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November 20, 2012 News
EKN.ca One-on-One: Team Canada's Stuart Clark

Stuart Clark will be representing Team Canada at the Rotax Grand Finals as the DD2 Masters Canadian National Champion and ECKC champion (Photo: Cody Schindel - CKN)
Stuart Clark will be representing Team Canada at the Rotax Grand Finals as the DD2 Masters Canadian National Champion and ECKC champion
(Photo: Cody Schindel - CKN)

Since 1999, the best Rotax karters from around the world have gathered at the year-end Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals to crown world champions. In 2012, the Kartůdromo Internacional do Algarve in Portugal will play host to the prestigious event, and as expected, Canada will be well represented looking to add to its world championship tally, having previously won DD2 (2011, 2010 & 2007), DD2 Masters (2010 & 2006), and Nations Cup (2007).

In preparation for the Grand Finals, eKartingNews.ca has spoken with several of the 2012 Team Canada members to discuss this year's event. First up is Stuart Clark from Ontario, who will race in DD2 Masters against 59 other racers, having earned his place on Team Canada as the Eastern Canadian Karting Championship champion.

EKARTINGNEWS.CA: Lets commence things by giving everyone a little background info. What is your hometown, and who do you race with? How long have you been karting, and how did you get your start in the sport?

STUART CLARK: My hometown in Campbellville Ontario, I race with Trevor Wickens at Prime Powersports/Maranello. I have been karting for six years. My first year in Rotax was in 2003 as an independent in the Senior class. I then took five years off to start a family and a business. For the last four years I have been racing in DD2 Masters. I got the karting bug from a young age, as my father and older brother raced at North Halton in the 70ís, but got out of the sport before I could get in.

EKN.CA: 2012 proved to be a highly successful season, resulting in you winning the Eastern Canadian Karting Championship and Canadian Karting Championships title, earning a place on Team Canada for the Rotax Grand Finals in Portugal. If you had to pick one event from the past year as your highlight, what would it be?

CLARK: The ECKC series was great, and thatís how I won my seat, but my favourite event this year was certainly the Nationals at Tremblant. For the past three years I have been quick there, but could never turn it into a title. 2012 has been another great learning curve, and I am still improving, and the nationals proved this to me. There is a lot more to race wins than good qualifying laps by yourself. Itís a sum of many skills, and you need them all (and some luck) to get the job done. It was an important achievement to win the National title this year.

EKN.CA: What does it mean to you to be representing Canada in what is the premier Rotax event on the world calendar?

CLARK: I am very proud to be representing Canada at the Rotax Grand Finals again. I will represent better this year than last [finished ninth after starting 27th with the fastest lap]. My skill set has improved. I am shooting for podium this year. Also I will be representing all the people that support me in this sport. Many people are behind each driver, team boss, tuners, sponsors, and especially family. Itís great to represent them at the highest level too. Rotax is the most competitive, evenly matched program in karting, and this allows the drivers to showcase their talents on the worlds stage on a level playing field. I feel very passionate about racing, and hope to continue through the higher ranks.

Clark seeking to improve on his top-10 finish in the 2011 Grand Finals (Photo: Gregory Lussier - babelphotos.ca)
Clark seeking to improve on his top-10 finish in the 2011 Grand Finals
(Photo: Gregory Lussier - babelphotos.ca)

EKN.CA: What are you most looking forward to as a Team Canada driver at the Grand Finals?

CLARK: Being on Team Canada is a huge advantage right from the start, the team environment and spirit is noticed by all, and this is very special to be a part of.

I am most looking forward to working with my teammates on and off the track to become the best we can be. Itís hard to get there by yourself, but with the team we can all get there.

EKN.CA: Given everyone will have matching equipment [all the chassis and engines are provided by the event], how important will it be to work with your Canadian teammates? Additionally, what do you think will be the key factor in success in Portugal?

CLARK: Being at a new track in a new chassis with little track time, it will be essential to work with my teammates as much as possible. Last year working with the team proved to me that we all go to the front faster if we work together. I think the key to success in Portugal will be to managing each session with the respect it deserves, with all the focus on the final.

EKN.CA: Outside of your Canadian teammates, who do you think will provide the greatest competition?

CLARK: I think there are a few guys to beat, former world champion and local to the region Jesus Perez Santander, and returning 2011 world champion Christiano Morgado.

EKN.CA: Looking at the Kartodromo International do Algarve track, which will host the Grand Finals, does the fast 16-turn configuration suit your driving style?

CLARK: I think the Kartodromo do Algarve is suited to my style. My two favorite tracks that compare are Al Ain, and Mont Tremblant.

EKN.CA: Lastly, what are your expectations entering the 2012 Rotax Grand Finals?

CLARK: From my experience from Al Ain and karting in general, I know that bad luck will always be factor, so thatís important to manage. But certainly I am looking forward to a controlled, maximum effort from myself this year in Portugal, and I want to be on the box at the end of the day!

EKN.CA: Thanks for speaking with eKartingNews.ca and its readers. We look forward to covering all your endeavors in the 2012 Rotax Grand Finals

Full Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals coverage via EKN.ca Event Page: http://ekartingnews.ca/news_info.php?n=7802
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