As one of Quebec’s powerhouse karting operations, SH Karting, along with their counterparts, SH Ontario, flexed their muscles again this past weekend at Rounds #4 & 5 of the Eastern Canadian Karting Championship (ECKC). Held at the ultra-fast and technical, 1.5km Mosport International Karting circuit on the grounds of the famed Mosport International Raceway, Steven Szigeti scored another victory to add to his 2012 karting results while Jesse Lazare, Parker Thompson and SH Ontario’s Austin Milwain and Cameron Morrison added top five results in their respective classes.
Heading into the weekend as the Rotax Senior points leader and one of the favourites to take home the championship and Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals invitation for Team Canada, Tony Kart pilot Steven Szigeti would once again be one of the drivers to beat. Taking to the track for Saturday’s qualifying session, the hot shoe would claim the third fastest lap of the session and start his chase for another victory inside row two.
Not one to run behind his fellow competitors, Szigeti was true to form in the Rotax Senior prefinal as he quickly disposed of the front row starters and went on to claim the win. Awarded with the pole position and preferred inside starting spot for the main event, the 2011 Canadian National Champion made no mistake and turned his pole position into another race win. Extending his points lead at the day’s end, Szigeti was now firmly in control of championship chase.
Sunday would be challenging day for the current point leader. An excellent qualifying effort that landed him the pole position for the prefinal turned disastrous when wheel-to-wheel action commenced as Szigeti would be forced to retire from the event due to contact on lap three. Classified in the 22nd position, Szigeti would need to come from near the tail of the grid to salvage any points on the day.
Like any driver who is hungry for a championship, being aggressive pays off when starting amongst slower competitors. Making up multiple positions on the opening lap, Szigeti settled into a rhythm that saw him pick up positions one by one. Driving like a seasoned veteran, the Quebec resident drove forward to an impressive fifth place finish. Falling to second in the points before his one drop, Szigeti will need to put it all on the line at the championship finale event, Le Monaco de Trois-Riviers, at the end of July.
Szigeti’s SH Karting teammate Jesse Lazare’s roles were reversed from his teammate. Qualifying in the fourth position and finishing third in Saturday’s prefinal, Lazare would run into trouble on lap two of the main event. Crashing out and finishing in the 22nd position was a blow to his championship hopes, but the senior rookie would be back on track Sunday with a vengeance.
Sunday’s qualifying effort would be a carbon copy of Saturday’s session, as Lazare would once again turn the fourth quickest lap of the session. Bound and determined to improve his results, the talented Tony Kart pilot stole the show in the prefinal driving forward to take the checkered flag and the elusive main event pole position. With his hard luck behind him and the chance to stand atop the blocks, Lazare would be the bridesmaid when the final circuit was complete as he would finish in the runner up position, but gain valuable points towards the end of the year championship.
Marc Andre Levesque and Maxime Couturier would be another pair of SH Karting drivers to see action at Mosport. While both competitors consistently improved throughout the weekend Levesque turned his 20th place result Saturday into a solid 11th place finish on Sunday.Couturier, who ran just inside the top-ten on multiple occasions this past weekend, would cross the stripe Saturday with a 17th place finish and Sunday, he would finish 11th.
Parker Thompson, Alexandre Couturier and Richard Schumacher would be SH Karting’s trio of Rotax Junior drivers with Thompson scoring the best results. After claiming victories in two of the first three rounds of the series, Thompson would head to Mosport with the overall point lead and as the driver to beat. Hoping to walk away with a pair of wins, the Red Deer, Alberta pilot would close his weekend with mixed results.
While Saturday looked promising for the future star with a third place qualifying effort and a second place run in the heat race, the main event would not go as planned. With his championship rival claiming the victory, Thompson battled back to the eighth position after contact at the start put him well down the running order. Shifting his focus to Sunday, Thompson would look to salvage his weekend with better results and more championship points.
Another excellent qualifying effort would see the 2011 Team Canada member garner a front row starting position, but trouble in the heat race would see him cross the stripe in 11th. Looking to rebound in the day’s final on track action, Thompson came from inside row six to claim a solid fourth place finish and keep his championship lead in tact and 2012 Team Canada hopes alive.
Couturier and Schumacher would continue to gain experience in ECKC competition. While both drivers continue to learn from their teammates, Couturier claimed a pair of top fifteen results coming home 14th and 15th. Schumacher would battle hard all weekend long and leave Mosport with 17th and 21st place finishes.
SH Ontario would have a quintet of drivers under the team tent as all five were looking to set themselves up for a strong run in the second half of the championship. Austin Milwain and Arika White would take on the Rotax Senior field with Milwain running at the pointy end of the field throughout the weekend. Saturday would be a history making qualifying session as Milwain and a fellow competitor would turn an identical lap time down to the thousandth of a second, with the Ontario driver losing the pole position based on the second quickest lap. Claiming fifth in the prefinal, Saturday’s main event would be a trying one for Milwain as he was excluded from the results. White, who would retire on lap four of the prefinal and start the main event 23rd, challenged the senior field of competitors as she drove to a solid top fifteen result. A consistent day on Sunday would see Milwain qualify in P5, claim the fifth position in the prefinal and advance forward one more spot in the main event to come home fourth. White would add another top fifteen result when the event had concluded.
Cameron Morrison and Taegen Poles would be SH Ontario’s duo in Rotax Junior with Morrison scoring a third place podium result on Saturday. After qualifying tenth and claiming a sixth pace result in the prefinal, Morrison turned up the wick in the main event coming home with his first ECKC podium in 2012. A challenging day on Sunday would see Morrision cross the line in the 11th position after starting the main event outside the top twenty.
Completing almost no laps during Saturday’s competition, Taegen Poles would be forced to retire on lap one of the prefinal and lap three of the main event. As a rookie in the junior category, Poles is looking for seat time to gain experience and improve her race craft for future events but the aggressiveness of the junior competitors would take its toll on the young pilot. Sunday would prove to be a better one for the female from Ontario as she turned her 18th place qualifying effort into a 12th place result when the final checkered flag had flown.
Adding to SH Ontario’s results was Rotax Mini Max driver Tyler McCullough, who came home fifth in both Saturday and Sunday’s racing action.
SH Karting will next take on the Coupe du Quebec series July 15 at Circuit Mont-Tremblant for Round #4. The Eastern Canadian Karting Championship finale is set for July 29 during the spectacular Le Monaco de Trois-Riveries.
SH Karting is the exclusive Canadian importer of Tony Kart and Kosmic kart chassis, as well as Vortex and ROK engines. In addition, SH Karting offers a selection of specialized products for recreational and competitive karting including Rotax, Sparco, Bridgestone, Alfano and Tillett. For more information on SH Karting, please call 450.584.3843 or toll free 1.866.584.3843, email email@example.com or visit them online at www.shkarting.com.