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May 25, 2012 News
Eastern Canadian Karting Championship Kicks Off 2012 Season
 

Pier-Luc Ouellette will return to DD2 action in the ECKC after contesting Rotax Max at the Florida Winter Tour (Photo: Autosports Media Group)
Pier-Luc Ouellette will return to DD2 action in the ECKC after contesting Rotax Max at the Florida Winter Tour
(Photo: Autosports Media Group)

The moment Canadian karters from across Ontario, Quebec, the Maritimes and beyond have been waiting for is finally here, as the third edition of the Eastern Canadian Karting Championship gets underway on Friday (May 25) at Goodwood Kartways in Stouffville, Ont. With a renewed focus on drivers and teams, as well as new venues on the 2012 schedule, this season is certain to be the best yet. Attracting top-caliber drivers in all categories to their premier series, this weekend marks what series officials have worked so hard for in the off-season. As karters descend upon the recently renovated Goodwood facility, the smell of fuel, the roar of engines and the squeal of tires will awaken the inner racer in not only the competitors, but also family members, friends, and fans who will take in the action this weekend at Goodwood.

With four tickets to the Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals on the line, the Rotax Max categories are certain to draw the best and brightest talent to what is arguably the most competitive and talent-laden fields in Canada. The Rotax Max DD2 class is certainly no exception. Two entries alone combine for not one, not two, not three, but four Rotax World Championship titles. PSL Karting’s Pier-Luc Ouellette will make his return to ECKC competition not only as the reigning class champion and Canadian National Champion, but also the reigning World Champion. After taking on the Rotax Senior class this winter in Florida, Ouellette will return to the class that has provided him with unmatched glory and has elevated him to hero status in all of Canadian karting. Combine that notion with another two-time World Champion, and you can bet the fences will be packed when the DD2s roll out onto the track. As the reigning Grand Finals Rotax Max champion, SRA Karting’s Ben Cooper will take on the two-speed class at the Eastern Canadian Karting Championship. Cooper earned his first world title back in 2008 in the same class, and has already secured his 2012 invitation via his Florida Winter Tour Rotax Senior championship. With the huge fields and incredibly tough competition the ECKC has become known for in the DD2 category, it will definitely be a treat to see Cooper take on the class. Another driver looking to knock both Cooper and Ouellette out of the spotlight is another SRA Karting/Birel driver, Christophe Boisclair. The 2011 ECKC DD2 Vice-Champion is never one to count out, and although the young champion doesn’t have a world title to boast, he can claim five Canadian National titles, as well as a record eight trips to the RMCGF. Rotax DD2 marks the headline class at the Goodwood round, so be sure to have your place when the green flag drops for the finals – you won’t want to miss it!

Rotax Max will also see its share of incredible talent. Home track hero Marco DiLeo, the two-time ECKC series champion, will look to make it three-for-three as the 2012 series gets underway at his family’s facility in Stouffville, Ont. DiLeo was a double winner at the Goodwood rounds in 2011, and the Intrepid North America pilot knows the 10-turn, 1.2-km track better than anyone. Hoping to give DiLeo a run for his money is current Rotax Max Canadian National Champion Steven Szigeti. The calm, yet calculated SH Karting driver has already tasted victory in 2012, taking Florida Winter Tour Vice-Champion honours on the strength of consistent runs throughout the tour and the penultimate round win. With Szigeti’s father David working the wrenches on his Tony Kart, the duo have proved to be a potent pair time and time again and hope the 2012 ECKC will be no different. Fresh off a solid finish in the Rotax Euro Challenge, Jesse Lazare returns from his trip across the pond to make his Senior debut on Canadian soil.
 

Parker Thompson will be one to watch in Rotax Junior after taking a win at the Western Canadian Championships (Photo: Autosports Media Group)
Parker Thompson will be one to watch in Rotax Junior after taking a win at the Western Canadian Championships
(Photo: Autosports Media Group)

The Rotax Junior Max category will also see the return of a reigning ECKC champion. Making the switch to the CRG chassis brand this spring, Zachary Claman-DeMelo will again take on the Rotax Junior competition with support from his ZCD Autosport crew and PSL Karting. A feisty competitor, Claman-DeMelo has spent the latter part of the year at the first two rounds of the Florida Winter Tour before making his debut with the CRG Factory team in Europe. 2011 ECKC Rotax Junior Vice-Champion Cameron Morrison will also return to action in the 2012 edition of the series. The GreenSpeed Karting/Tony Kart driver was the Round 2 winner last year at Goodwood Kartways, and went on to solidify multiple podium results throughout the series. Two other Rotax Junior drivers to keep on the radar include 2011 ECKC Mini Max Champion Jeffrey Kingsley. Making his national debut in the Junior class, Kingsley recently made the switch to the potent SRA Karting/Birel team, and will look to be successful in his rookie year. Red Deer, Alberta’s Parker Thompson has made the trek across the country to take in the ECKC competition. Coming off a win at the Western Canadian Championships last weekend, Thompson is sure to be a threat in the competitive Junior category.

2012 will mark the first invitation to the RMCGF for a Rotax DD2 Masters driver. The 32 and over category will feature a host of talented competitors, including 2006 Rotax Masters World Champion Luc Sauriol and 2011 Pan Am Champion and Team Canada member Stuart Clark. Another to watch is John Cariati, who has made the move to the DD2 category in 2012 after taking the now defunct Rotax Masters class title in 2011.

Micro Max and Mini Max complete the line-up of Rotax categories, are both certain to offer exciting action as seen in the past.

The Briggs & Stratton classes will make their debut in the Eastern Canadian Karting Championship this weekend at Goodwood Kartways, as the newly established Briggs & Stratton championship gets set to contest all six rounds in both Ontario and Quebec in 2012. Making up a national four-stroke category, the new Local Option 206 platform will see drivers in Junior 1, Senior, and Masters as it continues to gain popularity while offering a similar model to the Rotax program.

The 2012 Eastern Canadian Karting Championship kicks off with official practice on May 25, with two full days of racing action set for Saturday (May 26) and Sunday (May 27). The green flag drops for finals both days at 3:15 pm local time. Full event schedules are available at http://www.eckc.ca

The Eastern Canadian Karting Championship is an ASN-sanctioned, four round, six race series with venues in both Ontario and Quebec. Now in its third year, the ECKC will start off the 2012 season at Goodwood Kartways in Stouffville, Ont., on May 26-27 for the first doubleheader weekend. Circuit ICAR will host the third race in Mirabel, Que., on June 17, followed by the second double-race weekend at Mosport International Karting in Bowmanville, Ont., on June 30-July 1. The series will conclude at the Monaco Grand Prix of Trois-Rivieres on July 29, the prestigious street race set at the site of the GP3R at Exposition Park. The Eastern Canadian Karting Championship is a Rotax Max Challenge series and will award Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals tickets to the Rotax Senior, Rotax Junior, Rotax DD2, and Rotax DD2 Masters class champions. In 2012, the Briggs & Stratton classes will contest the series six-race series, making up a national four-stroke championship. For more information on the Eastern Canadian Karting Championship, please visit http://www.eckc.ca
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