Cooper wins the Florida Winter Tour!
20 March 2012
The 2012 edition of the Florida Winter Tour is now over and the SRA Karting / Birel driver Ben Cooper won the championship in the Rotax MAX class. The current world champion is now qualified to defend his title next November at the next Grand Finals in Portugal.
The weekend did not start as expected for Cooper who only qualified 11th for Saturday and 12th for Sunday in the Rotax MAX class. But he did way better in DD2 when he scored a 4th place for Saturday and a pole for Sunday. At the end of the qualification session on Friday, Cooper decided to concentrate on the Rotax MAX class where he was in competition for the title and retired from the DD2 class.
In the Saturday’s prefinal, he recovered from his bad qualifying when he finished 2nd, only a few tenths of a second behind the winner Steven Szigeti. In the final race, he was involved in a contact in the first corner with another competitor and lost several positions, but, succeeded to recover, and finally crossed the finish line first, with a 3 second lead over the 2nd place finisher. But the official stated that he was responsible for the contact at the start, and he received a 30 place penalty. This made things difficult for the title and Sunday had to be perfect.
Sunday was a complete success for Cooper. Started from the 12th place on the pre-final grid, flying over the track lap after lap, he reached the first position. In the final race, he led the race from green flag to checkered to win the race and the championship, only 13 points over Steven Szigeti.
“I am extremely satisfied today. My teammates gave me a wonderful kart and I avoided mistakes. I am very happy to set my qualification for the Rotax Grand Finals where I will defend my title. I had no idea how to approach the Florida Winter Tour championship and it was a superb experience. I want to thank team SRA Karting for their warm welcome and I also want to thank Peter Kalman and his team and all others which made all of this happen” said Cooper.
For Michel Boisclair, SRA Karting’s team manager, this title is well deserved for Cooper. “Ben joined the team with the right attitude. He came here as a strong competitor, who never give up and always ready to work with the other member of the team. He was also a very good model for the young drivers in our team and this makes him very appreciated by everyone”.
Amongst the other SRA Karting / Birel drivers, we must underline the second place finish of Sandor Jakab in the Saturday Rotax MAX final. Zacharie Robichon (DD2) finished 5th in the championship standings at his first complete participation at the FWT. “For our young drivers, Cédrick Lupien (MAX Jr), Nataël Cantin and Samuel Lupien (Mini-Max) they participated at the FWT with the specific goal to gain experience in a very competitive environment and we saw this weekend a clear progression for them compared to the first round. Because of the high level of competitiveness, the FWT is a difficult school but a very good one and this summer, these young drivers will see the results from this experience” said Michel Boisclair.
A photo gallery of the 3rd round of the FWT will be posted soon.
Picture: from l. to r. Robert Gumpenberger, from Rotax, Ben Cooper and Bill Wright, promoter of the FWT. (Credit: Daniel Lamothe).