The Florida Winter Tour International Rotax Max Challenge is now complete and after another strong showing from Goodwood Kartways – IPK North America, the team now has its first qualified driver for the 2013 Grand Finals. After scoring his fourth and fifth podiums from six starts Marco Di Leo finished second in the championship and will now race in New Orleans, an event where Praga is an Official Partner and supplier for the Rotax DD2 Masters category.
“I’m really happy to earn a ticket to the Grand Finals this year,” Di Leo said following the finale. “It was my first full championship in DD2, and to finish runner-up and earn a Grand Finals ticket is quite satisfying. FWT brought some top drivers from karts and cars, and it was great to battle it out with the boys and learn about the DD2 chassis in the process. It’s extra special to be going to NOLA for the 2013 Grand Finals this year as it is somewhat home turf. I look forward to continuing the Canadian success in the DD2 category.”
The next Grand Final will be the sixth for Di Leo, also the Goodwood Kartways – IPK North America Team Manager, as he has also competed in the Canary Islands, Malaysia, Egypt, Dubai and Portugal. At the final round in Florida a second-place finish on Saturday brought him exactly tied for the second qualifying ticket with European star Xen De Ruwe and the pair then had a head-to-head showdown on Sunday with the Grand Finals spot up as a reward.
“Finishing second on Saturday was a good result for the championship,” Di Leo continued. “The Praga Dragon was great in the final and allowed me to lead a few laps, but it was difficult to race with the short gear ratio I had. Then on Sunday things were quite different as Cooper sat out and it was mano-e-mano with me and Xen for a Worlds’ ticket. Despite winning the prefinal and then starting from pole, I was a bit nervous after a sudden downfall of rain and having to lead the field out but it was incredibly satisfying, to say the least, to keep Xen behind me and score another podium and the trip to New Orleans.”
A number of other Goodwood Kartways – IPK North America team and affiliated drivers had satisfying results in Ocala as well, notably two of its youngsters. Xavier Harris was an arrive-and-drive racer two years ago, last year he stepped up to club and regional racing in Eastern Canada, and in just his fifth start in Florida he put his OK1 kart on pole position! With multiple opportunities to qualify when he returns home, Harris could definitely be joining his team manager at the 2013 Grand Finals. The same could be said of his teammate Jeremy Tallon. Among the youngest competitors in Florida this year, Tallon was over five seconds from pole in his debut weekend, yet by his final start at Ocala he was just 1.1 seconds off and continuing to improve. Tallon has multiple years of Micro-Max remaining, but may just snag a Grand Finals trip early with three being awarded from his home Eastern Canadian Karting Championship.
Alessandro Manetti was the lone team driver to score a win at Ocala, topping the DD2 Masters field on Saturday. Manetti then started on pole Sunday before having to retire, a race where Elvis Stojko scored his season-best result finishing fourth with Praga Racing Ontario. In championship terms, Di Leo was second in earning his Grand Final ticket, Juan Manuel Correa with fifth in Rotax Junior with Praga USA, and Manetti was also fifth in DD2 Masters from his four-race exhibition. Full team results from Ocala can be seen below.
Goodwood Kartways – IPK North America and its Canadian dealer network now set their focus on the upcoming summer season, with the Eastern Canadian Karting Championship being their primary schedule.
“The IPK crew is really looking forward to the ECKC schedule and kicking off with another strong start at Mosport,” Di Leo concluded. “We’re looking forward to seeing Praga Racing Ontario make its debut to the ECKC and hope we can continue to achieve strong results. The 2013 IPK product is now available and faster than ever so we are anxious to hit the pavement with familiar faces back home in Ontario.”
The Eastern Canadian Karting Championship begins May 31 at Mosport International Karting. For more information, please visit eckc.ca. For more information on the IPK product line including OK1 and Praga, or the Goodwood Kartways – IPK North America team, please contact email@example.com
Goodwood Kartways – IPK North America Driver Results
Florida Winter Tour Round 3, Ocala Gran Prix
Xavier Harris – 24th, 12th
Jeremy Tallon – 28th, 31st
Juan Manuel Correa – 8th, 11th
Austin Riley – 20th, 27th
Wilson Hurtado – 17th, 32nd
Juan Diego Maldonado – 24th, 24th
Bruno Sorgiovanni – 37th, 38th
Marco Di Leo – 2nd, 3rd
Alessandro Manetti – 1st, 5th
Elvis Stojko – 7th, 4th
*Team Facts: IPK North America is based at Goodwood Kartways in Stouffville, Ontario, Canada, where drivers can progress from turning rental kart laps to world championships. The IPK North America race team represents the facility at National and International Championships like the Florida Winter Tour, Pan-American Rotax Max Challenge, Eastern Canadian Karting Championship and Canadian National Championships.
It has also had drivers contest SKUSA SuperNationals, the World Karting Association Manufacturer’s Cup, the Rotax European Championship, the Rotax International Open Championship and the Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals. IPK North America operates in conjunction with IPK in Verona, HRS Racing Engines, IMAF Racing Seats and Intremax.