Photo By: Cody Schindel - Autosports Media Group
Goodwood Kartways / Intrepid Canada wrapped its 2011 Florida Winter Tour in Championship fashion a week ago as Intrepid drivers stood on all three steps of the championship podium when the Winter Tour came to a close. Jesse Lazare was third in the final Rotax Junior points, Marco Di Leo was second in the Rotax Senior points, and Carlo Rinaldi became a Florida Winter Tour Champion when he swept his way to the Rotax Masters Championship! The individual race weekend itself was incredibly successful as well, with Intrepid Canada scoring four wins, six podiums and seven fastest laps at Ocala Gran Prix.
Focussed on the champion first, Rinaldi lined up an outside bid at the title when he won race four at Palm Beach, but was facing a tough road in Ocala after contact in the Saturday prefinal led to P12 and row six on the grid. Undeterred, the Masters driver then proved master of the class when the final took the track later that day.
“From the point of contact onward, Carlo was nothing less than perfect,” said his Goodwood/Intrepid tuner Leonard D’Arrigo. “He went P12 to P1 in the final and it was an unbelievable performance. The guy is just all heart. He wanted to win this championship from the beginning and he gave it one hundred per cent every day; Amazing to work for!
“Going into Sunday we knew he needed the maximum 250 points to secure the championship and that’s exactly what he got. He made a great start in the prefinal, took the lead early and gapped the lead group. For the final we made just a few small touch changes and we were ready. It was the prefect driver in the perfect kart, and the HRS motor was nothing less than amazing; he really gave no chance to anyone as he walked away!”
Rinaldi won the 18-lap final by over four seconds, but the championship by just twenty points! Another team driver looked to be creating a similar storyline, as Di Leo started sixth on Saturday, then won both the prefinal and final with fastest lap. His second win of the schedule took him to second in points, and he was then just 32 back. Sunday began well starting from third and finishing second in the prefinal, but having the point leader on his rear bumper certainly proved unfortunate in the final, and Di Leo had to settle for being Vice-Champion.
“We knew going in that it was essentially a head-to-head for the championship, but he obviously knew that as well,” said Di Leo of the final race showdown. “I was ahead of him twice in the final, and twice found myself in the dirt coming out of the hairpin. The second time I fell to sixth, and the championship was gone.”
After recovering from a start that didn’t go as planned, Di Leo had slotted fourth but was sixth at the end of one. He quickly worked back forward to a high point of third, only to find himself on the grass once again the next time through the hairpin. He regained the track sixth the second time, but his championship hopes had been dashed. Still, the race team manager was able to put his own result aside, and focus on a strong overall race weekend for the team once again.
“I’m very pleased the success of Goodwood Kartways / Intrepid Canada at the 2011 Florida Winter Tour,” Di Leo said in summarizing. “To take four wins and a top-five in every class at the final event on the schedule really shows the determination of our drivers and the quality of our Intrepid chassis / HRS Engine package. Our tent was filled with happy faces all tour long, and it was great to support our Venezuelan amigos!”
The fourth team win that Di Leo eluded to was scored by DD2 driver Dalton Kellett. After being knocked about on Saturday, he started from P3 on Sunday, finished the prefinal in second and took the final after post-race penalties were assessed.
“When I came across the line I saw the black and checkered being waved so immediately I knew that there was a time penalty to be assessed, however I did not know for whom it was,” Kellett said of the Sunday final. “During the race though I was fully concentrated on staying consistent and fast so that I could either capitalize on a mistake made by the leader or be in a good position to make a last lap pass to take the lead.
“We found our pace early on in the week so I was confident that I would be in a good place for a podium finish and that I had a shot at running for a win. We certainly were happy with our performance in qualifying and after our second-place finish in the pre-final I was prepared to battle for the win in the final. To get it felt great, for both myself and my driver coach / tuner Darryl Timmers. The fact that it was my first win at a major event made it even better.”
Other Intrepid drivers also ran strong at the finale, leading to a top-five finish in every class. While Rinaldi, Di Leo and Kellett had wins in Masters, Senior, and DD2, Lazare was on the podium in Junior, Karter Hickling was fifth in Mini-Max and Leonardi Rinaldi showed he’s got the same family speed gene as his champion dad with a fifth in Micro-Max.
Goodwood Kartways/Intrepid Canada Driver Results
Florida Winter Tour Rotax Max Challenge - Event 3, Ocala, Florida
Dalton Kellett, Canada - 17th, 1st
Diego Ferreira, Venezuela - 10th, 4th
Enrico Menotti, Canada - 9th, 6th
Reid Arnold, Canada - 6th, 17th
Rotax Max Masters
Carlo Rinaldi, Venezuela - 1st, 1st * Florida Winter Tour Champion
Enrico Friso, Venezuela - 2nd, 6th
Andrew Calabrese, Canada - 13th, 5th
John Cariati, Canada - 17th, 9th
Rotax Max Senior
Marco Di Leo, Canada - 1st, 38th * Florida Winter Tour Vice-Champion
Dalton Kellett, Canada - 9th, 15th
Rotax Max Junior
Jesse Lazare, Canada - 4th, 3rd * Florida Winter Tour Third
Karter Hickling, Canada - 23rd, 5th
Davide Greco, Canada - 21st, 27th
Leonardo Rinaldi, Venezuela - 5th, 13th
Russell Boyle, Canada - 24th, 29th
Victor Prato, Venezuela - 27th, 30th
*Team Facts: Intrepid Canada is based at Goodwood Kartways in Stouffville, Ontario, Canada, where drivers can progress from turning rental kart laps to world championships. Home to the Arrive & Drive Canadian Rookie Karting Championship and the Toronto Racing Association of Karters club program, the Goodwood Kartways/Intrepid Canada race team represents the facility at National and International Championships like the Florida Winter Tour, Pan-American Rotax Max Challenge, Eastern Canadian Karting Championship and Canadian National Championships.
It has also had drivers contest the SuperKarts! USA SuperNationals, the World Karting Association Manufacturer’s Cup, the Rotax European Championship, the Rotax International Open Championship and the Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals. Goodwood Kartways/Intrepid Canada operates in conjunction with Intrepid Kart Technology, HRS Racing Engines, IMAF Racing Seats, VPD, Chapman Racing Services and Intremax. For more information, please visit www.goodwoodkartways.com