Over the next four days our attention shifts to the drivers who qualified for the 2014 Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals in Valencia, Spain through the Eastern Canadian Karting Championship. Claiming the ticket in one of the wildest championship races in Rotax Junior was Samuel Lupien from Montreal, Quebec.
Entering the fourth and final round of the ECKC Samuel’s older brother Cedrik appeared to have a stranglehold on the runner-up position in the champion, with Canadian Champion well out front and already qualified. However in the week leading up to the finale everything changed. Unfortunately for Cedrik, a testing accident resulting in a broken arm ended his chances of going to Spain and then news spread that third place in the championship Tyler Ripani would not be making the trip to Mont-Tremblant.
This opened things up to four different drivers, all within earshot of finishing second place. After Roman DeAngelis scored the Saturday win and took over to runner-up position in the points it all came down to a very wet Sunday in Tremblant. Needing a near perfect day, Lupien delivered when the pressure was on and following his convincing victory in the challenging conditions Samuel ensured that a Lupien was going to Spain to represent Team Canada.
“The feeling in Tremblant was great! I didn’t stop smiling and I was so happy to go to the Rotax Grand Finals in my first year of Junior Max.”
It has been a stellar season for the Rotax Junior rookie, who also finished on the Coupe du Quebec Championship podium.
At last years Rotax Grand Finals Mini-Max Invitational, Lupien delivered a brilliant drive to finish second place against North America’s best Mini-Max drivers and that experience has him buzzing to get on track in Spain and get up to speed in his second Rotax Grand Finals competition.
Name: Samuel Lupien
Division: Junior Max
Hometown: Montreal, Quebec
Years Racing: 3
Race Team: SH Racing
Past Trips to RMCGF: New-Orleans 2013 (Mini-Max Invitational)
Career Highlights (To date): Rotax Mini-Max Invitational 2nd Place (New Orleans, 2013), Rotax Junior Vice-Champion (ECKC, 2014), Qualifying for Rotax Grand Finals in Spain
One of the best moments following his race in Tremblant was the emotional reaction of Lupien’s mechanic Kelly-Mark Michaud. The two have worked together for the past two years and will team up in Spain aiming for the top-15 overall.
“Kelly-Mark and I have a great relationship and we’ve had some great times working together over the past two years. We for sure want make the Final but my goal is to be in the top-15. If I’m able to finish in top-10 it will be a great achievement for my first year in Rotax Junior at Rotax Grand Finals.”
While he hasn’t had the chance to test the Sodi Kart that he will race against 71 other Rotax Junior drivers, Lupien is a fan of the spec chassis creating equal opportunity for everyone.
He also feels the track is very technical and with Canada having many technical tracks that should help him get up to speed quickly.
Finally, Lupien will travel with his whole family to Spain, including brother Cedrik who is still recovering from his arm injury.
Through the month of November CKN has full coverage of the Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals and Team Canada. CKN will be trackside in Valencia, Spain from November 23-30 to bring you all the action on http://canadiankartingnews.com and on our social networks: Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.