Photo By: Cody Schindel - AutoSportsMedia.com
Team PSL Karting completed the first of its winter schedules recently and from the Gatorz Challenge of the Americas PSL can now boast both its first pair of champions for 2011 and its first two drivers qualified for the Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals! Nicholas Latifi and Felipe Fraga scored tickets at the Jim Russell International Karting Center, and will now represent Canada and Brazil respectively at the Olympics of karting next Fall.
“It feels amazing to have accomplished my goal,” said Latifi, who after running the Rotax Junior Grand Final last year had tagged a return trip as his target for the season. “We have worked really hard at it since the start of the season and to accomplish it in our first attempt makes it all the better. It also relieves a lot of pressure for the championships to come, so now I can go into them with a clear mind.”
After sweeping through the first four rounds, the title was all but given as Latifi reached Sonoma, and by taking the track for rounds five and six the details were finalized. The weather proved dismal over the weekend, but the DD2 rookie buckled down to finish the job and was left with high praise for the Gatorz Challenge of the Americas after his first go-round on the west coast.
“The rain did dampen my spirits a little bit,” Latifi said of championship weekend. “It was gloomy the whole weekend so it just made it kind of miserable. It would have been nice to have more entries in the DD2 category to make for more exciting racing too, but there are not as many Rotax drivers in the West as there are in the East. Still, I found the Gatorz Series was run really well and very organized. I loved the format of the race weekends because the qualifying sessions were very long and included a hot pit which made it much more exciting. The races were lengthy as well, which resulted in great battles towards the closing stages of it. Once again I have to thank my team and mechanics: PSL Karting, Jean-Francois, Coy, David, Tony, Supertune Engines, Critical Zone Racing and of course my parents, who make it all possible.”
Latifi was one PSL driver to qualify for the Rotax Max Grand Finals from the Gatorz Challenge, and another came from the same series as Brazilian Felipe Fraga captured the Rotax Senior Championship in the stormy weather. After prefinal problems led to a P17 drop on Saturday, Fraga rebounded with eighth on Sunday to create a winning margin of 47 points. Fraga dominated qualifying at opening weekend, and after being thumped from a possible win in the opener, reeled off three straight podiums including a win at round four. Eighth in the final run then got the job done, and Fraga is now the second PSL driver with Grand Finals in his future.
Austin Versteeg, Gianfranco Mazzaferro, Sabre Cook and Wes Phillips were also back in action for PSL on the west coast, and full team results are listed below. For more information on the world’s #1 CRG dealer, please visit pslkarting.com.
PSL Karting Results from Gatorz Challenge of the Americas III - Sonoma, California
Nicholas Latifi - 6th, 2nd
Felipe Fraga - 17th, 8th
Wes Phillips - 33rd
Sabre Cook - 32nd, 26th
Austin Versteeg - 6th, 6th
Gianfranco Mazzaferro - 18th, 4th