2016 Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals – Day 6 Report
Welcome back to Day 6 of the RMCGF! Today is a new day, and the track action is about to get so much better in terms of tactful passing maneuvers and the nail-biting uncertainty of who will end up proceeding to the final and who will be eliminated.
Unlike last year, however, we will be holding two pre-finals, in which the top 36 drivers will compete against one another in Pre Final A and the other 36 drivers will compete in Pre Final B. The top 18 drivers from each group will be selected to compete in the final race, while the others, unfortunately, must clean up their karts and return everything back to Rotax and the correlating chassis partner.
Similar to yesterday, the morning was cold, roughly 18°C / 64°F, breezy, and very cloudy. The morning saw a light rain sprinkle on the paddock area, making track conditions wet and causing drivers to use their rain tires once again for morning practice.
125 Micro MAX Pre Final
The Micro MAX Pre Final saw a fantastic battle at the front of the field. The top 3 drivers broke away from the grid, and ultimately started battling for the top spot throughout the last few laps. The American James Egozi fought hard and fair to reach P1 and held the other competitors off from any attempted passes. In the last corner of the last lap, the Frenchman Elliott Vayron attempted a pass, but was ultimately unsuccessful, finishing a mere 5 hundredths of a second behind Egozi and posting the fastest lap time of the race. Robert De Haan of the Netherlands rounded out the top 3.
125 Mini MAX Pre Final
The Mini MAX Pre Final did not see a break away in the top 3 drivers as the Micro MAX Pre Final did – in fact, for most of the race, the top 5 to top 7 drivers competed against one another, fighting hard but fairly. The Canadian Thomas Nepveu ultimately won the race, finishing 8-tenths of a second ahead of the Frenchman Hadrien David – who also posted the fastest lap time of the race. Luka Nurmi of Finalnd rounded out the top 3.
125 Junior MAX Pre Final A
The first junior pre final saw emotions roar alive, as some drivers ultimately were relegated from entering into the final, while others, unexpectedly, were given the opportunity of a lifetime to advance into the final event. Although the track was drying out from this morning’s light sprinkle, there was still a chance that it could rain throughout the day. Some drivers decided to head out for their race using dry tires, while others decided to go out on rain tires… hoping and praying for a down pour. A fairly sizeable crash happened in turn 1, and one of the consistent top finishers, the Indonesian Perdana Minang – who was on dry tires – was shuffled to the back of the field, unable to drive into the top 18 positions to advance to the final event. Ryan Macdermid, the former pole sitter, also did not make it to the final event, as he was racing on dry tires as well. Roope Ropanen of Finland actually lead a large chunk of the race on dry tires while it was raining, however, soon was passed by 3 drivers running on the wet tire option. To give a quick overview of how the rain ultimately shuffled the race order in an unexpected way, it was Mathias Lund of Denmark who won the race, with a whopping 6.4 second gap over Leroy Jagesar of the Netherlands who finished in second, a 17.8 seconds gap over third placed Anze Dovjak from Slovakia, and 32.4 seconds in front of Ropanen, who finished in fourth.
125 Junior MAX Pre Final B
Thankfully, there were not as many crashes in this Pre Final event as there were in Pre Final A. Staying true to the belief that the British are fast and furious in the rain, Johnathan Hoggard did not prove wrong, as he stormed ahead of the field, conquering first place with a 1.2 second lead over Swiss native Titus-Shanghai Schmidli. Mark Kimber, also from England rounded out the top 3. In fact, all 5 UK drivers competing in this race finished in the top 10, underlining their aptitude of competing and winning in the rain.
125 MAX Pre Final A
From very early on, it was Denis Mavlanov of Russia and Christopher Dreyspring of Germany who both broke away from the rest of the pack, and started to battle for the top spot of the podium. At this point in time, it was no question of whether to use dry or rain tires, as the skies had opened up and poured rain down upon the track – it was clearly visible that a majority of corners had standing puddles of water, amplifying the challenge for drivers to complete an inch perfect lap even further. However, after careful driving and pulling away from the German ever so slightly, lap after lap, it was Denis Mavlanov of Russia who won the Senior MAX Pre Final A race, 2.8 seconds ahead of Dreyspring. Felix Warge rounded out the top 3 and also posted the fastest lap time of the race, roughly 2-tenths faster than Mavlanov and Dreyspring.
125 MAX Pre Final B
The Senior Pre Final B race started out in cool, wet conditions. The start of the race proved to be clean, and only a few minor spins occurred throughout the race. It was Adrien Renaudin of France who was able to hold off Ruben Kverkild of Norway, who finished in second place, roughly 7 seconds behind Renaudin. Glenn Van Parijs of Belgium also had a stellar race, as he drove to and battled for third place. The track was still very wet and temperatures were fairly cold as the day slowly transitioned into its second half. Rasmus Tuominen of Finland ran the fastest lap time of the race, finishing in fifth place.
125 MAX DD2 Masters Pre Final A
The DD2 Masters karts stormed onto the track, drivers suited in their wet racing suits, wet gear, ready to attack the circuit and compete for the top 18 positions, which would help advance them to the final race, held tomorrow. For the first few laps, a fantastic battle was held between Antti Ollikainen of Finland and the Austrian Robert Pesevski. However, Antti broke away from the pack mid race and ultimately won, gaining a 2 second lead over the German Thomas Schumacher, who had passed Pesevski for second place and set the fastest lap time. Pesevski rounded out the top 3, finishing almost 9 seconds behind Ollikainen.
125 MAX DD2 Masters Pre Final B
The Canadian Scott Campbell fought for the lead against Dennis Kroes and Lee Mitchener of Australia for the first part of the Pre Final. The track was still wet and cold, which added to the challenge even more so. However, as the heat wore on, the top three drivers spaced themselves out, breaking away from the rest of the field. Kroes did not give up the fight, however, as the Dutchman slowly cut down on his lap times, preparing for a pass – which he ultimately made on Campbell and won!
125 MAX DD2 Pre Final A
The rain did not seem to quit; in fact, it was pouring harder and harder by the minute when the first DD2 Pre Final headed out on track. After 9 of 15 laps were completed, the stewards decided to call the race, as part of the track was beginning to flood, causing aquaplaning and potential hazardous driving conditions for the drivers. Although Kancsar did not qualify on pole position, he showed off his skills, as he broke away from the pack, setting the fastest lap time of the race by over 6-tenths of a second, and gaining a 5.6 second lead over Andreas Backman of Sweden. Backman, who had a fantastic run up to second place, showed off his skills once again in the rain, as he demonstrated his ability to compete in the rain in last year’s Grand Finals event in Portimao as well. The Austrian Constantin Schoell rounded out the top 3.
After about thirty minutes of heavy rain and thirty minutes of strenuous track clean-up, the stewards decided to have the DD2 Pre Final A group go out and complete the remaining 6 laps. Essentially, the top 3 remained the same, with Kancsar being able to pull out a 5.1 second lead.
125 MAX DD2 Pre Final B
Josh Hart of New Zealand represented his country in the best way possible – by winning the DD2 Pre Final B race with a 2.7 second gap over second place! Christian Sorensen has consistently proven his pace throughout the week, regardless in wet or dry conditions, as the native from Denmark drove to a solid second place finish, roughly one second ahead of the German Pascal Marschall. However, all eyes were on the Lithuanian Simas Juodvirsis, who finished in fourth place, because he drove the absolute fastest lap time of the race.
As the second to last day wound down, 36 drivers per class will have to pack up and return their karts and parts back to Rotax as well as the corresponding chassis partners. Although it is not easy for drivers to leave behind the possibility of winning at the Grand Finals championship due to being relegated from the final event, there is always a next year, a next time, and a next chance with the 2017 Rotax MAX Challenge Grand Finals.
Live timing is available on the RMCGF homepage, at http://www.rotax-kart.com/en/Max-Challenge/Grand-Finals/Grand-Finals-2016/LIVESTREAM.
Stay tuned for our upcoming daily reports, which bring the intense action of the RMCGF to you!
The Rotax MAX Challenge (RMC) is a professional kart racing series established, owned and organized by BRP and its Rotax kart engine distributors. Approved by and in compliance with CIK / FIA, the RMC is a “one-make-engine” formula: only Rotax kart engines that are checked and sealed (for equal performance) will be used. The success in the competition is mainly up to the skills of the driver.
For more information about the Rotax MAX Challenge, please visit http://www.rotax-kart.com/en/Max-Challenge/MAX-Challenge/About-ROTAX-MAX-CHALLENGE