|Since its inception last fall, Intrepid North America has had a driver on the top step of the podium at every competition it has entered. First came Jesse Lazare and Marco Di Leo at the Pan American Challenge Championship, followed by George Russell and Teemu Suninen at SuperNationals XV, and Daniel Formal closed the calendar with a win at the Red Bull Kart Fight at PRI. The 2012 season has dawned in the days that have followed, yet the song remains the same as Intrepid North America has scored another pair of wins at the opening round of the Florida Winter Tour at Palm Beach International Raceway.|
“It was a great start to the Florida Winter Tour for Intrepid North America,” said Team Manager Marco Di Leo. “We had a tent full of enthusiastic and ambitious drivers from many countries and threatened the podium in a number of Rotax classes. The announcement of Nelson Piquet Jr. and Pietro Fittipaldi to the team added to the excitement, and brilliant race wins in Junior and DD2 were weekend highlights. We also had a pole position and podium in Senior, and were very quick with both Intrepid and Praga. With continued support from IMAF Racing Seats and HRS Racing Engines, we’ve definitely got a proven winning package!”
Intrepid definitely had a winning package in Rotax Junior, as Jordi van Moorsel topped a field of sixty-two in his first visit to America. An incredible effort leading to race one produced a win from fifth on the grid, and the way it came about saw the 2010 Rotax World Champion provide a lesson to the rest of the paddock.
“We worked a few days very hard till late in the evening to get the speed,” van Moorsel said following the event. “It was my first time on an Intrepid, and at a concrete track with the Mojo D2. I didn’t know who my competitors were in the race, and I never think of winning before a race. Anything can happen. I just focus on myself and enjoy the weekend.”
The attitude and hard work definitely paid off, as after qualifying P10, the Dutch superstar climbed to fifth in the prefinal and was in attacking position in the Junior Final after exiting the first turn in third. He took second on lap three, and one lap later assumed a lead for the first time.
“My plan then was to get a gap so nobody could follow,” van Moorsel said of the Saturday final. “But the slipstream at Palm Beach is a big advantage, so they followed! Still, we knew most drivers who were in the lead had problems to keep the speed that was needed. That’s the reason why I trained on my own before the race to see the difference. I knew where it was dangerous while leading, so kept the gap small. The competition level was high, so we knew we wouldn’t get anything easily. There is never a sure win.”
Leading a breakaway trio from that point onward, van Moorsel never relinquished the lead and posted the first win of the weekend for Intrepid North America with the entire podium crossing in little more than a tenth-of-a-second! Then from an extreme high, came an extreme low, as he couldn’t catch a break during race two. Forced to start deep in the Last-Chance field after a flat tire in qualifying, van Moorsel was collected in the first corner and then had the same thing happen in the B-Final, an event that will likely serve a dropped result as he continues on to rounds two and three.
While the breaks didn’t go his way on the final day at Palm Beach, things definitely went in favour of another World Champion Intrepid North America driver - Daniel Morad in DD2. Starting round one from pole position, Morad produced a double-podium weekend capped by a win on Sunday. And much like van Moorsel before him, Morad’s win came through much hard work and veteran savvy.
“The start of the Sunday final was a bit of a messy start, and there was a lot of contact in the first corner,” Morad said after starting P4 on the outside. “I was hit from behind, which sent me into the back of Latifi, so to avoid a penalty I backed off throttle to allow him to regain lead. In the process I ended up losing another position to Piquet, who passed me exiting the first turn, and once Hodgson passed me I was just trying to salvage third position and minimize the damage.”
That he did, rounding the first lap in P3 behind Latifi and Hodgson, but Morad quickly became isolated in the position and was in dire need of help from behind, help which arrived on lap eight.
“When I looked behind and saw Vincec catching up, I thought it would be a perfect idea to start slipstreaming with him to try to catch up to the front two,” Morad said. “It wasn't possible to catch up alone, and throughout the race I was never expecting to be the winner at the end, I was playing my cards just to secure the last podium spot. Then when I saw contact between Latifi and Hodgson, I saw an opportunity to win the race and I took it with a very late move on the last turn on the final lap. I pushed as hard as I could from start to finish, and sometimes you get those lucky breaks!”
The breaks that came were both the initial contact between the lead pair and a subsequent contact penalty that created a move from second to first for Morad. Added to a third-place finish from Saturday, Morad then had a great start to his 2012 Tour and both the first podium and first win for Praga at the Florida Winter Tour.
“Obviously it’s great to be back in the Goodwood Kartways team with HRS power behind me in the Praga as it’s nearly the same package as when we had great success in the 2010 Tour winning five of six races,” Morad continued. “It’s a little bit different as we develop the new 2012 DD2 chassis, but I’m expecting our pace will increase at each event in the championship as updates become available. It’s great to work in an environment where you are surrounded by professionals and motorsport veterans from all levels because you can never stop learning, and being surrounded by the best in the world certainly pushes you to succeed.”
Along with the wins by van Moorsel and Morad, Daniel Formal continued what has been an incredible run since arriving at Intrepid North America. Second at SuperNationals and victor at the Red Bull Kart Fight, Formal won his first start in TaG Senior during the Formula Kart weekend, and in Rotax action began the weekend from pole while fighting at the front on his way to finishing sixth and fourth. Same can be said for Senior rookie Jesse Lazare, who qualified P3 in his first senior start, won the Saturday prefinal and finished third in the final. It’s the same spot he sat after the Sunday prefinal before being knocked from inside the top ten in the final. Pietro Fittipaldi was also strong in his Intrepid debut, and after being punted from the top ten in race one, the young Brazilian finished fifth on Sunday.
Intrepid North America had thirty-one drivers from seven different countries under its banner at round one, welcoming Ryo Hirooka from Japan and van Moorsel from the Netherlands, along with drivers from Costa Rica, Venezuela, Brazil and Canada. The 2012 Florida Winter Tour presented by Sportality continues in February at Homestead Karting outside Homestead-Miami Speedway. Formula Kart classes begin competition on February 10th while the Rotax Max Challenge resumes February 16th. For more information on how Intrepid North America can assist you there and beyond, please visit intrepidnorthamerica.com
*Team Facts: Intrepid North America is based in Miami, Florida, USA, and at Goodwood Kartways in Stouffville, Ontario, Canada, where drivers can progress from turning rental kart laps to world championships. The Intrepid North America race team competes in National and International Championships like the Florida Winter Tour, Pan-American Rotax Max Challenge, and the Eastern Canadian Karting Championship, along with stand-alone events like the SuperKarts! USA SuperNationals, Canadian National Karting Championships and the US Rotax Grand Nationals. Intrepid North America operates in conjunction with Intrepid Kart Technology, HRS Racing Engines, IMAF Racing Seats, VPD, Chapman Racing Services and Intremax.
Intrepid North America Team Results - FWT Palm Beach International Raceway
Daniel Morad - 3rd, 1st
Luis Schiavo - 7th, 10th
Mario Jemma - 16th, 9th
Reid Arnold - 12th, 13th
Nelson Piquet - 15th, 15th
Jesse Lazare - 3rd, 17th
Daniel Formal - 6th, 4th
Bruno Sergivanni - 54th, 49th
Rotax DD2 Masters
Carlo Rinaldi - 18th, 7th
Enrico Friso - 9th, 8th
JJ Font - 8th, 11th
Johannes Olinte Rodrigues - 10th, 16th
Camello Antabi - 16th, 13th
Jordi van Moorsel - 1st, 48th
Pietro Fittipaldi - 30th, 5th
Jeffrey Kingsley - 33rd, 13th
Guilherme Samaia - 14th, 39th
Jose Fortunato - 18th, 15th
Ryo Hirooka - 16th, 27th
Fabrizzio Famularo - 22nd, 38th
Diego Borelli - 23rd, 32nd
Pedro Piquet - 45th, 36th
Jacob Ewaniuk - 38th, 25th
Victor Prato - 36th, 42nd
Andres Carreno - 46th, 48th
Isaac Antabi - 55th, 50th
Leonardo Rinaldi - 33rd, 6th
Alessandro Famularo - 30th, 8th
Anthony Famularo - 11th, 16th
David Antabi - 19th, 14th
Valentina Sarmiento Gil - 41st, 33rd