| Ouellette is now a two-time Rotax World Champion|
(Photo: Cody Schindel - Autosports Media Group)
PSL Karting can now boast its third Rotax Max Challenge World Champion as Pier-Luc Ouellette captured the DD2 crown Saturday at Al Ain Raceway, United Arab Emirates. It’s the same spot he earned a DD2 Grand Final win in 2007, one that came a year after Luc Sauriol won the Masters Rotax Max World Championship in Portugal. The event brought the race season to a close for PSL, one that began when it was named the #1 CRG distributor in the world and now ends with the Rotax World Championship.
Kicking off the week, Ouellette was quickly on the mark at Al Ain, and after dialling into the fastest time for his group in Practice 3, he was fastest outright in Final Practice. Pole position via a new track record followed that same afternoon, and Ouellette headed to heat racing on Thursday and Friday starting each time from P1. The first heat proved worst as he was knocked down to sixth before recovering to third, and runs of first and second followed, leading to pole for Saturday’s prefinal. There he raced a majority in third position before moving back to the lead on lap eleven of fourteen. Starting the Grand Final from pole, Ouellette then led the first three laps before running second from four to fourteen. He regained the lead on fifteen and held it to the checker on twenty-one, edging out Australia’s Jason Pringle by just 0.066 seconds.
Ouellette started the Grand Final with both a Team Canada and PSL/CRG teammate alongside as Nicholas Latifi had a fantastic week himself. The class rookie actually led in all three of his heat races, and after qualifying sixth, won his first heat on Thursday morning. Latifi then raced to fifth in heat two before being thumped to P17 in heat three. Latifi actually controlled the field in that final heat race, but was driven over with just a few corners to go. The result was a big factor in his ranking falling to ninth, but he was right back to the front row after another great drive in the prefinal. After slotting sixth through the opening corners, Latifi quickly worked to fourth and raced through lap ten behind Ouellette. He dropped to fifth through eleven, yet was brilliant in the final three taking a kart on each lap to finish second. He then held the same spot through seventeen laps of the Grand Final and was in podium position on the last lap when punted from contention. A penalty was assessed, yet Latifi was left seventh knowing he belonged on the podium.
A third PSL driver in DD2 could relate, as Team USA’s Kristina Vorndran was often left dealing with the problems of others. In her first heat she found herself thirtieth after lap one yet only took one backward step in rebounding to nineteenth. In heat two Vorndran had a strong start to peek at the top ten, only to have another kart spin in front of her and collect her while returning to the track, ending her day with major damage. Heat three on Friday then saw her P32 after the opening lap and another recovery run to P22, ten spots better. The end result was a trip to the Last Chance Qualifier, where Vorndran again took spots over the race distance from where she sat through one, but the task at hand proved too great with only six drivers transferring.
Florida Winter Tour Masters DD2 Champion Rene Martinelli fared better, as he came through the heats 18-12-12 to advance directly to the prefinal. Dealing with chassis damage from practice in qualifying and the first heat, a new chassis saw him run much stronger in the second and third heats when he was just outside the top ten. Unfortunately for him, his encounter with contact came in the prefinal and it left him P28, the final kart on the lead lap. He started the Grand Final from row fourteen, and again had to deal with contact on the opening lap. The end result was P25.
| Latifi led the DD2 field in all three heat races|
(Photo: Cody Schindel - Autosports Media Group)
After sending ten drivers from three different countries to the previous Grand Final, PSL/CRG qualified six drivers from four different countries for the 2011 edition at Al Ain Raceway: Nicholas Latifi and Felipe Fraga as Gatorz Challenge Champions, Michael Vincec and Rene Martinelli as Florida Winter Tour Champions, and Pier-Luc Ouellette and Kristina Vorndran as National Champions. Vincec and Fraga passed on the event to contest SKUSA SuperNationals XV, giving PSL four competitors at Grand Finals. Each was in a Rotax DD2 kart, a class that PSL is definitely in control of whenever it sends a driver to compete. With Ouellette winning on Saturday, PSL/CRG can now lay claim to the reigning DD2 Rotax World Champion, US National Champion, Canadian National Champion, Florida Winter Tour Champion, Eastern Canadian Karting Championship Champion, and Gatorz Challenge of the Americas Champion!
Any driver with Championship aspirations can see where they ought to be! To learn more about how the World’s #1 CRG distributor can assist you in achieving your racing goals, please visit pslkarting.com. Team PSL Karting will be trackside in 2012 at: The Florida Winter Tour, Pan American Rotax Max Challenge, Eastern Canadian Karting Championship, Quebec Cup, Le Monaco de Trois-Rivieres, United States Grand Nationals, Canadian National Karting Championships, Pan American Championship and SKUSA SuperNationals. Team PSL Karting is associated with: CRG, Maxter Kart Engines, Rotax, Honda, Tillett Racing Seats, Sniper, Unipro, Douglas Wheels, Vega, MG Tires, Arai, Bell, ULV, Mir, Freem, Elf Fuels, Alfano, MaxJet Software, D.I.D. Racing Chains, KC, Power Mist and Long Acre Racing Products.