Strong Debut for Praga Karting in North America
Daniel Morad Takes Top Podium Place in Praga Kart
15 January 2012, Palm Beach, Florida — Praga Karting has hit the ground running at the start of the 2012 kart racing season in the United States, as Praga and Intrepid North America scored a pair of wins at the opening round of the Florida Winter Tour at Palm Beach International Raceway this past weekend. World Champion Intrepid North America driver – Daniel Morad, on a Praga kart, produced a double podium weekend capped by a win on Sunday in the DD2 category. On the Intrepid side, Jordi van Morsel placed 1st in race one of the Rotax Junior category, a great showing for his first race in America.
“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.
Morad’s win came through much hard work and veteran savvy. Placing 3rd in race one on Saturday, then taking 1st place in race two on Sunday is a tremendous feat, one that will hopefully continue as Morad will compete on a Praga kart for the season.
“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.”
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.
Photo credit: Cody Schindel, Autosports Media Group