FWT Palm Beach Rotax: Heat Racing Rundown

The young Mathias Ramirez leads Senior into Sunday, Birel ART dominating DD2.

Tyler Gonzalez
Tyler Gonzalez recorded a 2-1-2 heat race tally in Junior MAX.
Photo Credit: Nick Leone/Kart360

Succeeding an exciting day of qualifying, a feeling of great racing to come has surrounded the paddock. Three heat races have been completed, the grids are set, and that feeling is growing.

Junior Max has provided extraordinary racing from the get go. Of the heat races, we have not seen a repeat winner, however, Tyler Gonzalez (Speed Concepts Racing/Tony Kart) has shown great form. Gonzalez, with a 2-1-2 finishing order, will be our pole sitter come tomorrow's pre-final. Henry Cubides (CRG) has shown us how brilliant he is at working a field. Cubides, who qualified ninth, not only worked his way to the top three each heat, but took victory in heat race one. Dylan Gennaro (OGP/Tony Kart) is certainly another contender for tomorrow's final win, with one heat race win under his belt and two third place finishes. Eduardo Barrichello (OGP/Tony Kart) showed signs of improvement following his qualifying efforts, gaining multiple positions per heat. Unfortunately, he was not able to challenge the top five until heat three, with a fourth place finish. Ryan Macdermid (PSL Karting/Birel ART) also struggled to find pace after a great qualifying run, and will start farther back in tomorrow's prefinal.

Mini Max has has provided us with fantastic racing, despite small field sizes. Things got shaken up as the on-track pole position qualifier of Justin Arseneau (PSL Karting/Birel ART) came in underweight, sending him to the back of the field for each heat. To his delight, Elio Giovane (Benik) would be moved to pole position with Aidan Fox (Compkart) outside pole. Neither driver was ready for Dale Curran (Koene USA/Tony Kart), who would take victory in all three heats. Giovane, Arseneau, Fox, and Kyffin Simpson swapped positions for a majority of each heat, challenging Curran, however his control was unbreakable. Curran will start pole for Sundays prefinal, officially.

DD2 always creates paddock buzz, with two DTM drivers, and immense talents competing. The start of heat one was one to forget for Marco Signoretti, as contact with another driver saw him on a ninety degree angle, vertically, in the dirt exiting turn one. On the other side of the field however, it was smooth sailing for Robert Wickens (Prime Powerteam/Birel ART), Jeff Kingsley (PSL Karting/Birel ART), Davide Greco (PSL Karting/Birel ART), and Ethan Simioni (Prime Powerteam/Birel ART). The BirelArt quartet battled lap after lap each heat, with no individual driver truly dominating. Jeff Kingsley and Robert Wickens did pull a substantial gap in heat one, however, the succeeding heats did not see a repeat in performance. Gary Carlton (Formula K) suffered severe chassis issues all weekend, up until heat three where he finished third. It appears to be the beginning of comeback for Carton, although with a DNF and a sixth place finish, he will be starting towards the back tomorrow.

The photo finishes in Micro Max are slowly becoming a trend here this weekend. Two finishes coming to the line by six hundredths in heat one and six thousandths of a second in heat two, have made Micro the class to watch. Emmo Fittipaldi (Goodwood Kartways/Formula K), James Egozi (Keone USA/Benik), and Alex Powell (Speed Concepts Racing/Tony Kart) have controlled the front three spots all weekend. However, it wasn't smooth waters for Powell when in heat one, a below normal pace lap stalled his kart. Unable to refire, he was forced to retire, which allowed Egozi and Fittipaldi to battle without challenge from the field. Fittipaldi controlled the next two heats, taking victory and setting fastest lap. Miguel Costa (PSL Karting/Birel ART) has not appeared to show the pace we are used to seeing, struggling to challenge the top three so far. He and his team will be working diligently to resolve any and all issues for tomorrow.

For the most part, Michel Aboissa (Orsolon Racing/Tony Kart) has had a firm grip on the Masters Max field. With two heat wins and a second place, he and Scott Roberts (Speed Concepts Racing/Tony Kart) appear to be the biggest rivals for the final win. Luis Schiavo (Intrepid) and Danny Robertson (Speed Concepts Racing/Tony Kart) will certainly influence tomorrow's prefinal and final. Schiavo, after qualifying pole, has had a series of misfortunes that have not allowed him to display the same speed he showed in qualifying.

Mathias Ramirez
Mathias Ramirez is a pleasant surprise upfront in Senior MAX, breaking up the status quo.
Photo Credit: Nick Leone/Kart360

Mathias Ramirez (Andersen Racing/Birel ART) is quick on showing us he is a force to be reckoned with in Senior Max. His 1-1-3 finishing order put him on pole over Austin Garrison (Compkart). Garrison looks to be a serious contender for tomorrow's final victory, if he can keep a certain Ryan Norberg (PSL Karting/Birel ART) behind him. Norberg has had an uphill weekend, with a DNF in heat one after a connecting rod failure. Despite this, we was able to bounce back with second in heat two, and a heat three victory. Arthur Leist (RPG/Tony Kart) is another driver who has faced several obstacles this weekend. His strong qualifying and heat one efforts were promising, however following two DNF`s, he will start well down the order in the prefinal. Samuel Lupien (Ben Cooper Racing/Birel ART) is a driver who has been lurking this weekend. After a DNF in heat one then two top four finishes, we can expect to see him and Norberg bring the fight to Garrison and Ramirez.

We look forward to an exciting day of prefinal and final racing in West Palm Beach for the second round of VCI powered by AM Engines Florida Winter Tour presented by Fikse Wheels Palm Beach. With tomorrow's results giving each driver a better idea of who will become series champion, we expect to see fierce on-track battles.