While many Canadians utilized this past weekends event at Mosport to prepare for the opening round of the 2013 Eastern Canadian Karting Championship, three Canadian’s travelled to Castelletto, Italy for the second round of the 2013 Rotax Euro Challenge. Recording record entries for a second event in the series, 169 drivers filled the grids of only three classes. A challenging track and wet and dry conditions made the event even more exciting, but for the trio of Canadians on track none scored the results they were hoping for.
It was a challenging weekend for Canadians as even our defending Grand Finals champion Ben Cooper struggled to keep up with the ultimate leaders. Racing with his KMS Racing operation, Cooper steered his Birel chassis a twelfth place ranking in Rotax DD2 qualifying. The man that now calls Mont-Tremblant, Quebec home would win his first heat race before falling to seventh in heat two. But it was a the decisive third heat that hurt him as a technical disqualification in heat three would take away the hard earned heat win and move him well down the rankings entering the Pre Final. Making up ten positions, Cooper would look to have a shot at the podium, starting the Final from eleventh on the grid. Moving up to seventh early on, Cooper wasn’t able to move any further forward as the lap times would even out across the leaders.
Making his European racing debut, Gianfranco Mazzaferro entered the highly competitive Rotax Junior class in Italy. Teaming up with Team TKP on a FA Kart chassis, Mazzaferro entered the event seeking a new atmosphere and a new challenge. Qualifying in 34th, the young Canadian from Montreal, Quebec found himself right in the middle of a class that saw nearly 50 karts within a second of a pole-position. Working on his race craft Mazzaferro would find the heat races very challenging en route to finishing 15th, 18th and 23rd (DNF) forcing him to the Last Chance Race. Before he could even settle in and start picking off karts, Mazzaferro would find his race over with an opening lap incident ending his weekend on the spot. A tough but learning weekend for the rookie Junior driver.
The Final Canadian hitting the track in Italy was Zachary Claman De Melo. Returning to his Rotax roots after competing in KF competition with the CRG factory team, De Melo would enter the Rotax Senior category. After being very quick in the practices, De Melo would qualify 33rd with 67 karts posting a time within a second of the pole-sitter, insanely close competition. Trouble would find the Montreal native in the heat races as he would record results of 19th, 22nd, 24th and 24th and just squeeze into the Last Chance Race where De Melo would come up short of a transfer spot finishing 22nd.
All three Canadian pilots now head home and will be on track at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park, formerly Mosport, for this weekends Eastern Canadian Karting Championship. Utilizing the knowledge learned in Italy, all three should find themselves up front and competing for the win all weekend long.