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.
Starting from pole for the pre final, Kevin Ludi (Birel) got the holeshot into corner one as Darren White (TonyKart) got by Ben Cooper (Birel) for second. Cooper took second place back from White as a flat tire would eventually take him out of the race. This put Fred Woodley (Marenello) in third position as he battled hard with Xen De Ruwe (Formula K). At the half way point De Ruwe tried to make the move on Woodley but he would make contact with the Canadian driver resulting in Woodley spinning and De Ruwe pulling off the track to admit the mistake was his. This brought IndyCar driver James Hinchcliffe (TonyKart) to third place with Marco Di Leo (Praga) who started last slotting in the fourth spot. With four laps remaining Di Leo passed Hinchcliffe for third as he would drive away closer to the end of the race. Up front however Ben Cooper made it by Kevin Ludi to take the win of the pre final. DiLeo finished third ahead of Hinchcliffe and Woodley who battled back from the spin earlier in the race.
When the lights went out to start the Sunday Final, Cooper took the lead coming out of the first corner of the race but it would be Di leo getting a run on Cooper to take the lead in one. But that was short lived as Cooper retook the lead on the final corner with Ludi following him through. Ludi then took the lead from Cooper in the back section of the track as Di Leo and Hinchcliffe kept in touch behind the front to. Hinchcliffe would then make a move in the last corner on Di Leo to take third as Xen De Ruwe who started in the back caught up to the back of Di Leo. Two Laps later De Ruwe would get past Di Leo for fourth and put the pressure on Hinchcliffe. As Hinchcliffe and De Ruwe started to battle for third Di Leo waited patiently, then got by the two drivers for third. Meanwhile with the laps winding down, Cooper once again took over the lead from his teamate Ludi. With the white flag waving Cooper made his kart as wide as possible throughout the final circuit. Coming towards the final corner Cooper defended the inside while Ludi took the normal wide entry and was able to beat Cooper in a drag race to the finish line. Di Leo finished third with De Ruwe and Hinchcliffe completing the top five.
Exiting the opening weekend, Cooper and Ludi share the Championship points lead as the series now shifts to Homestead-Miami Speedway for races 3&4, with the hopes of more entries joining the DD2 class.