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.
The Briggs & Stratton division in the Quebec region is the fastest growing class currently and with 25 karts on the grid at SH, the four-stroke class was nearly one-third of the events total entries. From young guns to season’s veterans to masters and even a Rotax Senior Canadian National Champion, the class had it all and the action on track was ferocious.
The inverted grid created plenty of excitement in the heats which saw Maxime Couturier (Zanardi) hold off Jessica Plante (TonyKart) in heat one, before Tommy Lemaire-Ouellet (Zanardi) took control in heat two ahead of Couturier.
In the Pre Final it would be a five-horse race as Lemaire, Plante and Courturier would have the company of JF Lafontaine (Birel) and Mathieu Demers (CRG). Lafontaine would get out front early and never look back, while Demers and Plante would do all they could to hang with the leaders. Notably, Steven Szigeti (Zanardi) would drive from last on the grid to tenth after trouble in both of his heat races.
Lafontaine would control the start of the Final as the massive field roared into the first corner. Quickly a three-kart break away would form with Lafontaine leading Lemaire and Couturier. Demers slid into fourth while Szigeti was on his way forward continuing his charge from the Pre Final.
But up front, the leaders continued to break away waiting until the final lap to settle it. A valid effort from Lemaire would see him try a pass into turn one, but Lafontaine would counter before turn two and hold course for the remainder of the lap en route to victory. Szigeti prayed for a battle up front so he could join in the fun, but would settle for fourth while Demers would complete the top-five.
This year, the Coupe du Québec 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.