Race ROUNDUP: KARTING CHALLENGE RD 10
HOMESTEAD, Fla. (December 20th, 2019) - Upwards of 140 drivers made their way through the gates for Championship Weekend of the 2019 AMR Motorplex Karting Challenge presented by MG Tires. While a few classes had the title locked up entering Round 10, there were an equal amount of classes that had yet to decide the champion.
iame x30 junior
20 X30 Junior drivers entered Round 10 of the season, with many coming from outside of South Florida to prepare for the upcoming national events in January and February. Second year Junior driver Alessandro de Tullio kicked off the day by taking the pole in Qualifying, and he backed that up with a solid drive in the Pre Final to start on the pole in the main event.
Behind de Tullio were Jack Jeffers, Mateo Rubio-Luengo, and Leonardo Hassan. Their efforts lined them up 2-3-4 for the Final, but a bad start for Jeffers and Hassan saw them quickly get shuffled backward. Hassan ended up getting taken out late in the going, but Jeffers was able to rebound to P5 by the time the checkered flag flew.
Up front, de Tullio once again began to walk away from the field. Rubio-Luengo chased him for a while but never got close enough, ending second. There was a big gap back from the top two, as Paul Bocuse clawed his way out of the mid-pack to end on the podium in third. Anderson Leonard finished fourth, and as forementioned Jeffers ended fifth.
Granger Perra and Vance Devine were separated by 120 points entering Championship Weekend. It was far from one of the closest fights, but the size of the LO206 Junior field kept the mathematical possibility alive.
The day started off great for Perra as he obliterated the field in qualifying, putting his Tony Kart on the pole by more than four tenths of a second. Unfortunately, he didn't make it past lap 3 of the Pre Final as a mechanical failure sidelined him early. This allowed Collin Lloyd to move into the lead, with Joseph Botting and Vance Devine finishing second and third.
In the Final, Perra needed to be mistake free -- he had to minimize the damage and score a minimum of 80 points to salvage the title. Mid-way through his charge through field, chaos struck that collected him and once again marred him to a DNF. This opened the door for Vance Devine to try and steal the championship by scoring a top tier finish. Vance played his cards as good as he could, but could only settle for second behind 2018 LO206 Cadet Champion Collin Lloyd. In the end, the P2 finish would turn out to be enough, as Devine took the championship by a mere 5 points.
iame ka100 junior
After a 10th place finish in the X30 Junior division, Jimmie Lockhart was determined to end his 2019 season on a high. Just as in X30 Junior, Jimmie had mathematically clinched the KA100 Junior division title prior to entering the gates for Round 10. However, he took to the racetrack to fight all the same.
Qualifying first went in the favor of Georgian Mateo Rubio-Luengo. Lockhart qualified P2, with Luke Welcome, Collin Lloyd, and EJ Tamayo completing the Top 5. The field was severely shaken up throughout the course of the Pre Final -- multiple times over. Rubio-Luengo suffered some mechanical woes early that put him deep in the field, surrendering the lead to Lockhart. Behind Jimmie a massive brawl ensued, with Raiden Nicol slipping past the local contenders to finish second. Rubio-Luengo would rebound to finish P3.
Due to a flight conflict, Rubio-Luengo had to sit out the main event. This gave the 3rd place starting spot to Frederik Lund, who had silently worked his way into 5th by the end of the Pre Final. As soon as the green flag waved, Lockhart and Nicol built a hefty gap over the field. At various points, Lund saw pressure from behind, but he never cracked. He held on to snag his first career Karting Challenge podium, as the chaotic pack behind him went all different directions.
In the end, Lockhart managed to keep Nicol at bay, clinching the title in style with a fifth straight victory.
Pablo Materi usually finds himself on the wrenches these days, but he was back in the seat for Championship Weekend. He kicked the day off in style with the fast time in Qualifying, going over last round's front runners Marc Julien and Dan Breitenstein.
Unfortunately, Materi's time at the top was short lived as bad luck sent him to the rear early in the Pre Final. From there, the battle was left to Julien and Breitenstein, with Julien getting the better of the pair to start on the pole for the Final.
Breitenstein entered Round 10 as the Championship Leader, but he still needed an 8th or better to secure the title. With some smart driving early on in the main event, he was able to get Julien and himself separated from the field, and eventually he made his bid for the lead around the halfway mark. Julien kept him honest, but he could never mount a charge back for the lead. In the end, Breitenstein secured his first Karting Challenge title along with his 4th straight victory. Julien ended second and Diego Garcia finished third.
Alan Isambard had long ago clinched the championship in the Shifter division, and he entered the final round in hopes of setting an all-time record for wins in a single season of 7. He started the day strong with the pole award in Qualifying, and he rolled that directly into a flag-to-flag win in the Pre Final. Behind him, Juan Arenas, Sebastian Hazbun, and Sebastian Montoya focused on trying to close the gap. They lined up third, second, and fourth to start the main event, respectively.
Isambard was not to be denied, though. A perfect drive in the final race of the 2019 season saw him lead every lap en route to his 7th victory in 9 starts, setting the all-time single season wins record. A poor start to the final saw Hazbun slip backwards early, surrendering the second spot to Arenas. Montoya slipped through on the opening lap as well to third, but neither of them could close the gap to each other or Isambard. They completed the podium in that order, an impressive run for each in the limited amount of time they both have in the gearbox classes.
IAME MIcro SWIFT
New York driver Marco Romero joined a host of other young drivers in the Micro Swift class for Round 10. Romero set the tone with a quick lap in Qualifying, and he backed that up with a dominating victory in the Pre Final. Behind him, Alessandro Truchot and 2019 Championship leader Anastasia Markovic dueled for second and third, with Truchot gaining the upper hand to end the heat.
In the Final, Romero was once again in a league of his own. He led every lap from start to finish, securing his first career Karting Challenge victory. Truchot finished second, while Markovic faded late allowing Canadian Jensen Burnett to slip by. However, the 4th Place result was more than enough for Markovic, as she clinched the championship with a comfortable margin.
iame mini swift
Max Garcia entered Round 10 as the mathematical champion in the Mini Swift class. However, he nearly threw away a chance at the victory after getting into contact with Matias Orjuela early on in the Pre Final. The incident ended Orjuela's session, and Garcia was handed an avoidable contact penalty that put him behind Orjuela to start the main event.
This gave the top starting spot Salim Hanna, and the young Colombian driver quickly tried to build a lead before Orjuela and Garcia could catch him in the Final. While Orjuela struggled initially to get his forward momentum, Garcia made quick work of the field. He caught Hanna by lap 5 and led to the finish, capping off his 2019 Championship season with a fifth straight victory. Hanna finished second and Caleb Duenas rounded off the podium in third.
As usual, the boys and girls of the LO206 Senior division put on a show. 2018 Champion Jordan Perry returned to action for the first time this season, claiming the fast time award in qualifying. A number of drivers had the pace to challenge him throughout the day, and that was evident from the opening laps of the Pre Final. Perry did manage to hold on for the win, but the battles he saw already showed that the main event would be one of the toughest to win on the year.
Early on, six drivers emerged above the rest. Perry, along with Zack Skolnick, 2019 Championship Leader Frankie Barroso, Michel Garrido, Bobby Ross, and David Redman all ran together to pull away from the pack. As the laps began to wind down, Ross, Garrido, and Redman shuffled the 4th spot back and forth. This allowed Perry to lead Skolnick and Barroso away from the trio, making it a three driver fight for the win. Skolnick went to the lead with a handful of laps remaining, only for Perry to retake the top spot with four laps to go. In the end, some masterful defending on Perry's end kept Skolnick in toe with Barroso falling to half a second back.
Barroso had already locked the title up back at Round 9, so his P3 finish was icing on the cake in his rookie season in the Senior division.
Quite a few new faces joined the grid of the LO206 Cadet class for the final race of the 2019 season. Championship leader Mateo Pena had already clinched the title back at Round 9, which meant that Round 10 would solely be for bragging rights. Naomi Garcia returned to the Karting Challenge after a few months off, and she gave Mateo a run for his money in the main event. Unfortunately, a bobble with just a couple of laps remaining took Naomi out of contention -- handing the final win of the year to Mateo. Naomi held on to finish second, and Sebastian Tejada ended third.
The main event for Round 10 was the TaG Senior division. 15 drivers entered into Championship Weekend hunting for victory, while championship contenders Luigi Luciani and Yannick Rolland were ready to battle for the title with just 74 points separating the pair.
Jesse Krill put his name on top of the boards in qualifying, going to the pole over Aaron Benoit and Rolland. Luciani put in a solid 4th place run to start alongside his championship rival. The Pre Final that followed featured some good battles, as Luciani worked his way up the grid to take over the lead with four laps to go, never looking back. Krill held onto second to start on the front row for the Final, while Rolland finished P3.
Rolland just needed to manage his points advantage over Luciani -- a P3 finish again in the Main event would still secure the championship. However, the battle began early, and a mistimed pass attempt by Daniel Reiger took out Rolland entering Turn 5. Rolland rejoined at the tail end of the field -- one lap behind the leaders. Luciani led the way all the way to Lap 7, when Aaron Benoit and Adam Yasin tangled, bringing out the red flag.
The reset came just before Luciani had completed the halfway point in the Final, which would have given him the championship. However, the race was restarted, and an 8-lap shootout was underway. Sebastian Montoya started from the tail end of the field, and he made quick work of Jesse Krill to get by for second. He then went by Luciani to take over the lead. As he began to pull away, Luciani and Krill got together battling for second, sending Luciani into the barriers. He couldn't continue due to the damage, surrendering the podium to Lucas Kohl and eventual championship to Rolland.
The wild turn of events nearly overshadowed Montoya's impressive drive from last to first in the Final, capping off what was already a solid day for the Colombian-American driver.
The 2020 calendar for the Karting Challenge is released and up on the Karting Challenge official page, which can be found below.
For more information on the Karting Challenge club series, CLICK HERE>>