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What we Learned: 2015 Rotax Challenge of the Americas Sonoma

Controversy, more controversy, and tickets to the Grand Finals

Luke Selliken flying for the tic-tac-toe section
Photo Credit: Cody Schindel/CKN

Consistency Pays off

The 2015 Senior Max Championship came down to the final laps in Sunday’s final. After Saturday’s results the championship would come down to a battle between Christian Brooks (Nash Motorsportz/Tony Kart) and Luke Selliken (RPG/Kosmic). In Sunday’s prefinal Christian Brooks was knocked off track and finished 12th, but was still in the points lead. In the final Luke Selliken battled early for the lead, but was unable to hang on to Mason Marotta (RPM/Tony Kart). In the meantime Brooks was working his way through the field turning the fastest laps of the race finally ending up third, one position behind Selliken. With the second place finish Luke Selliken won the 2015 Challenge of the Americas Championship without winning a final. His consistency of finishing on the podium gave him a four-point edge over Brooks in the final standings.

#FuelGate

On Friday two championship contenders running BN Racing Engines were disqualified from Saturday’s event after failing a fuel test. This all started when series officials witnessed an unknown substance being mixed into a fuel jug. After being confronted and the substance being identified a new fuel test was created, which led to Mason Marotta being disqualified.

This has raised the question of, how long has this been going on for and who else has been doing this? Also, what will MAXSpeed do at the Florida Winter Tour and future events to make sure this doesn't happen?

Michael Michoff who?

With his second win of the season Sting Ray Robb (BBR Karting/Tony Kart) locked up his 2015 Junior Max championship and his ticket to the Rotax Grand Finals. This win also marked the fifth straight final that was won by either Robb or Brueckner. Roseville, CA resident Michael Michoff (RPG/Kosmic) broke the streak. The Rolison Performance Group pilot battled early with David Ilavia (COMPKART) and Nick Brueckner (Orsolon Racing/Tony Kart). Ilavia could not hang on to the lead group and faded to a 5th place finish.

Sting Ray Robb takes the title with the win on Saturday.
Photo Credit: Cody Schindel/CKN

This made it a two-kart battle for the win. Brueckner led the two as they took the white flag, but Michoff made an impressive move into turn five catching Brueckner off guard. The pass gave the RPG driver a small gap, which he kept to take the victory and the first for RPG in this year’s COTA.

Michael Michoff
Photo Credit: Cody Schindel/CKN

A Championship Decided in the Stewards Office

DD2 may have been the smallest category this year, but it was one of the hardest fought battles for the championship. Coming into the weekend three drivers were in the hunt for the championship, but Matt Jaskol decided not to compete, which left it to Sabre Cook (CRG USA) and Michael Ilavia (COMPKART). Ilavia came into the weekend in second, and had to be perfect for a chance at the title. He did just that winning both Saturday and Sunday’s final. Sunday’s final was one of the most exciting races of the weekend as the duo passed each other back and forth. On the final lap they continued to exchange the lead. Cook led Ilavia into the final corner, but the COMPKART pilot made a final lunge for the championship and he nailed it taking the win and a ticket to the worlds, or at least everyone thought.

There was no penalties given, but after the race Cook protested the win due to contact from earlier in the final and won the protest. It is too bad that a title that came down to a clean last corner pass was ultimately decided off of the track.

Sabre Cook
Photo Credit: Cody Schindel/CKN

PSL Mini X2 wins Title

The Mini Max category had four drivers in the hunt this past weekend for the title. On Saturday Payton Durant (Koene USA/Tony Kart) took the win and the points lead as Sebastian Alvarez (PSL West) finished fifth and Marco Kacic (PSL West) did not finish. On Sunday Grant Langon (PSL West) took a dominating win, followed Alvarez. Durant retired from the event after being involved in a first lap incident, which allowed Alvarez to win the title nearly unchallenged. Jak Crawford (Nash Motorsportz/Tony Kart) tied for second in the standings and Kacic fell to fifth after a disastrous weekend destroying two karts in incidents.

Sebastian Alvarez
Photo Credit: Cody Schindel/CKN