Today we have a look at one of who we would call a dark horse on Team Canada entering this year’s Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals. Qualifying for Spain as the Rotax Senior vice-champion in the Eastern Canadian Karting Championship, Christophe Paquet from St-Raymond, Quebec had a stellar year as a rookie but has definitely ran under the radar, even with the results he garnered.
He kicked things off at the Florida Winter Tour taking on some of the worlds toughest competition in his first races in the category before returning to Canada for the ECKC and Coupe du Quebec. Stunning the crowd on hand at the opener in Mosport, Paquet erupted with the Saturday victory and immediately set himself as a championship contender.
While he would eventually have to settle in behind Zachary Claman DeMelo, who would score five of eight victories en route to the title, Paquet ensured he would qualify for Spain at the ECKC finale in Mont-Tremblant. Coming off of a strong run at the Canadian Championships, Paquet was focused in the very difficult wet conditions. Although he had a disappointing seventh on Saturday, Sunday was his day and he ended the ECKC season the same way he started it, with a victory and the confirmation of his position on Team Canada. The win also confirmed Paquet 2014 Coupe du Quebec Champion.
It will be his first time at the Rotax Grand Finals, in easily the toughest division, but we don’t think that kind of pressure effects Paquet.
Name: Christophe Paquet
Division: Rotax Senior
Hometown: St-Raymond, Quebec
Years Racing: 4
Race Team: ACM Karting
Past Trips to RMCGF: none
Career Highlights (To date): Vice-Canadian Champion (2013, Rotax Junior), ECKC Vice-Champion (2014, Rotax Senior), Coupe du Quebec Champion (2014, Rotax Senior)
Following his victory in Mont-Tremblant, Paquet was ecstatic that he had qualified for the Rotax Grand Finals. “When I won the race, I was overjoyed. I couldn’t believe it! This has been my dream since I started racing.”
Similar to his teammates who will be making their Rotax Grand Finals debut in Spain, Paquet hopes to qualify for the Final. “My goal is to be part of the final. I want to do the best I can. I have never been qualified before. Therefore, I believe my coach will give me everything to perform.”
That coach is Alexandre Louet, the man who helped steer Paquet to his successes over the past few seasons.
In preparation for the event Paquet has been in touch with Rotax Grand Finals Champions Ben Cooper and Pier-Luc Ouellette to try and soak in as much information as possible. He has also taken the chance to jump into a Birel kart and do some testing to get a feel for the chassis he will be competing on in Spain.
“Yes, I have tested the reaction of the chassis a few times lately. I like the idea that everyone has the same chassis because everyone has to use their drivers skills instead of the value of their material.”
And while he is going to Spain for the Rotax Grand Finals will be Paquet’s focus during the final week of November, he will be on a plane back home immediately after to return to school and catch up on what he’s missed.
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.