Race ROUNDUP: KARTING CHALLENGE RD 9
HOMESTEAD, Fla. (October 23rd, 2019) - For the third race weekend in a row, more than 100 drivers invaded AMR Homestead-Miami Motorplex presented by MG Tires to compete. The 9th Round of the 2019 Karting Challenge saw dry racing from start-to-finish, with a number of classes seeing season-high turnouts.
tag senior / Tag master
Second to only January's Karting Challenge in turnout and competition, the TaG Senior class was absolutely stacked this past weekend. Aaron Benoit was ready for action, and he squeaked out of qualifying as the pole award winner by just 0.030 over Sebastian Montoya and 0.096 over Johnny Corbellini.
The Pre Final got off to a hectic start, with Benoit dropping out on the pace lap due to an engine issue. This moved Corbellini to the pole, and he quickly went on the defensive. Montoya slipped by first, then Luigi Luciani. Full contact was finally made between Corbellini and Lucas Kohl, sending Corbellini spinning to the outside runoff and Kohl dropping back a few positions. Brandon Simeone sneaked past the chaos to finish third.
In the Final, Montoya led every lap en route to the win on his return to the Karting Challenge. Luciani ended second, but the story of the race was the drive put on by Benoit, as he came from P10 to P3 by the time the checkered flag flew. Adam Wright won the TaG Master subdivision, pulling double-duty in 206 Heavy and TaG Master this weekend.
iame x30 junior
X30 Junior rookie Mateo Rubio-Luengo threw down an absolute flyer in qualifying. He put more than two and a half tenths of a second on the field, which is one of the larger qualifying margins the X30 Junior class has seen this season.
Rubio-Luengo's raw speed would cost him in the Pre Final, though, as he fell victim to two 3-second track limits penalties after crossing the line in first. Nikita Johnson also had a 3-second track limit penalty, which took the St. Petersburg driver from being bumped into first off Rubio-Luengo's penalties, to ending second. This gave Artie Flores the heat race win and control of the field for the Final.
In the main event, Flores struggled. As he faded backward, a number of drivers began to fight for the top spot. Johnson, Rubio-Luengo, Leonardo Hassan, Kevin Raventos, Jimmie Lockhart, and Anderson Leonard all had the speed to contend. Johnson crossed the line in first, but a penalty for track limits would once again demote him to P2, giving Hassan his maiden Karting Challenge victory. Raventos ended third.
Collin Lloyd, Granger Perra, and Gregory Pelea all entered the weekend with bulls eyes on their backs. Lloyd kicked things off with a very impressive drive in qualifying to score the pole. From there, the trio hooked up in the Pre Final and began to pull away. Unfortunately, a chain failure for Pelea after taking the lead of the pack sidelined the P1 Racing driver. This surrendered the lead to Lloyd, who held off Granger's attacks to secure the pole position for the Final.
In the Final, Lloyd and Perra got together once again to put some serious distance on the field. Soon after the halfway point was displayed, they finally began to trade the top spot. In the end, Lloyd was able to best Perra and reverse the result of Round 8. Vance Devine finished third, trailing a little behind the pair of Perra in second and Lloyd at the top.
iame ka100 junior
Jimmie Lockhart entered Round 9 of the Karting Challenge just needing a solid finish to clinch the inaugural IAME KA100 Junior championship title. The 2018 IAME Mini Swift champion was in pure form this past weekend, sweeping each session and continuing his winning streak.
The main story of the division came in the battles beyond. Bad luck and mechanical woes knocked Beckham Jacir and Luke Welcome down the order, giving the chance for Tyler Delgado and EJ Tamayo to snag the runner-up step on the podium. Tamayo was determined, and after the dust settled, he was awarded P2 with Delgado P3.
Dan Breitenstein and Marc Julien were the class of the field on Sunday in the LO206 Heavy division. It didn't appear that they would be as close as they ended up judging off of qualifying, as Breitenstein put a 0.3+ margin on the field. However, Julien kept him honest all the way through the Pre Final, and he went to work on finding an extra bit of pace for the main event.
In the Final, Julien remained on Breitenstein's tail through to the end. With a couple of laps to go, Julien opted to go for the lead. He began to defend ever so slightly on the final lap to try and hold back Breitenstein, taking the inside lane down the back stretch heading into the final corner. Breitenstein saw Julien moving low as an opportunity to try to go high, and he sent it around the outside to take the win by just 0.020 at the stripe. Rohan Ramsaroop joined Julien and Breitenstein on the podium finishing in third.
Another solid turnout in the Shifter division brought competition right to Alan Isambard's doorstep. In qualifying, it was Guyana's Calvin Ming who bested the field. After a P2 qualifying run, Isambard opted to change engines and start from the rear of the Pre Final. He worked his way back up to second by the end of the heat, getting by Daniel Dibos and Jade Hubert in the closing stages.
In the Final, Isambard finally made his way to the lead. Ming knew that he needed to challenge early to keep Isambard within range, but a misjudged passing attempt coupled with contact from Sebastian Hazbun afterwards ended Ming's day. From there, the spotlight shifted to the battle for second, where veteran Daniel Dibos held off Hubert by 0.4 at the finish.
Isambard's win officially clinches his first career Shifter championship, with a whopping 3-digit point buffer heading into Round 10.
IAME MIcro SWIFT
Alessandro Truchout stole the pole in Micro Swift qualifying -- the first of his Karting Challenge career in the division. He led early on in the Pre Final, but he was eventually shuffled backwards. First, Anastasia Markovic slipped by. Then with two laps to go, Asher Ochstein made his move and got by both in the same lap. Ochstein held them back at the checkered, punching his ticket to start first for the Final.
In the Final, Markovic took no prisoners in her path towards the front. She got to the lead by the third lap of the main event and never looked back. All Ochstein could do was hold on for second, which he did, keeping Benja Fernandez and Alessandro Truchout at bay. Fernandez's third place run was his first career Karting Challenge podium, a solid drive forward from a modest qualifying run earlier in the day.
iame mini swift
Championship leader Max Garcia missed his first race of the 2019 Karting Challenge season by competing at the IAME International Final in Le Mans, France. His absence guaranteed a new winner for the first time in three races, which Enzo Vidmontiene was waiting for. Without any signs of fear or doubt, Enzo dominated the entire round in the IAME Mini Swift class. He qualified on the pole, won the Pre Final, and won the Final.
The battle in focus came for second place, as Michael Costello, Beckham Jacir, Caleb Duenas, and Sebastian Wheldon shuffled back and forth in the Pre Final. Wheldon found some much-needed pace for the Main Event, though, and he used that to put a gap on the remainder of the group for a solid second place run. Costello emerged just behind Wheldon to take third.
Frankie Barroso rolled into Round 9 looking to extend his championship lead. He put in a solid qualifying effort, placing third behind Bobby Ross in second and Zack Skolnick on pole. From there, he quickly went to work, taking the lead at the halfway point of the Pre Final and fending off efforts from all sides to grab the pole starting position for the Final.
In the main event, Barroso and Ross hooked up early and began to gap the field. Calamity ensued behind the pair, with a mix of track limits penalties, crashes, and avoidable contact penalties moving the pack further and further back by the end. Ross was hungry to score his first career victory, but he was unable to play his cards well enough to beat Barroso. Barroso ended on top once again, with Ross second and Michel Garrido rounding off the podium in a very impressive drive from the back of the grid.
Championship leader Mateo Pena was absent from Round 9 due to illness, which meant that Vittoria Fittipaldi and Franco Pastor had a prime opportunity to gain some championship points. The two were neck-and-neck throughout the entire day, but in the end, it was Pastor who came out with the victory with Fittipaldi settling for second.
Up next is Round 10 of the Karting Challenge presented by MG Tires on Sunday, December 15th.
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