Canada Racing News
Thursday, April 5, 2012
PSL Karting Earns Another Championship Title at Gatorz Challenge of the Americas
TROIS-RIVIÈRES, Quebec -- Team PSL Karting added another championship title to their 2012 tally this past weekend, as PSL USA / PSL Atlantic pilot Fritz Leesmann earned the Gatorz Challenge of the Americas DD2 class championship. In his debut season in the two-speed class, Leesmann has been impressive. Heading into the finale round of the international Rotax Max Challenge series at the CalSpeed Karting Complex in Fontana, California with four feature wins to his credit and command of the point standings, Leesmann put an exclamation point on his 2012 Gatorz campaign taking two more final wins, the DD2 crown as well as a coveted spot on Team USA for the Rotax Grand Finals. Five other Team PSL Karting pilots joined Leesmann in the southern California sun, as PSL dealer CRG West and Danny Kacic led the collaborative effort for the Gatorz series. 2010 DD2 Masters World Champion Scott Campbell put PSL on the podium twice more over the weekend, ending the western series on a high note for the world's #1 CRG distributor.
With a stranglehold on the DD2 competition and the overall title all but locked up, Fritz Leesmann looked to finish strong in Fontana. Early woes for the California native kept things interesting on Saturday, as a technical miscue cost Leesmann his fast lap in qualifying. Then starting at the back of the pack for the prefinal, Leesmann made his way up to the second position before losing a side pod on lap nine. Forced to pull off course, and leaving his closest championship rival with max points in the prefinal, Leesmann would look to get back on point for the day's feature race. True to form, Leesmann would rise to the occasion, scoring his fifth main event win in 2012 Gatorz competition, earning fast lap in the process and the provisional DD2 championship title.
"Fritz and his engineer, Ricky Luther, have been setting the standards in this DD2 game since Gatorz Round 1." - Andrew Campbell.
Come Sunday, Leesmann would not be denied and capped off his superb season to date with a perfect sweep of the day. Scoring the pole position, which set the stage for two crushing performances by the shifter kart champ, Leesmann took the prefinal victory by 14 seconds and the final victory by more than 15 seconds! With all six feature wins to his credit, Leesmann earned the overall Gatorz Challenge of the Americas DD2 championship title and corresponding ticket to the 2012 Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals (RMCGF) as part of Team USA.
"I set a goal at the beginning of the year to go to the Rotax World Finals in which I am very excited to be going to Portugal to compete for the world title in DD2," explained Leesmann. "I would like to thank Mike Dobbelsteyn of PSL Atlantic for his sponsorship this year and everyone else at PSL for their support! Also would like to thank my mechanic Ricky Luther, and team manager Matt Dominey."
"The best part about motorsport is that it is completely unpredictable," noted Andrew Campbell, PSL Karting's US Sales Manager. "Fritz and his engineer, Ricky Luther, have been setting the standards in this DD2 game since Gatorz Round 1. For the final event, Fritz was using an out-of-the-box, DD2 World Finals kart, with the engine completely untouched. I'm confident in saying that CRG (and LH) have found the magic build for the only two-gear Rotax class. Congratulations to the two of them, as they will now be focusing their efforts on the SKUSA Pro Kart Challenge."
Adding to Team PSL Karting's glory in Fontana, newly acquired team member Scott Campbell took on the DD2 Masters class and was impressive during his CRG debut. Making his first start of the 2012 season, Campbell was met with a similar fate to Leesmann's after Saturday qualifying, although the result ending up being of little consequence. The CRG West / Karting Canada pilot went on to take first in his prefinal race and then backed that up with a win in the mixed class final.
Continuing his impressive streak Sunday, Campbell was fastest in the DD2 Masters group during the qualifying session. An unfortunate DNF in the prefinal race quickly evaporated, as Campbell went on to score his second feature win of the weekend and most notably, was second overall in the combined results! Campbell will now turn his attention to the Western Canadian Championships in pursuit of another RMCGF berth for PSL Karting pilots.
Rotax Junior driver Austin Versteeg was in title contention heading into the final two rounds at CalSpeed and had made three podium appearances to date in the series. It was not to be for the first year junior driver, however Versteeg maintained an impressive run while in California. Posting the fifth fastest flyer for Saturday qualifying, the Sandy, Utah resident kept near the front of the pack during wheel-to-wheel action as he earned a sixth place result in both the prefinal and final. Sunday saw Versteeg start his day further down the running order placing 11th during his qualifying run. Progressing to finish sixth in the prefinal, Versteeg ended his Gatorz campaign with another top-five finish in the final and fourth in the overall championship. Despite missing out on the title, it remains just a matter of time before this hot shoe earns his first win and championship in the challenging junior ranks. Jordan Redlin joined Versteeg in the Rotax Junior category and the BC resident added two more solid finishes to close out his Gatorz season. Posting eighth in Saturday's qualifying session, Redlin maintained his place during the prefinal race, but then fell back to finish 13th in the final. A 12th place start on Sunday for Redlin resulted in the rising talent moving up to tenth in the prefinal and then improve one more position in the final feature race. Redlin finished with a solid ninth in the overall Rotax Junior championship standings.
Kevin King was the lone PSL representative in the stacked Rotax Senior class. Lacking the necessary speed for Saturday's qualifying session, King advanced from 22nd on the grid to finish 15th in the prefinal before posting a 13th place finish in the final. Improving on Sunday, but still deep in the field, King would line up in 19th for the start of the pre-main. A disqualification forced King to the rear for the final, but the Trois-Rivières pilot bounced back, picking off kart after kart to finish the series with an eighth place final result. Three other top-ten finishes added to King's eighth place in the overall Rotax Senior standings.
"First of all, I would like to congratulate all the PSL Karting / Atlantic / CRG West drivers for representing their own names so well." - Dominic Labrecque.
CRG West Micro Max pilot would complete the Team PSL Karting driver line-up in Fontana and the young gun continued to make progress in his debut season. Posting straight eighth place results on Saturday, Kacic moved up from ninth on the grid to finish seventh in Sunday's prefinal. Maintaining his position during the final race, Kacic added another solid finish to complete his Rotax debut series. Placing seventh in the overall championship tally, Kacic will certainly be a title contender in the 2012 Western Canadian Championships.
"First of all, I would like to congratulate all the PSL Karting / Atlantic / CRG West drivers for representing their own names so well," added Dominic Labrecque, President of PSL Karting. "It?s nice to have so many talents under one tent with Danny (Kacic). Congratulations to Fritz, who has been with us for a number of years now ? I am sure you will see his name at the front in Portugal!"
With two winter series complete, and four championship titles to their credit in 2012, Team PSL Karting will now turn their focus to the Canadian karting season, which kicks off at the end of May with the Eastern Canadian Karting Championship season opener at Goodwood Kartways. CRG West will next focus on the Western Canadian Championships, kicking off mid-May in Chilliwack, BC.
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 www.pslkarting.com or www.pslkartingusa.com.