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.
Polesitter Jack Weprin (FA Kart) took the early lead in the pre final, with Jaun Manuel Correa (Praga) and Kyle Kirkwood slotting in behind as plenty of action erupted behind. Canadian’s Devlin Defrancesco (CRG) and Jeff Kingsley (Birel) both managed to avoid the melee and would hold positions four and five as the first lap was complete. Correa made his move to the lead on lap four, just as Kingsley made his move past Defrancesco and the rain began to fall. The downpour was enough for officials to stop the race as karts were scattering everywhere.
After a quick switch over to rain tires, the pre final resumed, led by Weprin. Up front, the action was uneventful as Weprin held off a charging Gavin Reichelt (TonyKart), while Correa and Defrancesco settled into third and fourth. At the finish the front four went unchanged, with Austin Garrison (TonyKart) finishing fifth.
With the rain continuing to pour down as the Juniors took the track for their Final, it was once again going to be a trick race. Correa was able to grab the lead exiting the first corner, with a full field of 34 barrelling down the long front straight behind him.
Correa held the point for the first few laps with Antoni Ptak (Birel) filing into second., Pressure from Weprin, would see him fall to second and have his hands full of Ashley Rogero (TonyKart) and Defrancesco. From here, Weprin checked out, posting multiple quick laps to build a large lead. Correa and Rogero pulled away from Defrancesco, but no positions were traded. A late race charge by Enzo Bortoleto (CRG) saw him come within striking distance of Defrancesco, but ran out of time as the checkered flag flew.
Following the race, Correa was accessed a 10-second penalty, moving Defrancesco to the third step of the podium.