"Askew and Neri run at the front of the field in Junior and Senior"
Article By: Race Tech Development
Ocala, Florida - With the final round of the Florida Winter Tour taking place at Ocala Gran Prix (OGP), team drivers would look to utilize track knowledge and experience to take home race wins. Leading the way was multi-time champion Nick Neri who scored the Rotax Senior race win on Sunday as well as Rotax Junior competitor Oliver Askew who claimed a pair of dominating wins.
"I am so proud of my team and drivers," exclaimed Jorge Arellano after the weekend was over. "We have had some great success over the past three months and to cap the tour off in the form that we did is something to build on in the future."
As the season began to wind down, several Ocala Gran Prix drivers hit their stride as they entered the final round of the Formula Kart Productions Florida Winter Tour. Competing in the ultra-competitive Rotax Junior class was a quartet of pilots, as Oliver Askew, Alex Keyes, Angus Hunt and Alex Hornborg would look to end off the series strong. While only one driver can win, that honor was given to Askew has he dominated the Rotax Junior class throughout the weekend.
After scoring the pole position for Sunday's racing action, Askew claimed the fourth place starting spot for Saturday but would look to move forward. After claiming the second position in the heat race, Askew went on to take the lead at the drop of the green flag for the main event and never looked back. Leading all twenty-four laps and scoring the fastest lap of the race, Askew scored his first career Florida Winter Tour win.
Starting from the pole position on Sunday, Askew scored a perfect day taking the heat race win, main event victory and fastest race lap to score maximum points on the day. With the pair of victories, the Floridian pilot claimed the second position in the overall championship.
Michigan resident Alex Keyes did not have the best of luck in Ocala as multiple incidents hindered any chances at a good result. Though the 14-year old driver managed to make both main events, contact throughout the finals would force him to retire early with a pair of 31st place results.
Fellow Floridian pilot Alex Hornborg would have a great showing in Saturday's racing action as he claimed the 17th place position while Georgia's Angus Hunt garnered a 19th place result on Sunday.
Ocala Gran prix's other race win came at the hands of two-time Florida Winter Tour Rotax Junior champion Nick Neri as he took the top honors in Sunday's Rotax Senior category. Jumping out to the lead early, Neri led all twenty-four laps as he stole the show. The race win made up for a disappointing result on Saturday as Neri was removed from the results after failing a controversial post-race technical inspection after claiming the second position on track.
Also competing in the Rotax Senior category was Miami-area driver Andrew Evans. Looking to utilize his experience of the OGP facility, Evans had his best result at this year's Florida Winter Tour on Saturday with a solid fourteenth place finish. Looking to improve on Sunday, Evans could only manage a 26th place finish.
Rotax Masters competitor Jason Bell entered the final weekend of action with a shot at the title. With a stout field of competitors, Bell garnered the third step on the podium on Saturday but ran into severe trouble on Sunday. After claiming the pole position for Sunday's festivities earlier in the weekend, Bell would make contact with a fellow competitor on the opening laps and be forced to retire from the heat race. Starting from the tail of the field, Bell worked his way forward to claim an impressive twelfth place result but came just short of the overall series crown.
Another driver scoring his best Florida Winter Tour results to date was the young Enzo Fittipaldi. After running inside the top twenty at the opening two rounds, Fittipaldi jumped into the top ten during the final rounds claiming a ninth place finish on Saturday and a fourteenth place result on Sunday in the Rotax Mini Max class.
The young Mathias Ramirez would be Ocala Gran Prix's sole entry in the Rotax Micro Max class as he would see battle against a host of seven to eleven year olds. Working with the OGP team personnel, Ramirez scored a solid eighth place result on Saturday but would falter slightly on Sunday to finish 16th.
Arellano added, "I am happy that this year's Florida Winter Tour is over. Though we had some great results and memories that will last a while, it is time for me to give my guys a break and regroup as we work towards a busy summer season."
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 ).