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June 15, 2012 News
ECKC Takes on Circuit ICAR for Round 3

Marco DiLeo's two wins in the Rotax Senior class have him leading the way heading into round three (Photo: Cody Schindel - CKN)
Marco DiLeo's two wins in the Rotax Senior class have him leading the way heading into round three
(Photo: Cody Schindel - CKN)

After a successful start to the 2012 Eastern Canadian Karting Championship just a few weeks ago, the series is set to host the third of six rounds this weekend (June 16-17) at Circuit ICAR in Mirabel, Quebec. The facility, located on the now closed Mirabel International Airport grounds, is the home of PSL Montreal, and features a 1-km karting track designed by Formula One World Champion Jacques Villeneuve.

The challenging and unique layout will play host to the ECKC for the first time in series history this weekend, and will be a new track for many series drivers. With two rounds in the books after the Goodwood Kartways opening weekend, Round 3 marks the halfway point for Canada’s premier karting series. Championship point battles are already heating up and rivalries have been established, and if the first two rounds are any indication of what is to come, drivers, teams, and spectators are in for more spectacular racing action this weekend.

The third round of the Coupe du Quebec will start off the doubleheader race weekend on Saturday (June 16), with the ECKC series on track Sunday (June 17). A picture perfect weekend is forecasted for the Mirabel area and entries are expected to be high with the added Coupe du Quebec action, as well as with the series marking its first stop in Quebec. A host of drivers from Western Canada and the US are also getting in on the intense ECKC action, as Rotax Grand Finals invitations and spots on Team Canada are on the line make for deep and talented fields across the board.

Terrebonne, Quebec’s Pier-Luc Ouellette (PSL Karting/CRG) leads the way in the headline Rotax DD2 class. The reigning DD2 ECKC, Canadian National and World Champion walked away from the Goodwood rounds with two feature wins to his credit, as well as the overall points lead over another reigning Rotax World Champion. 40 markers behind Ouellette, SRA Karting’s Ben Cooper certainly gave Ouellette a run for his money in the first two rounds, scoring the pole position and prefinal win in Round 1. Ouellette will likely hold the advantage at the PSL Montreal facility he knows well, but Cooper’s prowess cannot be discounted. Cooper’s teammate Christophe Boisclair (SRA Karting/Birel) currently sits in third in the overall standings and was the Coupe du Quebec winner in Mirabel in 2011. Winnipeg, Manitoba’s Daniel Burkett (GBR Karting/LH Kart) is never one to count out. With the class championship his goal in 2012, Burkett will look to turn his Round 2 podium finish into a win at ICAR. The 2012 Florida Winter Tour Rotax DD2 champion will be another threat in the stacked DD2 field, as Nicholas Latifi (Sofina/CRG) will make his first ECKC start of 2012 following a break in his Italian F3 schedule.

In DD2 Masters, double podium finisher Stuart Clark (Prime Powersports/Maranello) holds point over Round 1 winner and 2006 Rotax Masters World Champion Luc Sauriol (PSL Karting/CRG) and Round 2 winner Marc-André Bourgeois (PSL Karting/CRG). All three are serious contenders for the coveted Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals (RMCGF) ticket, as 2012 marks the first DD2 Masters invite in the ECKC series. Looking to derail all three will be 2012 Florida Winter Tour DD2 Masters champion and karting star Alan Rudolph. The Arizona-based driver has already secured his place on Team USA for the RMCGF and will join in with his PSL Karting squad at their PSL Montreal branch.

A bevy of talent abounds in the deep and ultra-competitive Rotax Senior field. Marco DiLeo (Intrepid North America/Intrepid) was the class of the field at his home track for the opening rounds, and will look to maintain the gap in the point lead to stay on top and work towards his third ECKC Rotax Senior title. The SH Karting/Tony Kart duo of reigning Rotax Senior Canadian National champion Steven Szigeti and newly acquired team member Jesse Lazare proved to be a potent one at the season-opener. Szigeti is the current eKartingNews.ca No. 1 ranked Rotax Senior driver, and will look to use this weekend to move into No. 1 in the ECKC points as well. Lazare sits fourth, but should now be more accustomed to his new team and ride, and should be a threat for the win in Round 3. Luke Chudleigh (Prime Powersports/Maranello) and Gatorz Challenge of the Americas DD2 champ and California native Fritz Leesmann (PSL Karting/CRG) should also be ones to watch in this always-exciting category.

Parker Thompson will look to hold off the advances of his Junior championship rivals at Circuit ICAR (Photo: Cody Schindel - CKN)
Parker Thompson will look to hold off the advances of his Junior championship rivals at Circuit ICAR
(Photo: Cody Schindel - CKN)

Red Deer, Alberta’s Parker Thompson (SH Karting/Tony Kart) certainly made a statement in the ECKC season-opener. The West Coast kid emerged a the Rotax Junior points leader after his sweep in Round 1, and proved he can take on the demands of the competitive ECKC field. Zachary Claman-DeMelo made a statement of his own at Goodwood, putting his new PSL Karting/CRG ride in third for Round 1 and then in the top spot in Round 2. The two sit 30 points apart, but the SRA Karting/Birel pair of Jeffrey Kinglsey and Oliver Bedard will look to work their way up to the top of the standings. Kinglsey’s junior rookie status was of little effect at the opening rounds, as two solid top-five results have him third overall. Bedard sits back in sixth place, but the eKartingNews.ca No. 1 ranked Rotax Junior pilot will be vying for the race win in his bid to return to Team Canada in 2012.

In the Mini Max class, Alex Murphy (PSL Karting/CRG) enters Round 3 the points leader, while Matthew Latifi (Sofina/CRG) scored a perfect 500 points with his weekend sweep in the Micro Max category at Goodwood during his ECKC debut.

The Briggs & Stratton classes will likely see more entries in the Quebec round, as the new four-stroke option gains popularity across Canada. Simon Rousseau’s two feature wins have him leading in Briggs Senior, while Christopher Proietto earned the max points during his weekend sweep in Briggs Junior.

The 2012 Eastern Canadian Karting Championship will resume with official practice on Friday (June 15). The third round of the Coupe du Quebec will set the tone on Saturday (June 16), with the Eastern Canadian Karting Championship following on Sunday (June 17). The green flag drops for finals both days at 3:00 pm. 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 started 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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