Photo By: Cody Schindel, Autosports Media Group
Team PSL Karting wrapped up its winter season with the close of the Florida Winter Tour and following closely on the heels of two Gatorz Championships the World #1 CRG dealer added three more championships and will now be sending at least four drivers to the Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals! Austin Versteeg, Michael Vincec and Rene Martinelli are the latest champions, while James Dean Laderoute and Anthony Gangi Jr. finished second and third in class to create regular PSL trips up the closing podium at Ocala Gran Prix.
“It’s been an awesome winter season for us in both the West and the East,” said PSL President Dominic Labrecque. “Everybody did a great job, both the drivers and the team. The new CRG chassis worked really well with the new Mojo tires and now we look forward to more championships in the Spring and Summer!”
Nicholas Latifi and Felipe Fraga started the championship roll at Gatorz, and Vincec was next as he wrapped up the FWT DD2 Championship with an impressive Saturday run. After qualifying third and running a controlled race to fourth in the prefinal, best layed plans were tossed in the final when the start turned ugly in turn three. Vincec then found himself 18th and dead last, with 24 laps to recover lost ground.
“The start of the race was good but going into turn two I set myself up to try and pass, ran into trouble, and ended up at the back of the field thinking it was going to be a long race,” Vincec said. “I wasn’t too sure where I would have to finish to close the championship, but the goal was to finish in the top five and secure it. It’s not where I like to be, but I always enjoy a good race from the back!”
What followed was a blitzing drive back to the top five by lap fifteen, and a final resting spot of fourth! The points brought the championship, and Vincec will now return to the Grand Finals for a second time. “Starting off the season with the FWT Championship in DD2 is awesome, and getting a repeat ticket to the Grand Finals this early in the season is great too,” Vincec continued. “PSL is doing a great job as a team with its products and support, and I’m sure you’ll see more championships this year for the team!”
The words would have been prophetic if uttered in the paddock Saturday night, as by the end of Sunday PSL had captured its fourth and fifth of the season: Versteeg in Mini-Max and Martinelli in DD2 Masters! Looking back at the points and drops retrospectively, Martinelli produced championship weekend after a second-place finish on Saturday gave him the lead by just two points. He then won the Sunday prefinal to go up by 22, and kept tabs on those in contention to bring home the title in the final. The result has Martinelli as the fourth PSL driver to earn a spot in the Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals, and the first of the season in Masters DD2.
Also bringing home a championship from Ocala Gran Prix was Versteeg in Mini-Max. Incredible consistency got the job done for the Utah driver, as after finishing fifth in the opening event at Orlando, Versteeg never missed the podium again! He was third in the next start, and after repeating the spot at the first Palm Beach race, was on top of the blocks after race four and taking aim at the title. Another third came from race one at Ocala, and he crossed in the same spot Sunday before being upped to a win after the first and second-place karts were issued technical disqualifications. His margin of victory was 91 points, and PSL had its fifth champion.
All told, Team PSL Karting scored fourteen poles, thirteen wins and thirty-three podiums from Gatorz Challenge of the Americas and Florida Winter Tour action this winter. PSL has registered five championships from four different classes to date in 2011, and has qualified four drivers from three different countries for the Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals. Full team results from Ocala can be seen below. For more information on the World’s #1 CRG dealer, please visit pslkarting.com.
PSL Karting Results from Florida Winter Tour Round 3 - Ocala, Florida
Michael Vincec - 4th * Florida Winter Tour Champion
Nicholas Latifi - 8th, 9th
Rene Martinelli - 2nd, 5th * Florida Winter Tour Champion
Gerald Caseley - 35th, 12th
Nick Rivellini - 16th, 23rd
Simon Lauze - 17th, 35th
Victor Cabrera - 19th, 30th
Etienne LaSalle - 25th, 32nd
Alex Fortin - 11th, 9th
Gavin Reichelt - 12th, 16th
Alex Van Snick - 16th, 17th
Alexandra Gamache - 21st, 23rd
Matt McMurry - 38th, 36th
Sarah McKay - 45th, 39th
Buddie Munn - 42nd, 44th
Austin Versteeg - 3rd, 1st * Florida Winter Tour Champion
Matthew Thomas - 27th, 6th
Jeffrey Kingsley - 14th, 13th
Josh Sirgany - 10th, 29st
James Dean Laderoute - 10th, 2nd * Florida Winter Tour Vice-Champion
Anthony Gangi Jr. - 6th, 3rd * Florida Winter Tour Third
Dylan Tavella - 23rd, 16th
Daniel Rosenstock - 25th, 21st
Giovanni Bromante - 32nd, 28th