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.
A tough start to the pre final for pole sitter Harry Coulton (Birel), would result in him being sidelined on the exit of the corner one. Out front, Emiliano Richards took control of the race lead and drove to the finish line with a decent gap to rest of the field. Tyler Gonzalez was able to make a clean start to move up to second followed by Jordan Heffner, and Japan’s Toranosuke Hamada. Eventually the two of karts that were behind Gonzalez overtook him and drove away. Leonardo Rinaldo caught up to Hamada and got by him for third. Giovanni Bromante (Tony Kart) came from the LCQ to finish fifth in the Pre final.
The wet weather brought out some of the best and the worst of the Micro-Max drivers for the Saturday Final. With the raining coming down at a steady pace, it was very common to see multiple karts spinning out in the first corner chicane, including Matthew Latifi who spun while running second on lap two. After leading early, Richards would also fall victim to the slick first corner, but was able to manage the spin and stick with the lead group that at times was ten karts deep.
Trading the lead throughout the final, Jack Doohan (TonyKart) and Richards each took turns leading the large pack of hungry Micro-Max’s. A late drive by Coulton saw him return to the lead party, but would just run out of time as Doohan held on for victory displaying a amount of kart control. Dylan Tavella (TonyKart) would move into second on the final lap after starting last, while Coulton completed the podium. Ricardo Villasmil and Guilherme Romano finished fourth and fifth after following the leaders for most of the race.