-RAD/TonyKart) was nineteenth.
Diego LaRoque (Speed Concepts/Energy) blistered off his fastest lap in SuperPole to better his competitors by over three-tenths of a second. Brent Crews (Nitro Kart) was second, followed by Argentinian Felipe Bernasconi (AM/Parolin) Noah Baker (Speed Concepts/Kart Republic), Jack Jeffers (Orsolon/TonyKart) and James Egozi (Koene/TonyKart).
Like LaRoque, John Bonanno (J3/CompKart) was a rocket in Super Pole as he bettered the other Max Masters drivers by over half a second! Antonio Pizzonia (TonyKart), a former Jaguar and Williams Formula 1 driver, was second quickest just ahead of Billy Cleavelin (RPG/Kosmic), Chris McGinley (CompKart), Pedro Cabrera (CRG Nordam/CRG) and Adam Petitt (Solo Kart).
Finally, the DD2 Masters were separated from the Senior DD2’s for their own Super Pole session where Australian Scott Howard (PSL/BirelART) set the pace in his second trip to New Jersey. Last years winner Luis Schiavo (PSL/BirelART) was second fastest, with Derek Wang (PSL/BirelART), Henry Martin (CRG Nordam/CRG) and Andres Fonseca (PSL/BirelART) completing the top-five.
The day was completed with the first heat race run for each class. Saturday will run two more heat races to set the grids for the PreFinals, which will run on Saturday afternoon.