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April 26, 2012
Team News: PSL Karting Takes on CRG Factory Support Day & SKC at Nola

PSL Karting's 'CRG Factory Support Day' showcased the championship caliber CRG chassis (Photo: PicsByAl.com)
PSL Karting's 'CRG Factory Support Day' showcased the championship caliber CRG chassis
(Photo: PicsByAl.com)

TROIS-RIVIERES, QUE. (April 25, 2012) - Joining in the festivities as NOLA Motorsports Park, the newest state-of-the-art motorsports complex in North America, hosted its first official regional karting event, PSL Karting was on hand with both factory support personnel and team drivers. With a ‘CRG Factory Support Day’ set up by PSL Thursday before the race weekend, Team PSL Karting drivers were also seen tearing up the NOLA facility during the opening round of the Southeast Karting Challenge.

As the world’s No. 1 CRG distributor, PSL Karting was on hand to lend support to NOLA Motorsports Park’s dealer initiatives, as well as give anyone an opportunity to try out a CRG chassis. The demonstration day was open to the public, with PSL Karting providing race prepped CRG/Rotax race karts. With Micro, Mini, Junior, Senior, and DD2 karts available for testing, event attendees were able to try out whichever chassis was best suited for each driver. Factory PSL technicians and driver coaches were also on hand, and even PSL Karting President Dominic Labrecque was right in the mix as well, helping customers and turning wrenches on the test karts!

"This is the first time we have done a demonstration of this type, open to the public, to freely try all our available chassis models," explained Labrecque. "No other manufacturer or distributor offers this type of service - it gives new drivers a chance to ‘try’ the team, the chassis and see all options available to them. There was no pressure that often comes at races during testing with time restrictions and schedules - this was laid back, relaxed and definitely fun for all! Stephan St-Charles, VP and Operations Director at PSL, was even able to hop into a kart for the first time!"

"Wow, what a ride! I now have a lot of respect for these young kids, who run 600 laps in a week during a big event!" added St-Charles.

With participants able to test drive the potent CRG chassis, get a feel for the championship powerhouse squad, and meet team principals and personnel, those who took part certainly took away just as much as the entire PSL operation did by hosting this special event.

"For PSL Karting USA, and our continued relationship with NOLA Motorsports, this was a huge event for us. It’s important to keep our dealers up-to-date with the latest chassis and motor combinations, as we are constantly developing the CRG product to extend the brand’s successful legacy in the North American market," added Andrew Campbell, PSL Karting’s US Sales Manager. "I really feel we made some great connections with new clients who were able to clearly see the competitive edge the CRG chassis has, and also visually see how passionate and professional PSL Karting is about this sport."

With a successful ‘CRG Factory Support Day’ complete, PSL Karting then turned their attention to what it is all about: on-track, wheel-to-wheel racing action. The world-class NOLA Motorsports Park karting circuit, which features a full service pro-shop, restaurant, free wi-fi for live timing, live timing screens, rental karts, and a CIK-FIA approved track with proper curbing, was host to the first round of the inaugural season of the Rotax Max Challenge sanctioned Southeast Karting Challenge. Team PSL Karting drivers Austin Versteeg, Pedro Cardoso, and Matt Thomas took in the racing action, and true to form PSL/CRGs were seen at the front of the pack all weekend long.

The PSL Karting Mini Max duo of Pedro Cardoso (543) and Matt Thomas (587) made for some thrilling racing action at NOLA Motorsports Park (Photo: PicsByAl.com)
The PSL Karting Mini Max duo of Pedro Cardoso (543) and Matt Thomas (587) made for some thrilling racing action at NOLA Motorsports Park
(Photo: PicsByAl.com)

Taking on the Rotax Mini Max class, 2011 Florida Winter Tour Mini Max champion Cardoso was quick right from the start, putting his 2012 CRG BIG AL on pole position during the fifth lap of Saturday’s qualifying session. With a track layout that provides extremely close racing in the infield section, the back straight can leave a driver four-tenths a lap slower without a drafting partner. Thomas found himself in this situation, running in sixth place during the opening stages of the session. A hot-pit allowed for some last minute strategic planning between Campbell and Labrecque, as the duo decided to pull Cardoso in to wait for Thomas with six minutes to go in the session. The plan paid off in the end, as Thomas was able to get the draft he needed to move up to P2, creating an all PSL front-row for prefinal action. The prefinal was much the same, as the duo crossed one-two after the 12-lap race.

"We were very excited to have Matty and his family back with our PSL Team," explained Campbell. "Thomas has always been a consistent front-runner throughout North American racing. I feel with our support and his team of mechanics, Mike Thomas and Chino, drivers will dread to see his name on any entry list!"

"This is the nicest track I have been to! I think when the world finds out about this track, there will be more people who come here!" added Versteeg.

And that notion held very true during the day’s final race. The feature was a battle to the end, with Thomas running faster lap times than his PSL teammate. Playing it smart, Thomas pushed Cardoso to a 10-second gap ahead of the second pack of karts, leaving the two to duke it out for the race win. Working the last lap, Thomas pulled a strategic move to get by Cardoso. With just two corners remaining, Cardoso was able to sneak back by Thomas, forcing his teammate to the outside and crossing the finish line mere inches in front of Thomas to take the victory.

"Mini Max is the training ground for drivers to develop and grow confidence in themselves," Campbell continued. "With Thomas and Cardoso leading our Mini Max team, they are both great role models for upcoming drivers."

Sunday saw a repeat of Saturday’s qualifying efforts for the PSL Mini Max duo. With tire wear becoming an issue due to the lack of rubber on the new surface, the new era CRG BIG AL chassis was able to handle the conditions better than any other chassis on track. Another prefinal one-two finish started off the wheel-to-wheel action for the two Mini Max drivers. The start of Sunday’s final saw Cardoso and Thomas pull away early, but a small driving error caused Thomas to lose the draft. With Cardoso pulling away and on a mission to drive lap after lap within one 100th of consistency, the rising talent was able to go on to a 1.308 second victory over his teammate.

"Cardoso and Thomas put on a show both days – you could hear both drivers names being mentioned throughout the pits Sunday evening in regard to the great race the Brazilian and Florida based racers drove!" exclaimed Campbell.

Austin Versteeg battled some tough competition to score pole position and heat race win at Nola Motorsports Park (Photo: PicsByAl.com)
Austin Versteeg battled some tough competition to score pole position and heat race win at Nola Motorsports Park
(Photo: PicsByAl.com)

Taking on the Rotax Junior category, Versteeg would post some excellent results during some tough competition. Posting third place results on Saturday, including the fastest lap time during the prefinal event, Versteeg would then up the ante on Sunday taking the pole position after a tight qualifying session. Again posting fast lap in the prefinal, but this time taking the heat race win, Versteeg would come home with another third place finish to end his weekend with a double-podium result.

"This is the nicest track I have been to!" exclaimed Versteeg. "I think when the world finds out about this track, there will be more people who come here! There were only eight Junior drivers in this new series, but the competition was tough as I made a few mistakes at the beginning of the race and it cost me. I finished third both days and am happy, but know I could have driven better."

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, ASN Canada FIA Canadian National Karting Championships and SKUSA SuperNationals. Team PSL Karting is associated with CRG, Maxter Kart Engines, Rotax, 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 and Power Mist.

To learn more about the World's #1 CRG distributor, sales & service, arrive & drive opportunities, PSL racing engines or dealer opportunities, please visit http://www.pslkarting.com or http://www.pslkartingusa.com
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