With a weekend of racing in the books, the 2011 Florida Winter Tour enters it’s second weekend with the first round of the FWT Rotax MAX Challenge at the Orlando Kart Center. The schedule for the MAX Challenge weekends includes two Friday qualifying sessions, one for Saturday, one for Sunday. As such, you better be fast on Friday or you’ll have a lot of fast competitors in front of you all weekend.
This weekend, being fast on Friday meant being fast in the rain. They say all good things must come to and end. For the beautiful weather we had for last weekend and through the week, the end came Friday afternoon when drips turned into drops which soon became a downpour that temporarily suspended qualifying.
It’s long been said that rain separates the great drivers from the good. However, at this level of karting, the rain also separates the great tuners and teams from the others as well. With the number of good drivers not qualifying very high in the order it truly demonstrated just how good the teams and drivers are that set pole positions for the weekend’s races.
The drivers would set the fastest qualifying times for Saturday’s races were; Manuel Troncoso (Micro MAX), Juan Manuel Correa (Mini MAX), Jesse Lazare (Junior MAX), Brent Harper (MAX MAsters), Alex Tagliani (DD2 Masters), David Sera (Senior MAX), and Robert Wickens (DD2).
The racing action today was fantastic. Some races, like the DD2 Pre-Final, were off-the-hook with tight racing and a battle for third that had the spectators on their feet. For those that have not checked out FWT Live! yet, log on and see what you’re missing. (www.floridawintertour.com/fwtlive/2011/)
Those that were watching FWT Live! and those here at the Orlando Kart Center witnessed Robert Wickens winning that DD2 Pre-Final. In the DD2 Final, the young Canadian was able to win again under the lights as darkness set in. DD2 wasn’t the only class with action worth following. In Junior MAX, Dore Chaponick Jr. took the win over FWT-FK Junior TaG double winner Austin Self. Marco Di Leo had a strong run to take a victory in Senior MAX in a top-five that included David Sera, Daniel Formal, Nick Neri and Dan Wheldon.
Scott Falcone achieved a thrilling victory in MAX Masters by beating out Patricio Larrea by less than half a second. Mini MAX took two attempts to get a race in but in the end it was Logan Sargeant with a run-away win. The closest margin of victory all day went to Anthony P. Gangi Jr. in Micro MAX as he beat out James Dean Laderoute by 0.047 of a second. Indy Car Racing was represented well in the DD2 Masters field as well as Alex Tagliani took a popular win to lead an all-Canadian DD2 Masters podium.
Tomorrow we do it all again with another full set of second-chance, consolation, pre-final and final races. We’ll also tally up the competitors points and give an update on who’s in contention for the Florida Winter Tour - Skip Barber “Doin’ The Double” award program. Keep up with all the action on FWT Live! and stay tuned to floridawintertour.com for more updates and photo galleries at www.floridawintertour.com/gallery2/main.php .