Round two of Florida Winter Tour 2017 Rotax weekend has kicked off. The premium categories are well stocked, led by 31 drivers in Junior MAX, however, other categories are showing weaker numbers than expected. Nevertheless, gorgeous weather and cut throat competition in each category wont leave us disappointed.
Junior MAX was the first category up, holding the honors of largest field for the weekend. Of the 31 drivers, Tyler Gonzalez (Speed Concepts Racing/Tony Kart) would come through as pole sitter with Dylan Gennaro (OGP/Tony Kart) in second, and Ryan Macdermid (PSL Karting/Birel ART) in third. Yuven Sundaramoorthy (PSL Karting/Birel ART) did not display the pace we expect to see, after proving in the past that his qualifying speed is a force to be reckoned with. Arias Deukmedjian (Deuk Spine/Kosmic) was another front runner who failed to break into the top five this weekend. Both Sundaramoorthy and Deukmedjian will have their work cut out come the heat races.
Mini MAX qualifying saw Justin Arseneau (PSL Karting/Birel ART), Elio Giovane (Benik), and Aidan Fox (Compkart) battle for pole. Track conditions began to change, as rubber was laid down. Times picked up and caught some by surprise while others benefited. Arseneau would take pole over Giovane, with Aidan Fox in third, three tenths off pole. In post-race tech, Arseneau would come in under weight, demoting him to the tail end of the field and Giovane promoted to the top spot. Track conditions may have caught Fox off guard, however, the vice 2016 U.S. Open Champion can surely bounce back.
In DD2, Davide Greco (PSL Karting/Birel ART), Robert Wickens (Prime Powerteam/Birel ART), and Jeff Kingsley (PSL Karting/Birel ART) were quick to get on track. As the trio laid down times, the likes of Gary Carlton (Goodwood Kartways/Formula K), Marco Signoretti (Energy Corse North America) and Cedrik Lupien (Ben Cooper Racing/Birel ART) remained on grid. Wickens would claim pole, followed by Kingsley, then Simioni. Carlton, who has suffered issues all week was shockingly four tenths off pole. Starting in ninth each heat race will be a challenge he must overcome with wishes to repeat last weekend's performance in ROK Shifter.
Micro MAX always puts on a show, as qualifying has already proven that statement. With drivers swapping purple times each lap, it would be Alex Powell (Speed Concepts Racing/Tony Kart) who claimed the final right to pole position. James Egozi (Koene USA/Tony Kart) would follow in second, with Emmo Fittipaldi (Goodwood Kartways/Formula K) in third. Times after third place would space out, as the rest of the field was over five tenths off pole. Miguel Costa (PSL Karting/Birel ART) surprisingly qualified sixth, appearing to struggle with track conditions.
Masters MAX always provides a great show, with the likes of Scott Roberts (Speed Concepts Racing/Tony Kart) and Luis Schiavo (Intrepid) competing. To our surprise, despite a smaller field, the top five would qualifying within two tenths of each other. Luis Schiavo stole pole position from Scott Roberts, and Michel Aboissa (Orsolon Racing/Tony Kart) would trail in third. Such close times always foreshadow exciting weekends, however it may be all too soon to tell.
Senior Rotax has seen Ryan Norberg (PSL Karting/Birel ART) to claim ownership of the national scene. The PSL Birel ART driver would go on to take pole by two tenths of a second after completing just three laps. With Arthur Liest (Rolison Performance Group/Tony Kart) in second, and Mathias Ramirez (Andersen Racing/Birel ART) in third, Senior Max is becoming the class to watch this weekend. Ramirez has shown a drastic increase in pace, after failing to show his legs at round one in Homestead. Starting in the top three will be a massive boost of confidence for the Anderson Racing Birel ART driver. Austin Garrison (Compkart) who placed the fourth fastest time won't be pleased, however, he'll be hungry to regain dominance in his rivalry with Norberg. Victor Franzoni (PKS/Zanardi) is another name who failed to meet expectation in terms of pace. After an excellent run in the RoK weekend, he'll be forced to start in seventh for all three heats.
That wraps up Kart360`s coverage of qualifying in Palm Beach. Tomorrow we will analyze heat races, which will determine where each driver will start come Sunday's Pre-final. It`s certainly appearing to be an action packed weekend, with more in store.