With the Eastern Canadian Karting Championship rolling through Goodwood Kartways recently in kicking off its 2012 campaign, there was a lot of talk of track records being threatened, beaten and lowered once again. A freshly paved layout made this a distinct possibility, and when paired with perfect weather and lots of rubber going down, teams and drivers had a dream combination as they arrived trackside Saturday morning. But what were the records? And when were they set? More importantly, was a new mark established for all future stars to target.
Certainly in terms of Rotax Max racing, the 2009 Canadian National Karting Championships at Goodwood Kartways established the best time in each class. It was the first time in the modern era the famed event visited the track, and with over two full days of practice laying rubber on the route, each and every class had a new track record in Friday qualifying. Track Manager Daniel Di Leo remembers the event well, and notes it was a similar situation to the weekend recently past.
“The high level of the Nationals certainly brought out the best in everyone,” Di Leo said over the weekend from trackside. “That combined with some great weather, and I wondered if those times would ever be beat. Now with the Eastern Canadian Karting Championship, it is almost as if we have Nationals here every year. The series continues to get more and more competitive, but the setback at Goodwood has always been the weather. This season there were perfect conditions though, and the changes to the track created a perfect recipe for speed!”
Speed indeed. And here’s how the story goes from the top down:
The outright track record at Goodwood Kartways was set by the king of karts – an ICC shifter. At the opening round of the 2007 Sunoco Ron Fellows Karting Championship, Michael Vincec was reaching the height of his powers as a CMI/CRG driver. He was the reigning Series’ Champion, National Champion, and Stars of Karting Rookie-of-the-Year. It was the beginning of a season where he would capture SRFKC titles in Formula Senior, Rotax Senior and DD2. One year later he was the Stars of Karting Eastern Champion, Western Champion, National Champion and ekartingnews.com Driver-of-the-Year. It was clearly his time, and his pole time that weekend at Goodwood was a previously unheard of 35.646 seconds! It was a time that noone got a whiff of at the 2009 Nationals, where the next chapter of the track record book was written.
Intrepid driver Gabriel Amaral set the Micro-Max record that weekend in qualifying with a lap time of 42.589 seconds. It stood for nearly two years, or until the ECKC rolled into the paddock in May of last season. No snow in the forecast this time around for the country’s top talent, and in the prefinal of the Sunday round, Joe Soranno put down a 42.355 second lap to re-establish the track best for Micro. His record stood nowhere near as long, as later that same afternoon, Pserra/Tecno pilot Antonio Serravalle went just fractionally lower with a 42.349! That mark made it one time around the calendar before version three of the ECKC saw it beaten and battered on the new asphalt. In Saturday qualifying this year, PSL/CRG driver Matthew Latifi set the new mark at 41.604 seconds. He brought it down again in the final with a 41.560, and even further in the Sunday final with a 41.252 second lap that now stands as the Micro-Max track record.
The Mini-Max track record at Nationals was set by the driver that went on to claim the National crown in 2009, PSL/CRG’s Samuel Fontaine. His 38.223 from qualifying wasn’t touched all the way through to the ECKC visit this season, and only one driver was able to better it on Saturday: PSL/CRG driver Gianfranco Mazzaferro, with a 37.974. Alex Murphy then lowered it on lap two of the Sunday qualifying session, before Mazzaferro set the new ultimate lap in Mini-Max with a 37.746 second pole time.
Rotax Junior had a similar situation, as the 37.536 lap that put SH/TonyKart driver Steven Szigeti on pole three years ago stood all the way to the opening round of the ECKC this year. Much different in the situation to Mini-Max was that in Rotax Junior, the top seventeen drivers in this year’s field bettered the old mark! Best of all was SH/TonyKart driver Parker Thompson’s 36.969, but one day later six drivers bettered Thompson’s time, led by the Max Karting/Birel of Olivier Bedard at 36.723 seconds. He put it down on his fifth lap of qualifying, and it’s the mark that now stands as the fastest Junior lap at Goodwood.
Rotax Senior has also seen the mark lowered multiple times, as the name at the top of the list changed in 2011 and 2012. Jean-Francois Lafontaine set the low mark at Nationals when his SRA/Arrow took pole with a time of 37.482 seconds, but at the 2011 Eastern Canadian Championship visit Marco Di Leo got within a tenth of it during the Saturday qualifying and prefinal sessions before bettering it on Sunday. Di Leo scored pole with a 37.254 second lap on his way to sweeping the day. That mark stood one season, as at this year’s event the top eight in Saturday qualifying went lower, led by the Prime/Maranello of Luke Chudleigh at 36.800 seconds. The Sunday qualifying session then had four karts better the reigning record with Jesse Lazare fourth, Di Leo third, Szigeti with a 36.599 on his fifth lap and Chudleigh with a 36.515 on his eighth lap of the session – the mark that now stands as the fastest ever in Rotax Senior.
The lap from Nationals in DD2 Masters was set by Mosport/CRG driver Mark Woyslaw at 36.795 seconds. Like many that came before, it, too, stood all the way to this year’s visit by the ECKC. First it was lowered by Prime/Maranello driver Stuart Clark on his way to Saturday pole with a 36.325, then it went down again on Sunday when Marc-Andre Bourgeois posted a pole time of 35.967 seconds – the warning shots had been fired, and the outright lap was under attack.
A number of factors put the ultimate Goodwood lap under threat: the aforementioned weather and asphalt, the fact DD2 owned the final slot in the rotation, and the fact two karts are manned by reigning Rotax Max Challenge World Champions. But lest we get ahead of ourselves, the best lap heading into the weekend for DD2 was owned by Daniel Morad, a former Rotax World Champion himself. Racing for Goodwood/Intrepid in 2009, Morad earned pole position with a time of 36.129 seconds. It was an incredible lap to be sure, and one that stood all the way to qualifying this year when reigning Senior World Champion Ben Cooper posted pole with a lap of 35.725 seconds on Saturday. His SRA Karting/Birel was one of eight karts to better the previous low mark, yet as was the weekend trend, the record lasted exactly one day. On Sunday, six karts bettered the Saturday pole time, and five of them even went under the previous best for an outright lap.
In the end it came down to the final lap of the session, as Cooper put down a 35.492 second lap, only to have Pier-Luc Ouellette go lower with a 35.406 in taking the final pole position of the weekend. It’s a mark that could stand for some time, as the opportunity for top flight talent to take to any grid in an ICC Shifter becomes exceedingly rare in Canada, and especially so at Goodwood Kartways. So for now the record book gets a rest, yet the ECKC field will be back in less than a year to take aim once again.
Outright Best Lap
May 27, 2012, ECKC Qualifying, Race 2.
35.406 seconds – Pier-Luc Ouellette
Rotax DD2, PSL Karting / CRG / PSL Power
Rotax Track Records
|35.406||DD2||Pier-Luc Ouellette||PSL Karting / CRG / PSL Power|
|35.967||DD2 Masters||Marc-Andre Bourgeois||PSL Karting / CRG / PSL Power|
|36.515||Senior||Luke Chudleigh||Prime / Maranello / Prime Power|
|36.723||Junior||Olivier Bedard||Max Karting / Birel / SRA Engines|
|37.746||Mini-Max||Gianfranco Mazzaferro||PSL Karting / CRG / AV Racing Engines|
|41.252||Micro-Max||Matthew Latifi||PSL Karting / CRG / AV Racing Engines|
Other News and Notes from the CKN Research vault:
The 35.646 second lap by Vincec will stand in history as the fastest lap on the original Goodwood Kartways racing surface. On the SRFKC weekend when the lap was set in 2007, there were nine classes in action, with 33 karts in Rotax Junior. Indy Lights driver David Ostella swept the class that day, and the only member of that field to compete in ECKC opening weekend this year was REM/Birel driver Kevin Monteith.
The Rotax Senior field that day had 41 karts, and seven drivers from that field were active in ECKC opening weekend: Ryan Horses and Paul Carvalho, now each in DD2 Masters; Stefan Yasin, Corey Walsh, Rich Hibbs and Zach Boam, who now race DD2; and the man who won both on that day in 2007 and on opening day 2012: Marco Di Leo. Perhaps the more things change, the more they stay the same.