"Fritz Leesmann takes S1 Pro Tour title while Max Verstappen endures the ultimate heartbreak"
Photo By: Photo by: Cody Schindel/CanadianKartingNews.com
Trois-Rivières, Quebec - November 29, 2012 - Heading to Sin City for the final event on the 2012 calendar, North American karting powerhouse PSL Karting would contest the 16th running of the SuperKarts! USA (SKUSA) SuperNationals. With 27 drivers contesting eight classes on the temporary parking lot circuit at the Rio All Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, PSL branded drivers would earn seven top-ten finishes at the ultra-competitive and challenging event. The annual SuperNats test the skills of the world's best drivers, and Team PSL Karting efforts were highlighted with a podium result and SKUSA Pro Tour championship via North American standout Fritz Leesmann. With the highs also come the lows and the story line of the weekend was Max Verstappen's ultimate heartbreak in the KZ2 main event on Super Sunday.
"We are already looking forward to SuperNats 17!" - Dominic Labrecque
"This event is a big production by the Kutscher family," explained Dominic Labrecque, PSL Karting Team Principal. "Each year it improves with track barriers and this year with the addition of temp curbing. We are already looking forward to SuperNats 17!"
In the S1 Pro Stock Moto category, eyes would be on California native Fritz Leesmann. Locked in a battle for the SKUSA Pro Tour championship title and coveted #1 plate, Leesmann's chase for the title and the all-out race win began with his qualifying effort during Friday's session. Clocking eighth quick, Leesmann may have been behind the eight ball but the shifter star is never one to count out. Moving up to finish the first of three heats in fourth, Leesmann battled back during the second heat on Sunday to score the win with a brilliant last lap pass. The low point of the event would see the 2012 Team USA pilot with a DNF in heat three. Posting the fastest lap in all three heats, Leesmann was set to fight for the win and Pro Tour championship. Methodically making his way to the front of the pack and continually setting fast lap after fast lap during the main, Leesmann found his way to second. Unable to chase down the leader, Leesmann would take second place podium honours and secure the S1 Pro Tour championship for the second time.
Following the celebrations of Leesmann's S1 accomplishments, KZ2 pilots would take to the track for their headline main event. Leesmann would also contest the category, along with two CRG factory pilots who teamed with PSL Karting for this year’s SuperNats, Holland's Jorrit Pex and Max Verstappen. 15-year-old Verstappen quickly became the driver to beat, putting on an impressive display of pole position during qualifying, all three heat race wins as well as all three fast laps during the wheel-to-wheel action of the heat race flight format. Lining up on pole for Super Sunday, all eyes where on the European Champion. Losing out on the holeshot when the lights went green for the start, Verstappen quickly found his way back to where he had been all week long. It all came crashing down by lap four however, as Verstappen's PSL/CRG slowed with a mechanical failure, ending what was such a promising run with the ultimate heartbreak. Team PSL Karting's remaining two pilots would fair well against the world's best with two solid top-ten finishes, as Jorrit Pex claimed a fifth place result while Leesmann was the highest placing North American with his seventh place finish.
"For sure, our CRG factory drivers adapted to the car-park conditions quite fast," added Andrew Campbell, PSL Karting Team Manager. "It was not a surprise to see Pex and Verstappen at the top of the time sheets very early in the week. Unfortunately mechanical failures are part of racing, but we move past this, as they will look forward to their 2013 season."
"It was not a surprise to see Pex and Verstappen at the top of the time sheets very early in the week." - Andrew Campbell
"Well, I think I had a really good week in Vegas," explained Verstappen. "We were fast already in the first couple of practices and made it complete by taking pole and three heat wins! Unfortunately we had a sparkplug issue that took away the victory! I want to say thank you to PSL, CRG and TM for the great support."
"It was the first time for me to compete at the SuperNationals in Las Vegas," added Pex. "In the beginning of the week we were struggling a bit. During the heats we came more to the front. In the final I finished fifth as this was the best possible result could we could achieve. It was a really great weekend with a good organization and I enjoyed working with the PSL team."
Team PSL Karting would earn an additional four top-ten results during SuperNationals XVI. The Diede brothers of Troy and Cody faired well against the field of 44 in the S2 Semi-Pro Stock Moto class. Troy bettered his brother Cody's result with his sixth place finish in the main, but Cody's eighth place finish secured the third place in the overall SKUSA S2 Pro Tour points. In the stacked TaG Junior category, a host of Team PSL Karting pilots would vie for the ultimate win against a record-breaking 82 drivers, but Brazil's Vinicius Papareli was able to climb his way to a respectable eighth place finish. Luiz Felipe Branquinho was also able to add to PSL top-ten results. The TaG Cadet driver posted eighth in qualifying and sixth in the first heat during Friday's competition, but had to recover from a disappointing 33rd in heat two. Bouncing back in the third and final heat with a third place finish, Branquinho added a seventh place result in the racy TaG cadet final.
"Papareli was fast from the beginning on his Iame, and was the first to learn the carburetor tuning techniques," continued Campbell. "Bottom line, there was very good competition present, resulting in every heat race counting for points."
"For next year, we will be evaluating other engine suppliers to yield better results," concluded Campbell. "Now we will turn to Florida where we will begin testing in December in preparation for the 2013 Florida Winter Tour."
Team PSL Karting will now make a quick turnaround to support the nine PSL branded drivers qualified for the Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals, set for November 28-December 1 in Portimao, Portugal.
Team PSL Karting is associated with CRG, Maxter Kart Engines, Rotax, Tillett Racing Seats, Sniper, Unipro, Douglas Wheels, Vega, MG Tires, Arai, Bell, ULV, Mir, Freem, Elf Fuels, Alfano, MaxJet Software, D.I.D. Racing Chains, KC and Power Mist.
To learn more about the World's #1 CRG distributor, sales & service, arrive & drive opportunities, PSL racing engines or dealer opportunities, please visit www.pslkarting.com or www.pslkartingusa.com.