Race ROUNDUP: KARTING CHALLENGE RD 8
HOMESTEAD, Fla. (September 27th, 2019) - Rain once again was in the forecast for a Karting Challenge raceday for Round 8 of the season in September. However, not a single drop fell during Sunday's series of events, leaving a dry racetrack for the 113 drivers to compete on.
tag senior / Tag master
Over the last few races, the TaG Senior division has seen a number of different faces, but the same overall turnout. For Round 8, the stars aligned and the top contenders from the previous few rounds were all in attendance, plus a few new drivers.
Aaron Benoit led the way in the first half of the day by scoring the pole award in qualifying and winning the Pre Final. The opening laps of the Final, though, swung in the favor of Luigi Luciani. Luciani commanded the four driver lead group of himself, Benoit, Brandon Simeone, and Johnny Corbellini. Eventually, Benoit found a way past, and from there, he built a gap that he maintained through to the end. Luciani held off Simeone for second, with the pair completing the podium in second and third, respectively.
iame x30 junior
The X30 Junior class saw a major influx of national-level players, and Diego Contecha topped the grid. Jimmie Lockhart was his closest competition in qualifying, but he was shuffled to the wayside at the start of the Pre Final. In his place rose Joey Atanasio and Emmo Fittipaldi, who climbed up the grid to end second and third to start the main event.
In the Final, Contecha once again drove away, while his teammate in Atanasio found himself fighting back through the field after a poor start. Joey was successful, and after post-race tech inspection excluded his teammate, he was declared the winner. The post-race penalties promoted Lockhart to P2 and Artie Flores to P3, his first Karting Challenge podium of the season.
After coming up just a little bit short in Round 7, Granger Perra returned to action with a chip on his shoulder. He began in qualifying by taking fast time honors over fellow championship contenders Collin Lloyd and Rocco Pasquarella. He carried that momentum into the Pre Final where he kept Lloyd at bay for all 9 laps.
In the Final, Perra once again got away early and began to build his margin. Round 7 winner Vance Devine slotted into second early, but a brief battle with Collin Lloyd allowed Lloyd to slip through. They finished in that order on the day, with Perra coming out on top, Lloyd second, and Devine third after a so-so qualifying session.
iame ka100 junior
Jimmie Lockhart extended his winning streak in the KA100 Junior class, as Round 7 runner-up Jakub Kolar opted to solely focus his efforts on the X30 Junior category. This promoted the mid-pack to battle for second, and they put on a show behind the leader.
Luke Welcome, Beckham Jacir, and Tyler Delgado ran second, third, and fourth for the majority of the day, with the battle for P2 coming down to a last-lap pass attempt by Jacir. Welcome was handed a one position track limits penalty, marring him to third, Jacir to second, and Delgado to P4.
After dominating Round 7, Dan Breitenstein saw the LO206 Heavy grid begin to catch up to his pace in Round 8. He still took the pole award and the Pre Final victory, but he was closely trailed by Aaron Parkinson and Marc Julien. In the Final, Julien eventually worked his way past Breitenstein just before the halfway point. With just a few laps remaining, Breitenstein returned the favor in Turn 12.
Julien fought and struggled to fend off the pass attempt, which allowed Parkinson to sneak on by -- although not before side-to-side contact was made between the pairing. Parkinson did manage to still hold onto second in the remaining two laps, with Julien being forced to settle for third while Breitenstein cruised to his second race win in as many races.
For the first time since January, the Shifter division saw double-digit entry totals. Alan Isambard topped the charts all day, dominating each official session. Behind him was Round 6 winner and Round 7 runner-up Giano Taurino, who has been chipping away at the gap that Isambard's pace has set each weekend.
Behind them, a great battle for third emerged on the day. Jade Hubert and Sebastian Hazbun initially fought for it in the Pre Final. However, they both were passed by veteran Shifter driver Daniel Dibos, who managed to hold both of them off for the final podium spot in the main event.
IAME MIcro SWIFT
Anastasia Markovic and Salvador Della Vecchia have emerged as the top two drivers in the Micro Swift division. Each have taken a win in the last two rounds, and at Round 8, they both came prepared to do battle once again. Markovic began with a great run to take the top spot in Qualifying, and she kept the momentum going with a dominating performance in the Pre Final.
In the Final, however, della Vecchia found some much needed speed and worked his way to the lead. He did receive a penalty for blocking Markovic late in the race, but that ended up shaking out in his favor after Markovic suffered a DQ in post-race tech inspection. In the end, it was Della Vecchia taking his second straight victory in the class, with Aiden Nicotra P2 and Diego La Torre P3.
iame mini swift
With one of the bigger turnouts on the 2019 Karting Challenge afoot, the IAME Mini Swift class was stacked in talent and competition on Sunday. Max Garcia placed above the rest to start the day in qualifying, but he was closely trailed in qualifying by Michael Costello, Cameron Weinberg, Caleb Duenas, and Beckham Jacir.
In the Pre Final, Duenas took full advantage of starting in third to jump Jacir into second. However, he was muscled backwards at the halfway point after a hard-fought battle with Weinberg. Michael Costello followed his teammate through and then made his way into second before the heat race was over, taking the front row starting spot for the Final.
In the main event, Garcia once again got away early. Costello saw the same fate as Jacir as he got jostled backwards early, fading to fourth on the opening lap. Garcia evaded all attacks at the start and built a gap once again, and he went on to lead every lap en route to keeping his Karting Challenge win streak alive. After the dust settled, it was Caleb Duenas finishing second and Michael Costello finishing in third.
The biggest shakeup on the weekend came in the LO206 Senior class. In Qualifying, veteran Michel Garrido topped the boards by a substantial margin over Jared Lee and Frankie Barroso. However, the Pre Final opened the flood gates, as Garrido was shuffled backwards by the end of the second lap. Bobby Ross moved into the top spot early, but he found himself engaged in a heated battle with Frankie Barroso and Jared lee, who had followed him by Garrido early. Luckily, Ross was able to hold them back to secure the top starting position for the Final.
In the Final, there were seven drivers all in serious contention for victory. Ross led early, but Garrido had regained some lost time from the Pre Final and was challenging him in each corner. Lee and Barroso were also in the fight, and the shuffle amongst the four brought Ricky Diaz, William Isaias, and Franco Cipullo into the mix by the halfway point.
Unfortunately, an incident in Turn 5 just past the halfway marker saw Ross spinning backwards and collecting Barroso. This separated the packs out, leaving just Lee, Garrido, and William Isaias to decide the winner. With just over three laps to go, Isaias made his bid for the lead on his teammate Garrido. From there, some smart driving and consistent lap times kept him just out of reach, securing the victory. Garrido settled for second while Jared Lee took his first career Karting Challenge podium.
After returning with bang by winning Round 7, Mateo Pena rolled right on through Round 8 of the Karting Challenge with ease. He swept every session in the LO206 Cadet division, with Vittoria Fittipaldi and Franco Pastor placing second and third on the day.
Up next is Round 9 of the Karting Challenge presented by MG Tires on Sunday, October 20th.
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