The 2013 Florida Winter Tour was back on track at Palm Beach International Raceway for race #2 of the FWT Rotax Max Challenge. After Mother Nature rolled through heavy rain and winds for Saturdays racing, Sunday featured sunshine and hot action on and off the track.
After earning the pole-position in Friday’s dry qualifying session, Oliver Askew (TonyKart) was very happy to see the sunshine return on Sunday as he led the Rotax Senior field to the green in the pre final.
Askew was able to break away early with Ocala Gran Prix teammate Sam Beasley (TonyKart), but the two were tracked down by Sam Schippers (OK1) and Luke Varley (Birel), and eventually Saturday winner Charlie Eastwood (TonyKart) also joined the lead pack. A move by Varley to third, allowed the hard charging Eastwood to pass both of them. But Eastwood would slow in the closing stages of the pre final, allowing both Schippers and Varley back by, and then lost one more spot on the final lap to Daniel Formal (TonyKart). But up front, Askew took the win and pole position for the Final. Schippers moved into second, moving Beasley to third, while Varley, Formal and Eastwood rounded the top six.
Askew controlled the start of the final, and exited the first corner with the lead, while Formal and Nicholas Morales (Kosmic) advanced to second and third. Eastwood moved to fourth on the start as the defending Rotax Grand Finals Champion sought his second victory of the weekend. Moving past Morales on lap four, Eastwood brought Nick Neri (TonyKart) with him, as they now had the leaders in their sights. Formal made his move to the lead on lap six, and just like that the lead group grew from two to five.
Eastwood worked into second on lap eight, and to the lead on lap ten, but Neri then took his turn at the top a lap later, sending Eastwood back to third. Making another charge to the lead, Eastwood disposed on Askew on lap fourteen, then back to the lead on sixteen. Defending the lead through the final two laps, Formal tried everything to retake the lead, but would be denied by Eastwood as the Irishman scored the victory. A great move in the final corner vaulted Morales onto the podium after entering the corner in fifth, while Neri and Varley completed the top-five as the top-four crossed in less than two-tenths of a second.
The double victory see’s Eastwood leave West Palm Beach with the championship lead, as the series now shifts to Homestead-Miami for races 3 & 4.