Race ROUNDUP: KARTING CHALLENGE RD 3
HOMESTEAD, Fla. (March 31, 2019) - With temperatures heating up and championship chases beginning to take shape, the 3rd Round of the Karting Challenge began to set the target towards the season title fights in many divisions. Drivers had to face off against the ever-brutal CCW National layout for the second consecutive month, which requires a rough and bumpy ride in order to make a fast lap time.
NEW FACES NEAR THE FRONT IN IAME MINI SWIFT
With Jakub Kolar under the weather and Miguel Costa out of town, Max Garcia remained as the only podium-placing driver on the entry list for Round 3 in IAME Mini Swift. The day did not go nearly as smooth as expected for the early favorite, though. After losing an airbox on the opening lap of the Pre Final, it was Sebastian Wheldon who took command of the division with Caleb Duenas on his tail.
Garcia made quick work of the field to get back up front in the main event. A great start for the young driver from Coconut Grove put him in the lead by the end of the first lap, and he never looked back. The battle raged on behind him for second between Duenas and Wheldon, with Duenas coming out on top for his highest finish to-date. Wheldon would have to settle for third.
the duel intensifies in tag senior
After coming up just short in Round 2, Franco Ragusa upped his game for Round 3. The Kosmic driver qualified on pole over Yannick Rolland and went on to dominate the Pre Final. The final was a full on duel between the two, with the pair trading the lead numerous times over the 15-lap session. Ultimately, it was Ragusa to come out on top by just two tenths of a second at the stripe with Rolland settling for second.
contenders beginning to form in iame x30 junior
Emmo Fittipaldi started the day out with a whopping half-second advantage over the grid in qualifying. That success continued into the Pre Final, where Fittipaldi led every lap to take the win over Leonardo Hassan and Kevin Raventos. He continued his domination by going perfect in the Final to cross the line first, but he was removed from the results after failing to wear an SFI-approved chest protector -- mandatory for all drivers under the age of 15. This gave Leonardo Hassan his first career Karting Challenge victory with Jimmie Lockhart and Samuel Benner rounding out the podium in second and third.
lo206 junior: an impressive debut
2018 LO206 Cadet Champion Collin Lloyd initially started his season competing in the IAME Mini Swift division, but a switch in focus put him back on a Briggs and Stratton package once again. The rookie was impressive to say the least, qualifying on pole against class regulars such as Granger Perra and Alejandro Ramirez.
The Pre Final saw Perra and Lloyd hook up to break the draft window from the rest of the pack and battle amongst themselves at the end, with Lloyd holding Perra back by just under 0.050 seconds. The Final was even more intense, as the two traded the lead multiple times in the closing laps. Eventually, a last-lap desperation move put Lloyd back on top one final time, and he held the lead to the finish for his first LO206 Junior win in his first ever start. Perra settled for second with Ramirez trailing the leaders closely in third.
iame ka100 junior: picking up the pace
Jimmie Lockhart started his rookie season in the Junior ranks with promise in the opening two rounds, but he never got to poke his nose out in front of the pack until last Sunday. The Karting Experience team driver upped his game for the 3rd round of the championship, qualifying on pole and winning the Pre Final by more than three seconds over Round 2 winner Granger Perra.
The Final was much closer between the pair, but Lockhart held strong and maintained the lead throughout in order to secure his first career Junior win. Perra settled for a tight second place finish with JP Star Development driver EJ Tamayo picking up a podium finish in third.
more competition, more unpredictability in iame micro swift
Round 2 Winner Oliver Wheldon started his day off strong in his JC Karting Kosmic. Wheldon grabbed the fast time award in qualifying and went on to a dominating victory in the Pre Final. All seemed to be once again in his hands for the Main Event, but his right rear bumper bolt snapped off early on. The mechanical failure brought out the meatball flag, effectively ending his day with a last place finish.
That opened the door for TB Kart driver Anastasia Markovic to move into the lead. She fearlessly took over control of the Final, leading the remaining laps en route to her first Karting Challenge win. Antonio Valles ended second and Daniel Telle scored another podium in third.
the perfect season continues in iame bambino
Alessandro Truchot kept his winning streak alive in IAME Bambino by once again sweeping all official sessions. The drama for the day occurred behind him. Benja Fernandez was poised to put another P2 finish in the books before he started to lose power with two laps to go, eventually suffering a DNF and surrendering the second position to Maxwell Macha.
3 rounds in and the battle begins in shifter
Alan Isambard did everything in his power to go back-to-back in perfect weekends in the Shifter division. His KSF Racing teammate, Sebastian Hazbun, had other plans. The TaG Senior championship contender from 2018 made the jump to the gearbox class this season, and after making some serious strides in practice and the first two rounds, he came ready to fight in Round 3.
The 15-lap Final initially saw Isambard get out to the lead, but Hazbun kept his head down and chipped away at the gap before getting by with a couple of laps to go. From there, he pulled a near 1.5-second advantage to take his first Shifter class victory in only three starts. Isambard finished second while Allen Christy rounded off the box in third.
ALL JACK COPELAND IN LO206 SENIOR
Following an unfortunate turn of events in Round 2, Jack Copeland returned to action in Round 3 with a vengeance. Setting a new track record in qualifying, Copeland went on to go perfect on the day by leading every lap of the Pre Final and Final to take the win.
Behind him, it was a bloodbath. A near seven-kart train highlighted the Pre Final with four-wide action and quite a few track limit cones suffering casualties. After a stern meeting with the Race Director, the drivers in the mid field cleaned up their act for the Final which saw Frankie Barroso back up his win in Round 2 with a runner-up finish. Nearly ten seconds back from Barroso was the battle for third, where Miguel Rivera maintained maintained his podium streak and championship lead by holding back Franco Cipullo.
A SLUGFEST IN LO206 HEAVY
While usually the battles and racing in LO206 Heavy is overshadowed by its sister division in LO206 Senior, Round 3 saw a role reversal between the two. The day started off with an unpredictable qualifying session that saw Pablo Materi go to the pole with Marc Julien second, Dario Echeverry third, Manny Sola, fourth, and Aaron Parkinson fifth. From there, an intense Pre Final saw Parkinson claw his way forward to the lead as a five-kart battle for the win emerged amongst the top qualifiers. Some quick laps in the final two circuits allowed Parkinson to hold the lead for the Pre Final win with Echeverry second and Materi third.
The Final once again saw Aaron Parkinson out in front for most of the way, but an incident coming to two laps to go ended all chances at scoring an elusive first win. That opened the door for Marc Julien to slip into the lead with Dario Echeverry slotting into second. On the final lap, the two went wheel-to-wheel for three consecutive corners before a slight bit of contact gave Echeverry a three kart-length gap. That was all Dario needed as he cruised to the finish with Julien ending up in second and Pablo Materi recovering from getting shuffled early on in the day to snag third.
Up next is Round 4 of the Karting Challenge presented by MG Tires on Sunday, April 14th.
For more information on the Karting Challenge club series, CLICK HERE>>