2017 Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals – Day 8 Report

Top-10 for Crews, Crawford and Wang to lead Team USA

(Photo: BRP-Rotax)

Welcome to the final race day. Today we will see drivers participate in one warm-up unofficial practice session. After the unofficial practice, all pilots, including those that did not make it into the final round (only the top 36 drivers in terms of point standings moved on to the final race) were invited to participate in the annual driver presentation.

This year, a new event was also added to the calendar before the commencement of the final races. The Rotax MAX Challenge Grand Finals hosted a Charity Race Event this year, where the newest Rotax engine edition was displayed for the public: The Rotax THUNDeR package.

The Rotax THUNDeR engine is an electric package that can reach top speeds of 130 km/h and can accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h in 3.5 seconds. As the future unfolds, Rotax also will be planning to establish a new race series dubbed the “Rotax E-MAX Challenge.”

Stay updated with live timing by downloading the New App: Rotax Grand Finals for either IOS or Android phones. You can access live timing through the website: http://www.rotax-kart.com/es/Max-Challenge/Grand-Finals/Grand-Finals-2017/LIVE-TIMING

125 Micro MAX Final
The Micro MAX final was an exciting final event. Although the drivers are young, they never fail to express their talent on the track, battling for their position. Although Keanu Al Azhari, who had been a top runner of the Micro MAX category for the majority of the week, crossed the line in first position after a magnificent battle with his peers, he was given a penalty, which shuffled him back to eleventh place. Thus, Frenchman Louis Iglesias took over the top spot and was officially crowned the 2017 Micro MAX Grand Finals Champion. Leon Zelenko of Croatia finished in second place, about 1.7 seconds behind Iglesias. Another four tenths behind Zelenko, Ryota Horachiof Japan rounded out the top three positions. The lady of the race, Antonella Bassani of Brazil, finished in eighth place.

125 Mini MAX Final
The Mini MAX final also proved to be very exciting and highlighted the talent of the young drivers. Although some drivers were competing at the front of the field at the beginning of the race weekend, sometimes events just don’t always play in a driver’s favor. But, then again, that’s part of the journey in one’s racing career. Some could argue that if it were not for the bad moments in karting, then the good moments wouldn’t feel so rewarding. Ultimately, it was Marcus Amand of France who placed in first place, ahead of Jamie Day of the United Arab Emirates and James Wharton of Australia.

125 Junior MAX Final
The Junior MAX Final started out surprisingly without any major crashes among the competitors. It it seemed as if Tommy Foster of the United Kingdom would lead the race with a nice and secure head start. However, Senna Van Walstijn and Tijmen Van Der Helm, both of the Netherlands, started working together and easily caught up to Foster in hot pursuit. Before the halfway mark of the 17-lap final race, Van Der Helm and Van Walstijn both passed Foster. First, Van Der Helm seemed to pull a nice gap, however Van Walstijn did not let his teammate escape his sights. Nevertheless, the top five drivers of the Junior MAX pack were a little impatient and did not exactly strategize for the race. In fact, Foster and Jac Preston of Australia hooked tires, crashing each other out of the race momentarily, losing their top five positions and getting shuffled all the way to the back of the pack at about the halfway point. Generally, drivers try to strategize so that they will begin their passing maneuvers toward the end of the race. As the laps wore down, Van Der Helm continued to block the passing attempts of his teammate, Van Walstijn. However, the blocking did slow the two teammates down in the process of trying to gain a gap over the rest of the pack. In fact, Van Der Helm’s blocking gave way for Tosei Moriyama of Japan to overtake Van Walstijn and settle in second. Ultimately, Van Der Helm was crowned the 2017 Grand Finals Champion. Moriyamacrossed the finish line in second, however received a penalty and was shuffled to 14. Van Walstijn crossed the finish line in third, however also received a penalty and was shuffled to 15. Sami Meguetounif of France was named the vice-champion and Luca Leistra of Belgium rounded out the top three.

125 MAX Final
The 125 MAX Final also saw a very clean start compared to some of the Pre-Final and heat race starts. It was Jordan Brown-Nutley of the United Kingdom, Felix Warge of Belgium and Brett Ward of the UK that lead the field into the first few turns as the start of the race ensued. The equality of the engine and chassis packages was highlighted as the top eight competitors all drove within just a few tenths of each other. To be at the top of the grid, the drivers need to be centimeter perfect every lap every second. Brown-Nutley began slowing down his pace toward the middle of the race, which ultimately gave way for Warge to pass. Brown-Nutley and Ward then began working together, drafting and pushing each other and putting pressure on Warge. Ward ultimately made the move on Brown-Nutley for second place and the two teammates continued to push each other and purse Warge. Slowly and steadily, the top three drivers began creating a gap – hundredth by hundredth – over the other drivers of the pack. Now Warge was sandwiched between the two men from the UK. One of the key characteristics that the top three displayed was tire management. The drivers knew when to slow down and not overheat and overdrive their karts. If they decided to push really hard and drive to the absolute limit, then the likelihood of their tires lasting and still giving the driver enough grip for the rest of the 20-lap race would be minimal. As the laps started to wind down, the positions shifted and changed. Ward protected and remained in his first position, while Warge was shuffled backward by Jean Nomblot of France, who passed the Belgian on lap 13. The top three drivers – Ward, Nomblot, and Warge – all broke away from the rest of the pack by around lap 16. As the top three began their last attempts to fight for the top spot during the last lap, the top six positions bunched together again, giving other drivers one last opportunity to try and conquer the top spot of the podium. Ultimately, however, it would be WardWarge, and Nomblot who went down in Rotax Grand Finals history.

125 MAX DD2 Masters Final
The start of the race saw Zughella take the lead away from Ollikainen, as Ollikainen fell back and did not have the best start that he would have liked to see. Ollikainen seemed to be very strong for the first few laps, as he and Zughella pulled a decent sized gap over Troy Woolston of Australia. However, the Australian driver was able to catch back up to the battling front duo and draft with Ollikainen, who was still in second place, up to Zughella. Wooslton brought so much speed with him that he passed Ollikainen and continued to pursue Zughella, the Argentinian, himself. However, after several failed pass attempts from Wooston, Ollikainen took the opportunity to catch back up to the leading due. The top three drivers, Zughella, Wooston and Ollikainen, respectively, all drove away from the pack, blocking sometimes to an extreme going down the straight, and heading into turn three. The trio drove bumper-to-bumper, waiting for the driver in front to make a mistake, ready to capitalize on the opportunity if it presented itself. Woolston took a chance to pass Zughella, who already has a 10-second penalty imposed on him, to take over the top spot. Ollikainen remained in third position, lurking behind and waiting for an opportunity to arise and take advantage. The racing among the top three drivers continued to be extremely tight and exciting to watch. However, it was Troy Woolston who won the race and became the newest 125 MAX DD2 Masters Grand Finals Champion. Zughella finished in second, pending a penalty, and Ollikainen rounded out the top three. Zughella did receive a penalty, and thus, Ollikainen moved to second and Charly Hipp of France moved to third.

125 MAX DD2 Final
The 125 MAX DD2 Final proved to be very exciting – however not for the first position. Essentially, the winner of the event was determined prematurely, as Cody Gillis of Australia took the lead and pulled away from the rest of the pack. De Ruwe remained in second place, however he had to fight off the consistent attacks of Christian Sorensen of Demark and Mads Thomsen, also of Denmark. Sorensen took the opportunity to pass De Ruwe toward the end of the race. Although Thomsen did not slip behind Sorensen immediately, he did eventually pass De Ruwe for third place. Now it was Thomsen, who was still in third place, against Sorensen, running in second position. Thomsen made and stuck his pass on his teammate for second place. It was Gillis who was crowned the new Grand Finals Champion, having pulled almost a 4 second gap over Thomsen, who finished in second. Sorensen rounded out the top three, about four-tenths behind Thomsen, followed closely by De Ruwe who finished in fourth and just eight-hundredths behind the man from Denmark.

For more information about the Rotax MAX Challenge, please visit https://www.rotax-kart.com/en/Max-Challenge/Grand-Finals/Grand-Finals-2017/Information-Grand-Finals-2017

Team USA Results

125 Micro MAX

#3 – Brent Crews
Denver, North Carolina
Qualified: US Rotax Grand Nationals (1st)
RMCGF Appearances: none

Practice 2: 6th – 1:10.070 +0.520
Practice 3: 4th – 1:09.082 +0.290
Practice 4: 7th – 1:09.096 +0.364
Practice 5: 1st – 1:10.634
Qualifying: 9th – 1:09.137 +0.342
Heat 1: 2nd +0.044 (1:09.268)
Heat 2: 2nd +0.571 (1:08.443)
Ranking: 2nd
Prefinal: 15th +17.849 (1:08.377) +10-second penalty
Final: 5th +2.654 (1:07.844)

#11 – Jack Jeffers
San Antonio, Texas
Qualified: US Rotax Grand Nationals (2nd)
RMCGF Appearances: none

Practice 2: 26th – 1:11.017 +1.467
Practice 3: 16th – 1:09.744 +0.952
Practice 4: 26th – 1:09.702 +0.970
Practice 5: 23rd – 1:12.026 +1.392
Qualifying: 8th – 1:09.107 +0.312
Heat 1:12th +7.737 (1:10.297)
Heat 2: 9th +7.519 (1:09.375)
Ranking: 8th
Prefinal: 18th +18.409 (1:09.428)
Final: 23rd +18.338 (1:07.938) +10-second penalty

125 Mini MAX

#108 – Josh Pierson
Wilsonville, Oregon
Qualified: US Rotax Grand Nationals (1st)
RMCGF Appearances: none

Practice 2: 2nd – 1:05.509 +0.237
Practice 3: 5th – 1:05.284 +0.585
Practice 4: 3rd – 1:04.739 +0.201
Practice 5: 13th – 1:06.913 +0.949
Qualifying: 2nd – 1:04.939 +0.219
Heat 1: 4th +1.057 (1:04.464)
Heat 2: 3rd +0.780 (1:04.838)
Ranking: 4th
Prefinal: 25th +21.411 (1:03.849) +10-second penalty
Final: 24th +24.906 (1:04.168)

#109 – Aidan Fox
Redding, Connecticut
Qualified: US Rotax Grand Nationals (2nd)
RMCGF Appearances: none

Practice 2: 23rd – 1:06.126 +0.854
Practice 3: 20th – 1:05.660 +0.961
Practice 4: 17th – 1:05.382 +0.784
Practice 5: 8th – 1:06.668 +0.704
Qualifying: 27th – 1:05.853 +1.133
Heat 1: 22nd +14.747 (1:05.464)
Heat 2: 18th +8.831 (1:05.303)
Ranking: 17th
Prefinal: 11th +11.813 (1:04.362)
Final: 11th +11.519 (1:04.114)

125 Junior MAX

#215 – Hannah Greenemeier
Parker, Colordao
Qualified: US Rotax Grand Nationals (2nd)
RMCGF Appearances: 2013 (Micro)

Practice 2: 18th (odd) – 1:01.377 +0.585
Practice 3: 25th (odd) – 1:01.125 +0.629
Practice 4: 29th (odd) – 1:01.250 +0.790
Practice 5: 22nd (odd) – 1:02.156 +0.499
Qualifying: 28th (odd) – 1;01.018 +0.926
Overall: 54th – Group B (Row 14)
Heat 1: 28th +22.964 (1:01.316)
Heat 2: 23rd +9.455 (1:01.458)
Heat 3: 17th +9.055 (1:00.673)
Ranking: 47th – 68 points
Prefinal A: 19th +10.542 (1:00.066)
Final Rankings: 46th – 87 points

#216 – Arias Deukmedjian
Orlando, Florida
Qualified: US Open
RMCGF Appearances: 2016 (Mini)

Practice 2: 20th (even) – 1:01.548 +0.750
Practice 3: 24th (even) – 1:01.294 +0.678
Practice 4: 23rd (even) – 1:01.304 +0.818
Practice 5: 26th (even) – 1:01.963 +0.971
Qualifying: 16th (even) – 1:00.597 +0.679
Overall: 24th – Group D (Row 6)
Heat 1: 4th +3.359 (1:01.112)
Heat 2: 10th +3.059 (1:00.886)
Heat 3: 32nd +35.166 (1:00.738) +10-second penalty
Ranking: 27th – 46 points
Prefinal A: 7th +3.330 (1:00.187)
Final Rankings: 20th – 53 points
Final: 21st +19.606 (1:00.288)

#217 – Tyler Gonzalez
St. Cloud, Florida
Qualified: Florida Winter Tour (champion)
RMCGF Appearances: 2013 (Micro)

Practice 2: 10th (odd) – 1:01.204 +0.412
Practice 3: 9th (odd) – 1:00.860 +0.364
Practice 4: 25th (odd) – 1:01.100 +0.640
Practice 5: 14th (odd) – 1:01.931 +0.274
Qualifying: 10th (odd) – 1:00.614 +0.522
Overall: 27th – Group C (Row 7)
Heat 1: 7th +5.766 (1:01.167)
Heat 2: 9th +6.457 (1:00.551)
Heat 3: 27th +16.884 (1:00.751) +10-second penalty
Ranking: 24th – 43 points
Prefinal B: 9th +7.812 (1:00.356)
Final Rankings: 19th – 52 points
Final: 25th +24.554 (1:00.014)

#218 – Jak Crawford
Conroe, Texas
Qualified: Challenge of the Americas (champion)
RMCGF Appearances: none

Practice 2: 7th (even) – 1:01.100 +0.302
Practice 3: 12th (even) – 1:00.858 +0.242
Practice 4: 8th (even) – 1:01.027 +0.541
Practice 5: 4th (even) – 1:01.105 +0.113
Qualifying: 18th (even) – 1:00.680 +0.762
Overall: 33rd – Group A (Row 9)
Heat 1: 7th +4.221 (1:01.128)
Heat 2: 8th +6.159 (1:00.726)
Heat 3: 7th +2.570 (1:00.571)
Rankings: 6th – 22 points
Prefinal B: 2nd +2.348 (1:00.571)
Final Rankings: 6th – 24 points
Final: 6th +3.056 (1:00.256)

125 MAX

#330 – Kyle Dupell
Wilsonville, Oregon
Qualified: Can-Am Karting Challenge (vice-champion)
RMCGF Appearances: none

Practice 2: 26th (even) – 1:01.259 +0.676
Practice 3: 33rd (even) – 1:01.275 +1.015
Practice 4: 30th (even) – 1:01.253 +1.017
Practice 5: 32nd (even) – 1:01.378 +0.929
Qualifying: 31st (even) – 1:01.234 +1.185
Overall: 64th – Group D (Row 16)
Heat 1: 26th +23.685 (1:00.987) +10-second penalty
Heat 2: 23rd +15.010 (1:00.494)
Heat 3: 16th +9.171 (1:00.799)
Ranking: 43rd – 65 points
Prefinal A: 35th +7 Laps (1:00.709)
Final Rankings: 54th – 100 points

#331 – Stephen Mallozzi
Woolwich Township, New Jersey
Qualified: US Open
RMCGF Appearances: none

Practice 2: 32nd (odd) – 1:01.378 +1.033
Practice 3: 28th (odd) – 1:00.956 +0.819
Practice 4: 29th (odd) – 1:01.127 +0.758
Practice 5: 23rd (odd) – 1:01.011 +0.459
Qualifying: 31st (odd) – 1:00.598 +0.811
Overall: 50th – Group B (Row 13)
Heat 1: 32nd +23.446 (1:00.901) +10-second penalty
Heat 2: 36th +10 laps
Heat 3: 20th +10.231 (1:01.308)
Ranking: 66th – 90 points
Prefinal B: 30th +25.399 (1:00.846) +10-second penalty
Final Rankings: 67th – 120 points

#332 – Luke Selliken
Portland, Oregon
Qualified: US Rotax Grand Nationals (1st)
RMCGF Appearances: 2013 (Junior), 2015 (Senior)

Practice 2: 1st (even) – 1:00.583
Practice 3: 11th (even) – 1:00.638 +0.378
Practice 4: 14th (even) – 1:00.897 +0.661
Practice 5: 4th (even) – 1:00.563 +0.114
Qualifying: 11th (even) – 1:00.312 +0.263
Overall: 29th – Group A (Row 8)
Heat 1: 8th +3.182 (1:00.718)
Heat 2: 8th +1.823 (1:00.467)
Heat 3: 24th +12.120 (1:00.450) +10-second penalty
Ranking: 23rd – 40 points
Prefinal A: 9th +3.355 (1:00.029)
Final Rankings: 19th – 49 points
Final: 17th +6.574 (59.739)

125 MAX DD2 Masters

#518 – Ariel Castro
Hialeah, Florida
Qualified: US Rotax Grand Nationals (1st)
RMCGF Appearances: none

Practice 2: 14th (even) – 1:00.363 +0.707
Practice 3: 30th (even) – 1:00.403 +0.932
Practice 4: 18th (even) – 1:00.121 +0.652
Practice 5: 35th (even) – 1:02.760 +3.313
Qualifying:  20th (even) – 59.712 +0.482
Overall: 36th – Group D (Row 9)
Heat 1: 12th +5.166 (59.775)
Heat 2: 11th +8.333 (59.790)
Heat 3: 10th +6.054 (59.886)
Ranking: 17th – 33 points
Prefinal A: 8th +8.263 (59.410)
Final Rankings: 15th – 41 points
Final: 14th +12.795 (59.110)

#525 – Derek Wang
Seattle, Washington
Qualified: US Open
RMCGF Appearances: 2010, 2011 (DD2), 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 (DD2 Masters)

Practice 2: 15th (odd) – 1:00.208 +0.407
Practice 3: 6th (odd) – 59.740 +0.231
Practice 4:18th (odd) – 1:00.107 +0.712
Practice 5:
Qualifying: 1st (odd) – 59.202
Overall: 1st – Group A (Row 1)
Heat 1: 2nd +0.192 (59.505)
Heat 2: 2nd +0.543 (59.372)
Heat 3: 29th +1 Lap (59.491)
Ranking: 16th – 33 points
Prefinal B: 8th +10.696 (59.514)
Final Rankings: 16th – 41 points
Final: 7th +7.409 (58.726)

#526 – Billy Cleavelin
Shell Beach, California
Qualified: Challenge of the Americas
RMCGF Appearances: 2016

Practice 2: 21st (even) – 1:00.605 +0.949
Practice 3: 25th (even) – 1:00.238 +0.767
Practice 4: 24th (even) – 1:00.258 +0.789
Practice 5: 21st (even) – 1:00.324 +0.877
Qualifying: 32nd (even) – 1:00.613 +1.383
Overall: 63rd – Group C (Row 16)
Heat 1: 19th +11.607 (1:00.222)
Heat 2: 28th +18.164 (1:00.255)
Heat 3: 25th +16.376 (1:00.195)
Ranking: 52nd – 72 points
Prefinal B: 21st +18.156 (59.711)
Final Rankings: 49th – 93 points

#527 – Scott Roberts
Winter Park, Florida
Qualified: Florida Winter Tour
RMCGF Appearances: none

Practice 2: 24th (odd) – 1:00.602 +0.801
Practice 3: 36th (odd) – 1:16.799 +17.290
Practice 4: 29th (odd) – 1:00.495 +1.100
Practice 5:
Qualifying: 29th (odd) – 1:00.438 +1.236
Overall: 60th – Group D (Row 15)
Heat 1: 18th +11.530 (1:00.298)
Heat 2: 28th +19.681 (1:00.124)
Heat 3: 20th +15.194 (1:00.303)
Ranking: 45th – 66 points
Prefinal A: 34th +10 Laps (1:00.154)
Final Rankings: 55th – 100 points

125 MAX DD2

#417 – Michael McCarthy
Clearwater, Florida
Qualified: US Open
RMCGF Appearances: none

Practice 2: 28th (odd) – 1:00.188 +0.868
Practice 3: 28th (odd) – 59.899 +0.828
Practice 4: 21st (odd) – 59.756 +0.766
Practice 5:
Qualifying: 36th – 1:00.118 (odd) +1.494
Overall: 71st – Group C (Row 18)
Heat 1: 23rd +15.679 (59.554)
Heat 2: 29th +15.333 (59.010)
Heat 3: 34th +28.737 (59.545) +10-second penalty
Ranking: 63rd – 86 points
Prefinal A: 29th +10 Laps
Final Rankings: 64th – 115 points

#428 – Nathan Mauel
Broken Arrow, Oklahoma
Qualified: US Open
RMCGF Appearances: 2004, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2015, 2016

Practice 2: 35th (even) – 1:00.624 +1.278
Practice 3: 34th (even) – 1:00.253 +1.147
Practice 4: 33rd (even) – 1:00.161 +0.922
Practice 5: 27th (even) – 59.698 +0.580
Qualifying: 35th (even) – 59.615 +0.974
Overall: 67th – Group C (Row 17)
Heat 1: 33rd +24.825 (59.465) +10-second penalty
Heat 2: 34th +39.366 (59.241) +10-second penalty
Heat 3: 30th +19.807 (59.654)
Ranking: 71st – 97 points
Prefinal A: 31st +11 Laps
Final Rankings: 71st – 128 points

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