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November 21, 2010 News
Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals 2010 : La Conca, Italy – Sunday Report
 






 


La Conca, Italy – The final day of competition at this years Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals held at the world-class La Conca International Circuit in southern Italy was truly a remarkable day in Canadian karting history, as two Canadian pilots put forth remarkable drives to earn the title as Rotax World Champion.

With stacked grids in Canada in the Rotax DD2 classes this season, the competition is fierce country wide, and in Italy Team Canada dominated the two-speed classes.

Sunday may have only featured four World Championship races, but every single person in the paddock was featured to some of the best races and finishes this writer has ever witnessed. The roar of the crowd throughout every race and every pass was truly world-class and what go-kart race fans should be like. And then when every World Champion was crowned, the crowd cheered even more. The atmosphere of the event was just truly remarkable.

After a quick run through each classes pre-finals, the drivers gathered on the front straight as per usual at the Grand Finals for the driver parade and group photo. But after that, it was race time.

First up, the Rotax Junior class took to the track. Canadian Nicholas Latifi was the sole Team Canada driver to take part. After starting the pre-final in eighth and being bounced around, Latifi would start from the outside of row eight in sixteenth. Holding on through the tough opening corners Latifi managed to keep his position as he rounded lap one. Bouncing between sixteenth and nineteenth until lap twelve when he was able to move into thirteenth. From there he worked very hard to catch the driver ahead of him, but just ran out of time. Following the race, Latifi would be classified in the twelfth position in his first Grand Finals appearance.

The race for the win would come down to the final lap where the six kart train for the lead would separate, derail, and swap places throughout the second half of the lap, with the eventual winner, Jordi Van Moorsel of the Netherlands, coming from the Last Chance Race yesterday to take the win.

A change in the schedule from the past few days lined Rotax Masters DD2 up on the grid next. Fast qualifier Scott Campbell would line up on the outside of row one after leading most of the pre-final. A tough start sent Campbell wide entering turn three where he would become held up by trouble. Navigating his way around, Campbell would fall down to sixth place. Knowing he needed to return to the front quickly, Campbell went into attack mode and by lap six, had placed himself in the lead after a great pass in the final corner. From there, Campbell stuck to his game plan, get out front and stay out front. Keeping a steady pace, Campbell stayed about three to four kart lengths ahead of second place throughout the mid section of the race. As the laps dwindled down, so did his lead and with the last-lap board in his sights, he surrendered the spot entering turn one. Capitalizing on the other driver’s mistake of overshooting the corner, Campbell returned to the lead by corner two and held on through the tight turn three. From there, Campbell was able to hold off the charge and crossed the line to become the first ever Rotax Max Masters DD2 World Champion in his record holding seventh trip to the Grand Finals. Unfortunately for Campbell’s teammate, Luc Sauriol was involved in an opening lap incident losing his nosecone and finished twenty-eighth.

Next up was the Rotax Senior class where all five Canadians lined up for the final, led by Pier-Luc Ouellette who would start on the front row in second. Behind him, Bryce Choquer and Hugo Ouellette started side by side in row seven, with Christophe Boisclair three back in seventeenth, after starting the pre-final in twenty-ninth. Finally Philippe Gelinas would begin from twenty-seventh. When the lights went out, Ouellette jumped out front. Unfortunately it was just a little too early and immediately he would be accessed a ten-second penalty for jumping the start. Unaware, Ouellette led the first six laps before surrendering the lead. A great start Choquer moved him up to fifth as they completed lap one, while Boisclair was up tenth, and Hugo Ouellette and Gelinas were involved in opening lap accidents.

Out front, Ouellette hounded the leader hoping to return to the lead, while Choquer lost the lead draft and would cruise in fifth desperately trying to rejoin the leaders. For Boisclair, he would fall down to thirteenth on lap two and trade paint for the twelfth position for a majority of the race. Still in as the laps wound down, Ouellette would fall to third on lap fourteen and eventually crossed the finish line in fourth before the ten-second penalty was accessed. In the end, Choquer would finish in sixth, Boisclair eleventh, Ouellette down to thirteenth, Gelinas back up to nineteenth and Hugo Ouellette thirty-first.

The story of the race would be about past Rotax DD2 world Champion Caleb Williams of South Africa. A crash in the pre-final would force Williams to start thirty-second on the grid for the twenty-four-lap race. Picking up a remarkable nineteen spots in the opening lap, Williams wasted no time returning to the front and by lap nine was into the top-five. He then went to the lead on lap fifteen and never looked back. With the win Williams became the second driver to become the Rotax World Champion in both the Senior and DD2 categories.

The final race hit the grid at 3:40 local time; ready for a strict 4:00 start. Similar to their evening practices, The DD2 class would be on track with the sun setting over the tree-line at La Conca. Kyle Herder was the highest starting Canadian in twelfth place, while Daniel Morad would be on the inside of the following row after an eventful pre-final. Also, starting from the rear of the grid was Cory Luciano.

Avoiding the excitement of the first lap, Morad was able to advance to ninth with Herder still holding onto the thirteenth spot. Morads impressive pace allowed him to move into the top-five by lap four with some impressive passing under braking in corners three and thirteen. With the leaders trading the top spot, Morad was able to close the gap to the front four and by lap nine, the race was on.

A wild move for second-place left the front group scrambling and Morad was able to jump on the opportunity to move into second on lap fourteen. But that action allowed the leader to pull an eight-kart lead on Morad and the remainder of the group. With third place hot on his heels, Morad received a little help on lap fifteen when heavy contact behind him left him on his own to chase down the leader. Lap by lap, Morad was able to inch closer to the leader, pulling roughly half a kart length a lap. With three to go, Morad was on the leaders heels and ready to pounce. With the crowd on their feet, Team Canada and many others cheering him on, Morad peeked inside in turn one as the last-lap board was shown. Holding on through corner three, Morad hounded the leader through four, five and six. A huge run down into seven allowed Morad the dive to the inside in eight. Side by side as they entered into turn the tight chicane, Morad held on through thirteen and with the perfect line through the final sweeping corner allowing him to pull enough that once he had the flag in his sights, Morad and the crowd went wild, Morad a little too wild.

The pure excitement in Morads celebration got the best of him and his left shoe caught and locked up the brake pedal just after the start/finish line. The sheer force sent Morad sideways and into the second place finisher. With Morad up on top, the two slid into the outside fence, spinning the two around in the air and Morad out of his kart. Once the shock had cleared and Morad was back to his feet, the crowd roared once again, with Morad throwing his hands into the air. The race he came so close winning last year, he won this year. Daniel Morad was the Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals DD2 Champion. It took a while for him to cross the scales, as his beaten up go-kart needed a little love to get onto the scale hut, but once cleared, Morad was all smiles once again and so was everyone from Team Canada.

Herder would eventually finish in sixteenth after contact sent him down the order with only a few laps remaining, while Luciano would finish in twenty-fourth.

The win would be Canada’s second of the day. To recap the week, Canadian drivers earned two pole positions, four heat race victories and two World Titles, a truly remarkable feat.

Following all the celebrating and champagne spraying, drivers and teams gathered for the annual Prize Giving Party where Rotax announced that next years Grand Finals will be held back in Dubai at the Al Ain Raceway, the location of Pier-Luc Ouellette’s dominating run to the Rotax DD2 World Championship.

 

2010 Rotax DD2 World Champion Daniel Morad (Photo by: Cody Schindel - Autosports Media Group)
2010 Rotax DD2 World Champion Daniel Morad
(Photo by: Cody Schindel - Autosports Media Group)


 

Nicholas Latifi (Photo by: Cody Schindel - Autosports Media Group)
Nicholas Latifi
(Photo by: Cody Schindel - Autosports Media Group)


 

(Photo by: Cody Schindel - Autosports Media Group)
(Photo by: Cody Schindel - Autosports Media Group)


 

Bryce Choquer (Photo by: Cody Schindel - Autosports Media Group)
Bryce Choquer
(Photo by: Cody Schindel - Autosports Media Group)


 

Scott Campbell, 2010 Rotax Masters DD2 World Champion (Photo by: Cody Schindel - Autosports Media Group)
Scott Campbell, 2010 Rotax Masters DD2 World Champion
(Photo by: Cody Schindel - Autosports Media Group)
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