The 2013 Coupe du Québec season finally hit the track this past weekend as karters, teams and families all made their way east of Montreal to SH Karting. The facility was in tip-top shape, with lush grass wrapping around the tight and twisting 1KM track. A new format for this years Coupe saw officials toss out the qualifying session and replace it with two inverted grid heat races. With drivers selecting a number at registration, their grid position for heat one would be reverse for heat two, creating lots of action and passing through the entire field of each class. These two heats would be followed up by the usual Pre Final and Final races.
Two names quickly arose when the Mini-Max division hit the track at SH. Thierry Cote (PSL Karting/CRG) and Charles Deschenes (TonyKart) are both entering their sophomore season in the category and both look to be the early favourites to battle for the top of the podium all season long.
The two split the inverted heat races, while Deschenes took control of the Pre Final, setting himself on the pole position for the Final. After a couple waved off starts, the green flag finally flew and Deschenes took the early lead, while Cote fell to third. Recovering to second by the end of the first lap, Deschenes had already pulled a nice gap.
Chasing down the leader, Cote made his move to the lead on five and took control for only a couple laps before Deschenes returned to the top. Trading rubber and the lead, the race would go down to the wire with Cote back out front with three to go. Playing a little too defensive, Cote caught the eyes of the officials and even though he crossed the finish line in first, a one-position penalty for blocking would send the CRG driver to second and award the victory to Deschenes.
In the battle for third, Andres De Alba (Tecno Kart) would hold off Tommy Simard (TonyKart) to complete the podium while Samuel Lupien (KMS North America/Birel) completed the top-five.
This year, the Coupe du Quebec will only complete five rounds instead of the usual six, including the final race at historic Grand Mere Karting in July. CKN will have more about this in the near future.
Round two takes place on June 15 and 16 at SRA Karting.