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eKartingNews.ca Driver Rankings – Rotax Junior as of May 31, 2011

The big story in Junior has to be the sheer number of rookies in the field for 2011. Last year saw many drivers take that last extra year of Junior looking for a title and not a lot of new blood came into the ranks. The decks are now cleared and there are a number of new drivers looking to make a mark on one of the toughest classes on the planet. In total there are 29 new drivers to the rankings all making at least two starts to open the 2011 campaign. The Eastern Canadian Karting Championship (ECKC) has seen ten new pilots join the series, while the newly minted Quebec Cup has five and the Western Canadian Championship (WCC) has a staggering 14. Also up is the number of drivers in the rankings at 95 versus 76 in September of 2010. That’s a 20% increase in the number of drivers with two or more starts, a great sign for the industry. May is one of the busiest month with seven races, three from the ECKC, two from the WCC and two from Quebec Cup. Next month we will drop four races from 2010 and pick up three event for 2011.

Along with the number of rookies, another great story to open the ranking season has to be the huge gains in Junior at the WCC. The opening weekend had 21 drivers running on both days, a 35% increase over last season's opener at the Greg Moore Raceway. And the two story lines are inter-connected as 48% of the Junior grid in 2011 are new drivers as the west continues to grow and the WCC quickly becomes the place to race. Leading the charge of the new blood at the WCC is Parker Thompson (Tony Kart) who has already earned a pass to Team Canada by way of the 2011 Gatorz Challenge of the Americas.

The EKN.ca Rankings have 28 races for drivers to pull out their best five finishes. Of the 95 drivers making two or more starts in the 12-month period from June 2010 to May 2011, there are a total of 482 starts or an average of 5.07 starts per driver. The most races run in the Rankings goes to Jesse Lazare (Intrepid), the only driver with 15 starts in the rankings. The highest placing rookie is ZCD Racing’s Zachary Clamen-DeMelo (Tony Kart) as he sits in 46 spot with just four races to his credit. The biggest mover in the rankings is Maxime Couturier (Tony Kart) who moves up 36 spots from 60th at the end of last year to 24th on this ranking.

On top by a big margin remains the 2010 Top Ranked Junior Jesse Lazare. Taking over second spot is Marc Antoine Cardin (CRG) (Editors note: I had him moving into Senior in my preview) as he jumps up three from his fifth spot at the end of 2010. Austin Milwain (Tony Kart) and Nicholas Latifi (CRG) hold onto third and fourth for now as the two have moved to Senior and DD2 respectively. Olivier Bedard (Birel) is up to sit in fifth place with Cameron Morrison (Tony Kart) jumping up five places to sit in sixth. Lance Stroll (Zanardi) moves up one place although he has moved his program to Europe while Samuel Fontaine (CRG), the 2009 Mini Max National Champion, is up 12 to sit in eighth position. Artem Korolev (Intrepid) will try his luck in Junior for another year as he moves up one to ninth while Zachary Scalzo (Lewis Hamilton) rounds out the top ten. Three of last year's top ten made the move from Junior right to cars as Spencer Todd, Michael Adams and Garett Grist test the formula car ranks in 2011.

Junior Rotax Top Ten - as of May 31, 2011
11N/CJesse Lazare154898
253Marc-Antoine Cardin134772
32-1Austin Milwain94762
43-1Nicolas Latifi64713
572Olivier Bedard144697
6115Cameron Morrison134675
781Lance Stroll74647
82012Samuel Fontaine84597
9101Artem Korolev104580
10144Zachary Scalzo124517

For the complete Rotax Junior Driver Rankings, click HERE


Rotax Junior Number 1, Jesse Lazare (Photo: Cody Schindel - Autosports Media Group)
Rotax Junior Number 1, Jesse Lazare
(Photo: Cody Schindel - Autosports Media Group)

Rotax Junior #1 - Jesse Lazare - on top to start 2011
Dollard des Ormeaux, Quebec

Dominant at the end of last season, the 14-year-old driver is now into his third year of Junior karting and looks to be the one to beat again in 2011. An unlucky 2010 Canadian Nationals kept the quiet Quebec driver from a National title, something he will not be denied in 2011. With three wins, a second and a fourth already this season in just his first five starts, Lazare is up on the field in a big way. Part of the powerhouse Goodwood Kartways/Intrepid Canada squad, Lazare is one of the busiest drivers in the paddock and supported by one the best tuners in Steven Chapman. The two have gelled quickly and will be very tough to beat everywhere they go in 2011.

Point Breakdown
2010 ECKC #5 - Monaco Trois-Rivieries81934
2010 Coupe de Montreal #482971
2010 ECKC #681962
2010 Canadian National Championships1061127
Quebec Championship #281904

Inside the Stats
Average finish: 2.2
Average points: 979.6
Total Points: 4898


Zachary Claman-Demelo  (Photo: Cody Schindel - Autosports Media Group)
Zachary Claman-Demelo
(Photo: Cody Schindel - Autosports Media Group)

Zachary Claman-Demelo – Ready to battle for wins in 2011

A great winter tour season has this Junior rookie ready to race at the front every time out. This kid is not intimidated by anyone and charges straight to the front at every opportunity. So far in four starts in 2011 on Canadian soil, Claman-Demelo has logged a first, a second and sixth along with a 24th. Running as a privateer effort and led by coach Lee Bentham, Claman-Demelo will be a factor in the rankings very soon. As the highest placing rookie in the rankings, look for Claman-Demelo to move toward to the top as he logs more races in 2011 and those out of Junior begin to fall off.

Point Breakdown
ECKC #186869
Quebec Championship #2824696
ECKC #382889

Inside the Stats
Average finish: 8.3
Average Points: 841.3
Total Points: 3365

Up next DD2 Rankings.
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