Two drivers will win fully-funded drives in the 2010 Jim Russell Championship Series.
Almost 40 drivers began the Selection Process on Saturday (19 Dec) with 20 progressing in to today’s (MON) program. Judges selected the following after further on- and off-track evaluation today:
- Bastien Graber (18), from Niddatal, GERMANY
- James Kovacic (16), from Forresters Beach nr Gosford, AUSTRALIA
- Felipe Polehtto [nee Poletto Bastos] (20), from Rio de Janeiro, BRAZIL
- Gary Carlton (23), from Marysville, California, USA
- Alex Ellis (18), from St Catharines, Ontario, CANADA
- Jeffrey Westphal (23), from San Carlos, California, USA
Multiple Australian kart champion James Kovacic won the opening 10-lap kart heat by 2.252secs over national karting champion Gary Carlton (USA). Yannick Mettler (CH), who has raced karts in Germany this year as well as testing a Formula BMW, comfortably took victory in the second heat, 17.533secs ahead of seasoned Rotax champion Greg Liefooghe (USA).
In the 18-lap Final Kovacic, who finished fifth in the 2009 Formula BMW Americas Championship, started from pole-position and despite dropping behind fellow front-row starter, Mettler, for the opening two laps, went on to record a comfortable 6.042secs victory on a drying, but still slippery track.
Felipe Polehtto (BRA), third in Heat 1, recovered from seventh place after a Turn 1 opening lap spin, to finish third. Nikola Radosavljevich (USA) (5th Heat 1, 4th Final), Carlton (5th Final) – also delayed in the opening lap skirmish – former Northern California ProKart Challenge champion Cody Hodgson (USA) (4th Heat 2, 6th Final) and Liefooghe (USA) (7th Final) had each featured in a hectic battle for third place for much of the race.
S3 stand-out Tyler Bennett (USA) and TaG Senior runner-up Gustavo Menezes (USA), who both received Jim Russell Scholarships in to the Future Driver Search for their performances at the SKUSA SuperNationals XIII in Las Vegas, finished sixth in their respective heats while Jeffrey Westphal (USA), a former Pacific F2000 Championship Series champion, was ninth in the Final (third in Heat 1).
Judges will ultimately select the best “all-rounder" on Tuesday evening while the second recipient of the 2010 JRCS “seat" will be the driver who sets the outright fastest lap time on Tuesday in a Jim Russell Racing Drivers School FJR-50.