Heading to the ASN Canada FIA Canadian Karting Championships this past weekend, Team PSL Karting would look to continue their streak of strong performances and championship runs. After earning the DD2 Masters US title with Alan Rudolph just a few weeks ago, as well as adding two more pilots to the list of drivers attending the Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals (RMCGF), PSL Karting hoped to do the same at this year’s Canadian Nationals. Despite their strong team, Team PSL Karting would leave the beautiful Le Circuit Mont-Tremblant facility without any Rotax Championships, but Scott Campbell claimed Vice-Championship honours and Luc Sauriol’s third place finish in the DD2 Masters class earned him a place on Team Canada. Two PSL branded drivers managed to excel in the Briggs & Stratton categories, leaving the karting powerhouse with something to celebrate after a tough and enduring event.
2010 Rotax DD2 Masters World Champion and CRG West pilot Scott Campbell would enter the Nationals with his Team Canada berth in tact due to his Western Canadian Championships title. Looking to repeat his effort at the Canadian Nationals, Campbell would clock only seventh quick in qualifying, leaving room for improvement in the three heats. Moving up with fourth, second and fourth place finishes in the heat races, Campbell’s results earned him a fifth place starting spot for the all important prefinal. Maintaining his position for the start of the final, Campbell turned up the wick to put his CRG second at the stripe to take Vice-Championship honours.
“Scott Campbell and his father are veterans at this sport,” explained Andrew Campbell, PSL Karting Team Manager. “We were very happy to have them with us this weekend. After some tough heats, his second place finish was well earned.”
After missing out on the Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals berth with his third place finish in the Eastern Canadian Karting Championship Rotax DD2 Masters points, 2006 Rotax Masters World Champion Luc Sauriol would look to use the Nationals to secure his place on Team Canada. Starting off sixth quick in qualifying, Sauriol would advance through the heats with two fifths and a fourth. Another fourth place finish in the prefinal set Sauriol up for a chance at the RMCGF invite. After finishing fourth in the final, a disqualification on the third place finisher moved Sauriol to the final step of the Rotax DD2 Masters podium. And, with the winner and Campbell already qualified via regional series, Sauriol was awarded the RMCGF ticket and will compete for Team Canada in Portugal later this year.
PSL Moncton’s Gerald Caseley was able to take top honours in the Briggs & Stratton Senior division after a wild final race saw him come out on top. A fourth place start to his 2012 Nationals campaign saw Caseley with a solid starting position for the three heat races. Posting fourth, first and a disappointing 17th in the heats, Caseley then finished third in the prefinal to set up his championship run. Slotting into second at the start of the 16-lap feature, Caseley held with a train of four karts, as they worked to keep up their momentum and build a gap on the rest of the large field. With six laps to go, karts began to make their bids for the lead. Keeping up with the leaders, Caseley was able to capitalize on a last lap pass by the kart in front of him, drafting past the two lead karts on the back straight. Holding point during the remaining corners, Caseley went on to take the victory and earn the title of 2012 Canadian National Briggs & Stratton Senior champion.
“Gerald Casely – did not surprise me that he won,” added Dominic Labrecque, Team Principal. “Very composed and well thought out moves. The team is doing an excellent job at recruiting new drivers out east. We hope the Briggs classes can be even bigger for 2013!”
In Briggs & Stratton Junior, another PSL branded driver was at the top of the sheets during the entire event. PSL Atlantic’s Sarah McKay started off with a fifth place result in qualifying, before turning the wick up for the wheel-to-wheel action of the three heat races. Posting second, first and third, McKay then went on to secure pole for the main event by taking the prefinal victory. Holding onto her position at the start of the final, McKay went on to lead every lap until a pass on the outside through turn 15 by her main rival relegated her to second. Missing the win by just 0.115 seconds, McKay was honoured as the Vice-Champion in the Briggs & Stratton Junior class.
As the defending Canadian National Champion in the Rotax DD2 class, two-time Rotax World Champion Pier-Luc Ouellette would be the man to beat in a staggering 25 kart strong field. Starting off his quest for a repeat championship, Ouellette clocked third in qualifying on Friday and then another third place result in the first heat. From there things went downhill for the Terrebonne, Quebec resident. After crossing the stripe first in heat two, a disqualification due to a tire mix up removed Ouellette from the results. A wild start in heat three collected Ouellette, resulting in a 15th place finish and a 15th place starting position for the prefinal. Ouellette’s starting position would become inconsequential however, as the karting phenom would be out of the race on the opening lap. Always persevering, Ouellette charged from his 25th place starting position to finish an impressive fourth, just missing the DD2 podium.
“We did quite a bit of R&D for this race with PLO…however I feel like there was a black cloud over us the entire week,” continued Campbell. “Sunday was another story – PLO charged hard to the front, making not one driving error along the way. We continued to put down fast laps; if we had of been on the front row in the final, the results would tell a different story.”
Rotax Junior competitor and CRG Factory driver Zachary Claman-DeMelo would also endure an up and down weekend. After emerging as the driver to beat with the pole position, and all three heat race wins and fast laps to his credit, Claman-DeMelo’s Nationals run literally came crashing down on Sunday. A significant crash during the morning warm-up ended his weekend early, as chassis damage sidelined the hot shoe for the rest of the day.
“DeMelo needed only five more minutes to make the prefinal, however the Rotax/ASN sporting regulations would not allow him to compete in the final if participation in the prefinal was null,” explained Labrecque. “Without a doubt, a victory was within reach for him and the ZCD team despite the accident.”
Other Team PSL Karting drivers were able to come home with top-ten results, as Hugo Ouellette placed ninth in the Rotax DD2 final while Marc-Andre Bourgeois claimed seventh in Rotax DD2 Masters with Enrico Bolduc tenth. Rotax Mini Max competitor Thierry Cote ran in the top ten all weekend and finished the final seventh.
“We were so close to a win with Thierry, for sure there were some small driving errors, however compared to the other driver’s experience, he really performed quite well considering the circumstances. Very proud of Thierry last week,” concluded Campbell.
“Overall, Nationals was a tough week – ups and downs – but as always, the feedback and data we receive will be used for next season’s development,” finished Labrecque. “Now, we look forward to the Pan Americans in hopes of claiming more seats for the World Finals in Portugal!”
Team PSL Karting will now turn their attention to the final round of the Coupe du Quebec series, set for September 8-9 at Karting Grand Mere. Following that, Team PSL Karting will head to Englewood, Colorado September 20-23 for the Rotax Pan American Challenge.
Team PSL Karting will be trackside in 2012 at the Pan American Rotax Max Challenge, Quebec Cup 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.
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