Portimao 2012: 11 Canadian drivers in the final round
30 November 2012
The last qualifying heat took place today in every class as well as the 2nd chance race to determine the starting grid of the prefinal race tomorrow. The weather was a problem all day and competitors had to regularly switch from wet to dry and back to wet. The day started on a surprising note when two junior drivers, American Santino Ferrucci and French Anthony Fotia where excluded from the event because they pushed each other at scale at the end of their second heat race held yesterday.
Parker Thompson was the first of our junior team member to race in his third heat race. In the first lap, he went from 4th to 22nd finally finishing in 24th place. Fortunately for him, his two first results were good enough to place him directly for the final round.
Zachary Claman-DeMelo, Zacharie Scalzo and Tommy Lemaire-Ouellet were racing in the 2nd group. Because he couldn’t finish his first heat race, Claman De-Melo needed to have a strong finish to avoid the 2nd Chance race. With a 4th place finish, he secured his place in the final round of tomorrow. For Lemaire Ouellet (15th) and Scalzo (17th), we had to wait until the posting of the official standings to see if they were qualified for the final phase or had to race in the 2nd Chance race. Scalzo got his pass for the final round, taking the 28th and last direct spot available but Lemaire-Ouellet had to race in the 2nd Chance race. Starting 3rd in this ultimate race, during the warm-up lap, a contact with another competitor damaged his right tie rod and he couldn’t withstand the assaults from the other competitors. He finished 15th and his event is now over.
Tomorrow, Claman-DeMelo will start 17th on the pre-final grid while Thompson will start 20th and Scalzo 28th.
With two 6th place finish, Jesse Lazare could get a good starting position for tomorrow with another good result. He had another great drive securing 2nd place in the last heat. Marco DiLeo was again starting far back on the grid and needed to get many positions to move directly to the final phase. His 15th place finish was enough. For Bryce Choquer, he had a lot of work ahead because of his 35th place yesterday when he did not finish his second heat. This time, he did not even participate in the third heat when he was part of a group of 10 drivers he couldn’t change their tires on time after the rain started while the drivers where on the pre-grid. His final standings were not even good enough for him to take part of the 2nd chance race.
In the prefinal race tomorrow, Lazare will start from position 8 and DiLeo from position 21.
With his two wins yesterday, Scott Cambpell was assured to qualify for the final round whatever happened in the last heat race. He drove a safe race and his 5th place at the checkered will place him in the first row tomorrow. Stuart Clark and Luc Sauriol were also in good position to qualify directly for the final round and their respective 14th and 18th place finish were good enough.
Scott Campbell will start from the 2nd place in the prefinal while Stuart Clark and Luc Sauriol will both start on the 9th row.
Just like Scott Campbell, Ben Cooper secured his place on the final round with two wins yesterday. Cooper continued his winning streak with a third win in three heat races. Nicholas Latifi, with a 2nd and a 3rd place yesterday, was also assured to complete the event. A strong 5th place finish today will place him in a very good position on the grid tomorrow. Lots of work was needed by Zacharie Richard-Robichon and Pier-Luc Ouellette because of a start for this event which was way below their expectations. Richard-Robichon offered another solid performance, finishing 9th after he started from the 20th spot on the grid. Pier-Luc Ouellette absolutely needed a very good final heat to be part of the 2nd chance race. His 15thplace at the finish in the last heat, despite damaged brakes in the first lap assured his spot for the next race. In the 2nd Chance race, he started 30th and even with a fantastic race where he passed 16 drivers, it was not enough to get a place in the final round.
On the starting grid of the prefinal race tomorrow, Ben Cooper will be on pole, Nicholas Latifi will start 4th and Zacharie Richard-Robichon 27th. Final races will take place after lunch and we will then know the new Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals champions. Follow the action live on internet through RACE-TV.
Today’s video is extracts from the official press conference where top 3 drivers after the heat races were invited. You will see Ben Cooper, 1st in DD2 and Scott Campbell, 2nd in DD2 Masters. Video of the day