Today’s Rotax Pro Tour heat racing at Eastern Creek International Karting Raceway has proven to be absolutely thrilling with many fancied contenders for the road to the World Finals finding some tough going, while others are coming to the fore.
Lucas Lichtenberger on his return to the Rotax Pro Tour ended the day with two Rotax Light heat race victories. The only thing that prevented a cleansweep for the Sydney-sider was a DNF in this morning’s first heat after he also set the pole position time.
Chris Sandrone was another to impress finishing the opening heat in second position and posting strong results throughout the rest of the weekend, so too Victorian Wayne Bourke. Kiwi Dylan Drysdale has been among the frontrunners, as has Michael McCulloch and Cameron Longmore. With several front-runners recording non-finishes in some heat races, the 40 kart grid for tomorrow’s pre-final promises excitement.
Kody Garland has impressed in DD2, as has returning former Team Australia Member, Nathan Tigani. The New South Welshmen have shared heat race victories with Queensland-based 15-year-old Jac Preston – who has turned a corner after a disastrous start to his season.
Ryan Kennedy and Damian Ward have shown speed throughout the day thus far – as has Ricciardo Kart driver, Josh Drysdale – brother of Dylan. With the pointscore restarting at this round for DD2, the final points after tomorrow’s final will be fascinating.
Leader of Junior Max, Jaiden Pope has secured two heat victories today, while one of his chief rivals – William Seal – has had a sterling day with a heat win and pair of seconds, which also coincided with his 14th birthday. Crucially, the driver in front of Seal on points – Luke Pink – has battled for pace and is hovering at the back end of the top 10.
James Wharton has been among the frontrunners, however the Shamick Racer was turned around at the start of the opening heat and charged back through to 12th.
Local PPG-backed driver, Beau Pronesti has shown results of his continued improvement over recent events being among the top five throughout, as has another local in Angus Wallace and Victorian Hugh Barter.
DD2 Masters has been one of the highlights of the day. World Champion Troy Woolston began the morning with a dominant heat one win, before heat two – Kris Walton fired back to take the win in a Pro Tour classic. He was pushed all the way by his nemesis before heat three threatened to boil over. Early in the race, Walton collided with the rear of Woolston, which sent the World #1 down the field, however Walton went back further. Woolston pushed forward to finish inside the top three with Jason Pringle taking the win after a very busy heat race.
Three different drivers took the three heat races in an entertaining Rotax Heavy set of heats. Benjamin McMellan, Mitchell Wall and Zac van Leeuwestyn shared the wins, all three of them taking their maiden heat race wins in the Series.
Alexander Rinaldi has been strong, as have Benjamin Ritchie and Tony Bregonje, while Series leader Lane Moore admits he is struggling for long term race pace.
The Mini Max battle between Costa Toparis and Ethan Feather continued today. Toparis got the best of Feather – who came into the weekend straight after recovering from a broken wrist sustained just after the previous round of the Pro Tour. Goulburn’s Toparis got the first two heat race wins, before Feather struck back in heat three taking the win. Cody Maynes-Rutty has been among the top group, while Jack Childs is proving to be a dark horse and North Shore Kart Club racer, Kamal Mrad has been impressive.
Jake Rutkowski has taken two wins in Micro Max, while recording a DNF in the second heat. Peter Bouzinelos accounted for the second heat race win, meantime Max Walton has scored two seconds, Jaxson Burns, James Anagnostiadis and Jenson Burns have all added to an entertaining day’s racing.
Tomorrow, racing starts at 8am with entry to the Eastern Creek International Karting Raceway free of charge.
If you can’t join the Rotax Pro Tour at the track, tune in live at www.facebook.com/rotaxprotour. The livestream of the day’s action is presented by category sponsors including Hornsby Differential, Hayat and Fay Catering, Freem Racewear, Praga Karts Australia, Homebush Karts, and Tillett Seats/IKD.