The 2013 Florida Winter Tour Rotax Max Challenge saw it’s first race day finally hit the track today at Palm Beach International Raceway. With a mixture of weather in the forecast, drivers and mechanics were kept on their toes, doing their best to ensure they had the correct setup for the tricky conditions. The morning warm ups, Last Chance races and first few pre finals were all on a dry track, but just as the Rotax Junior division hit the track, the skies opened up and the rain came pouring down.
Ben Cooper (Birel) took the early lead in the Rotax DD2 pre final ahead of Switzerland’s Kevin Ludi (Birel). The pair pulled away from the rest of the field finishing almost 20 seconds ahead of the next driver in class. Marco Di Leo (Praga) finished third in the Pre-final after starting the race in last place. Pearce Herder (LH Kart) put his Karts & Parts prepared machine in fourth by the end of the race. However Di Leo and Herder both moved up a position because of the two position penalty given to Ludi for a rear-bumper issue. Belgium’s Xen De Ruwe (Formula K) finished in fifth as he struggled to keep up to Cooper and Ludi’s pace.
In the Final Cooper got the Holeshot taking the lead with Herder and De Ruwe following behind. Herder would spin out of second in the back section of the track on the opening lap putting him in the back of the field. Ludi and Dileo were able to get by De Ruwe for second and third. The front four drivers would spread out as the laps wound down, with Cooper continuing to pull away. De Ruwe who finished fourth was given a two position penalty sending him to sixth place allowing Fred Woodley (Maranello) and Herder to claim the fourth and fifth positions.
With the victory, all three 2012 Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals champions that are competing at the FWT stood atop the podium in their respective classes.