Taking on the streets of Trois-Rivieres, Quebec, not far from the Canadian karting powerhouse headquarters, Team PSL Karting drivers would be put to the test during the famed Le Monaco de Trois-Rivieres. The spectacular venue played host to a double-header weekend, with the fifth round of the Coupe du Quebec on track Saturday followed by the 2012 Eastern Canadian Karting Championship (ECKC) series finale on Sunday. Nine pilots entered the event looking to add to PSL’s storied history at Canada’s most glamorous karting event, with several team members also vying for ECKC titles and corresponding Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals invitations.
Leading the way for Team PSL Karting was CRG Factory pilot Zachary Claman-DeMelo. In contention for a repeat ECKC Rotax Junior title, Claman-DeMelo’s red hot ways didn’t subside as the talent hit the 1.2km temporary circuit. Starting off his Monaco campaign taking the pole position for Saturday’s Coupe du Quebec action, Claman-DeMelo was unbeatable all day posting wins in both the prefinal and final. Sunday Claman-DeMelo would need to stay on top of his game, as the rising star carried a zero points haul from the third ECKC round. And Claman-DeMelo did just that. Sweeping the day yet again with the pole position, prefinal win and feature victory, Claman-DeMelo went on to take his second consecutive ECKC Rotax Junior title. With the title comes a place on Team Canada for the Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals (RMCGF) this November 26-December 1 at the Kartódromo Internacional do Algarve in Portimao, Portugal.
“DeMelo’s intentions were very clear, putting it on pole and never looking back,” explained PSL Karting Team Manager Andrew Campbell. “It is a true testament to the CRG product and our brand new PSL RS9-28 chassis, available to the public. This young man is going to do very well in Europe for the WSK in Zeura this weekend coming. Congratulations to the entire ZCD team.”
Another Team PSL Karting pilot would earn his invite to the RMCGF, as Pier-Luc Ouellette has now secured a chance to defend his Rotax DD2 World Championship title. Up against another two-time Rotax World Champion for the ECKC title, Ouellette would have to settle for vice-championship status. Starting off the weekend’s action with P1 in the Coupe du Quebec qualifying, Ouellette would post second place results in both the prefinal and final. Back on track for championship Sunday, Ouellette was relegated to third in ECKC qualifying. A close prefinal saw Ouellette just four tenths back from his championship rival at the finish of the race. The start of the feature saw Ouellette slip back to third on the start. As his rival was able to put space between the two, Ouellette found his way back to second but ran out of laps despite being the fastest kart on the track. Ouellette’s vice-championship honours would garner him the recipient of the RMCGF invite, as the championship winner had already secured an invitation thorough an international series.
“With Pier-Luc, we put forth our best effort for the Monaco weekend, and we came up just a little bit short,” continued Campbell. “There was no struggling or issues, just stiff competition – the way the sport should be.”
“Overall, we are content with the result, however, some major re-construction to our race program is already underway and we are looking forward to the Canadian Nationals and our 2013 season. PLO received his World Finals ticket where we hope he can be crowned World Champion for the third time.”
Two Team PSL Karting teammates were in the battle for the Rotax DD2 Masters ECKC championship title all season long. Coming down to the finale event, both Luc Sauriol and Marc-Andre Bourgeois were hungry to take the elusive Monaco win and championship. Sauriol showed his prowess during Saturday’s Coupe du Quebec event, as the 2006 Rotax Masters World Champion scored a second place podium result in the day’s final. Looking to keep up his momentum, Sauriol would need to get by Bourgeois on Sunday, who clocked the fastest lap to start the ECKC finale round with the pole position. Sauriol would post sixth quick and move up to fourth in the prefinal, while Bourgeois came in second. The final however would prove disastrous for both, with Bourgeois out of the action in lap two and Sauriol falling out of contention by lap ten. Their DNFs would put them second and third respectively in the final points tally and they will now need to turn to the Canadian Nationals or Pan American Challenge finale to try their hand at a RMCGF invite.
Coming off his Brazilian national title, 2012 Florida Winter Tour Mini Max champion Pedro Cardoso would be back in action with Team PSL Karting this past weekend. While not in contention for any titles, Cardoso would be looking to add strong finishes to PSL’s tally at the famed street race. Fighting from the back of the pack in Saturday’s Coupe du Quebec final, the young gun added a second place podium finish to his stellar results from 2012. Getting more accustomed to the temporary layout by Sunday, Cardoso clocked second in qualifying, and then went on to take the prefinal victory. A close final race saw Cardoso make a return trip to the second step of the podium to complete his weekend.
“Cardoso is an absolute natural talent, however this weekend we were definitely out-powered,” added PSL Karting Team Principal Dominic Labrecque. “Matthew Thomas struggled with adapting to the full size chassis, as well as a mechanical failure in the prefinal Sunday. Thierry Cote had an impressive drive Sunday being the fastest through sectors 2 and 3 – finishing with a strong third. Now we will look forward to putting Cote at the top step to defend the PSL Mini-Max Canadian National Champion title.”
“At the end of the day, our new race-management system is working very well – current and new pilots can look forward to a PSL powerhouse for 2013.”
With the ECKC season now completed, Team PSL Karting will turn their attention to both the Canadian and US Nationals. First up is the US Rotax Grand Nationals, set for August 7-11 at the Jet Karting of Michiana Raceway Park facility in South Bend, Indiana. The ASN Canada FIA Canadian National Championships will follow August 24-26 at the beautiful Le Circuit Mont Tremblant, in Mont Tremblant, Quebec. PSL Karting enters both events the defending champion in several categories, and will look to add to their impressive 2012 team results.
Team PSL Karting will be trackside in 2012 at the Pan American Rotax Max Challenge, Quebec Cup, United States Grand Nationals, ASN Canada FIA Canadian National Karting Championships and SKUSA SuperNationals. Team PSL Karting is associated with CRG, Maxter Kart Engines, Rotax, Tillett Racing Seats, Sniper, Unipro, Douglas Wheels, Vega, MG Tires, Arai, Bell, ULV, Mir, Freem, Elf Fuels, Alfano, MaxJet Software, D.I.D. Racing Chains, KC and Power Mist.
To learn more about the World’s #1 CRG distributor, sales & service, arrive & drive opportunities, PSL racing engines or dealer opportunities, please visit www.pslkarting.com or www.pslkartingusa.com.