“Strong runs at PBIR for Ocala Gran Prix drivers”
Press release prepared by: Race Tech Development
Ocala, Florida – Heading to the Palm Beach International Raceway (PBIR) for the second round of the Formula Kart Productions Florida Winter Tour (FWT), Ocala Gran Prix drivers knew that the competition would once again be stout. With talented drivers from all around the world descending on Jupiter, Florida, Ocala Gran Prix would prove to have another successful weekend as the second weekend in the program has come to a close.
“The Palm Beach facility has changed a lot over the last few years and you need to have a smart driver and fast equipment to run at the front of the field,” explained Team Principal Jorge Arellano. “Our drivers had good weekend of results and now we head back to our home facility for the third and final round in the series.”
While the Rotax Senior drivers lead the team, it was the junior competitors that came home with the best results this weekend. Pietro Fittipaldi and Oliver Askew led the OGP team in the Rotax Junior division as both drivers were able to take home top five results. Askew claimed a solid fifth place finish on Saturday, his career best in FWT competition, and backed it up on Sunday with a solid sixth place result. Fittipaldi struggled in Saturday’s main event but managed to claim an eighth place finish out of the 68 registered competitors but improved on Sunday to score a podium result in the third position.
Alex Hornborg was the third junior competitor to make the final on both days of action directly through the qualifying rounds. When the weekend was finally complete, the Florida resident claimed 25th and 31st place results after being involved in some opening corner incidents. Michigan driver Alex Keyes showed leaps and bounds of improvement from the opening round in Orlando as he claimed a solid 22nd place result on Saturday while Angus Hunt went on to win the Last Chance Qualifier on Sunday to make the main and eventually score a 27th place result.
Double Rotax Junior champion Nick Neri and IndyCar competitor Dan Wheldon would battle at the front of the Rotax Senior field all weekend long at PBIR. While Neri would have to overcome some engine issues during pre event testing, he managed to claim a disappointing 11th place finish on Saturday but rebounded on Sunday to finish fifth. Wheldon was at the front of the field throughout Saturday’s main event as he led the majority of the race. The fierce competition and aggressiveness would not let up for Wheldon as he eventually crossed the stripe in the sixth position. Another driver improving greatly from the opening round was OGP’s Andrew Evans. After not making either final in Orlando, Evans managed to take home 19th and 20th place results at PBIR.
In the Rotax Masters class it was a pair of OGP drivers in Jason Bell and Rob Maier who would battle in the top ten all weekend long. Bell would score the best results of the duo with a tenth and seventh place results while Maier would come home sixteenth and thirteenth.
Entering the PBIR round, Californian driver Cody Hodgson would look to battle for the race win. After claiming Saturday’s pole position, Hodgson would be disqualified in post qualifying technical inspection and sent to the rear of the field. Driving with aggression and determination, Hodgson moved through the talented field to claim a fourth place finish on Saturday. Sunday would be a little different for the two time defending United States Grand National champion as he would lead the main event. Looking as if he would have a good shot at the race win, Hodgson was driven over by a fellow competitor and with a badly damaged kart, was unable to continue.
OGP would enter three drivers in the youngest two divisions on the weekend as Enzo Fittipaldi and Sebastian Sierra would run in the Rotax Mini Max class while Mathias Ramirez would compete in Micro Max. While Fittipaldi would come home in 19th and 22nd, Sierra would run into trouble and be classified in 28th and 34th. Ramirez would show consistent speed throughout the race weekend and score a pair of top ten results in ninth and tenth.
For more information on Ocala Grand Prix, OGP race team opportunities and info on how to get into karting, please visit Ocala Gran Prix online at www.OcalaGranPrix.com or contact Kyle Kraus at 352.291.0600 ( Kyle@OcalaGranPrix.com ) or Mike Maurini at 317.270.8723 ( Mike@RaceTechDevelopment.com ).