March Sunday’s in Ocala have become a special time for those involved in the karting industry. For the past few seasons, the Florida Winter Tour closes it’s two championship weekends at the Ocala Gran Prix location, with great racing, prizes, awards and excitement, and this year once again has delivered. For the Formula Kart classes, their Championships came to a close today but for some classes it went right down to the wire.
Juan Manuel Correa (Praga) took Pole in TaG Junior as the top three in the class were separated by less than a tenth of a second. Jack Weprin (FA Kart) and Pedro Cardoso (CRG) would qualify in second and third respectively ahead of Christian Munoz (TonyKart) and Javier Gonzalez (TonyKart).
The top three drivers in qualifying would have a battle of there own in heat one as Cardoso would take the lead ahead of Correa and Weprin. However Cardoso would be able to gap Correa and Weprin and the two American drivers started to battle behind the Brazilian. Weprin and Correa would start working together just past the half way point to try and catch the PSL entry of Cardoso in the lead. With four laps to go Cardoso evened out the gap to the duo behind him as Correa and Weprin would start battling once again allowing Ignacio Salvucci (AM Kart), Munoz and Gianfranco Mazzaferro (TonyKart) to catch and make it a five kart battle for second on the final lap. At the checkers it as Cardoso taking the win ahead of Correa, Salvucci, Weprin, and Munoz.
Antoni Ptak (Birel) and Gavin Reichelt (TonyKart) took the early advantage in TaG Junior with the benefit of the inverted grid for heat two. During the start Weprin and Gonzalez would make contact putting both drivers at disadvantage right at the beginning of the race. Ptak would hold on for the race win ahead of Canadian Gianfranco Mazzaferro, as Correa battled from last to take the third position.
Correa would take the lead in the final as Salvucci and Ptak would get by Mazzaferro on the start. Ptak then took the second position away from Salvucci but contact would send Salvucci to seventh position only a couple corners later. On lap four Ptak passed Correa for the lead as the top eight drivers in the field would all be in contention for the win. Weprin would then get by Mazzaferro for third and the young Canadian driver would then fall down to fifth. Correa and Weprin would then start to swap spots allowing Ptak to drive away from the second place battle. As Weprin and Correa continued to battle it allowed the ultra fast Brazilian Cardoso to catch up to both drivers and take the second position on lap ten of the final.
Past the halfway point of the race Weprin went back by Cardoso for the second position as Cardoso decides to slot in to third and try and catch up to Ptak in the lead. At this point in the race Ptak had nearly a full second lead over Weprin with the FA kart driver putting in times a tenth of a second quicker than the leader. In the end however Weprin and Cardoso couldn’t to catch up to Ptak giving the Polish driver his first win at FWT. Correa who led early could only be good enough for fourth on the day as Mazzaferro would cross the line in fifth position.
With a very impressive six races, Weprin takes the championship, while Correa and Cardosa finished second and third overall.