Die Is Cast at ROTAX Euro Challenge at Salbris
The 13th season of the ROTAX MAX Euro Challenge is history: In Salbris Europe’s popular ROTAX Series held its last round of the 2016 season, ascertaining the winners of the big finale and equally crowning the new champions of the three categories of junior, senior, DD2 as well as the special classification of the DD2 Masters. Although the temperatures went a little bit down, the weather made for a hot summer day again, making the heat a lot easier to bear.
Closely before the prefinal start of the juniors, a surprising small summer rain shower made for a slippery tarmac. That changed the conditions for the slick tyre equipped field completely and shuffled the ranking in the first stage of the race distance. One who obviously felt comfortable on the slippery – and later on drying – ground was local hero Enzo Valente (Valente Pascal). Having picked up the race from sixth place he established himself on the top quite early and managed to defend it up to chequered flag. Yet that was no walkover for the Frenchman, who crossed the line by a small winning margin of only 0.074 seconds ahead of pole sitter Dylan Buys (JJ Racing). Third place went to Lukas Dunner (JJ Racing) who had started the race from tenth place only, while German’s Tamino Bergmeier (JJ Racing), coming from twelfth place, finished fourth ahead of Jean Nomblot (Nomblot). The vice title aspirants Mark Kimber (Strawberry Racing) and Olli Caldwell (KR Sport) dropped back to seventh and twelfth position, respectively, which did not settle the runner-up position for the championship yet.
Enzo Valente was the one setting the pace in the beginning of the final, but soon Dylan Buys made his way to the top. In the following, he headed away metre by metre and won the race by a gap of more than seven seconds. Valente on the other hand was able to defend the second position, which was not easy at all, since up to five opponents kept pressuring from behind. In the end Mark Kimber saw the flag in third place saving the vice championship. Jean Nomblot followed in fourth place in front of Olli Caldwell who complemented the top three of the championship.
In the senior prefinal, Lars Lamborelle (Dan Holland Racing) showed a strong performance again. But at first the Dutchman had a moderate start into the race, making him watch Denis Mavlanov (Bouvin Power) and Rinus van Kalmthout (RR Racing) sharing the lead for the majority of the distance. But as the race approached the end Lamborelle caught up and regained the top, being able to defend it up the finish line. Mavlanov followed in second spot ahead of van Kalmthout, while Jordan Brown-Nutley (Dan Holland Racing) and Berkay Besler (Bouvin Power) completed the top five positions. After the race van Kalmthout received a time penalty, which threw him back to twelfth place losing the vice title to Gary Donnelly (Strawberry Racing).
The final seemed to be a clear matter for Lars Lamborelle again. But soon Adrien Renaudin (Patrice Renaudin), who came from fifth place, was at his heels. The duo pulled away from the grid and arranged the win amongst themselves. In the last lap Renaudin made a successful move but Lamborelle counter attacked only a few metres later and took the win ahead of the Frenchman. Third place was decided on the last metres, too. Here Jordan Brown-Nutley (Dan Holland Racing) made it onto the podium ahead of the new vice champion Gary Donnelly and Swedish girl Jessica Backman (Daems Racing). Josh White (Coles Racing) who finished the finals in 14th and eighth place, completed the top three of the championship podium.
Constantin Schoell (Daems Racing) had the best start into the DD2’s prefinal. Yet the Austrian could not keep up his pace. He had to leave way to championship leader Kevin Ludi (Spirit Racing). The Swiss drove in his own sphere and took the lead soon. Being the fastest man on track, he controlled the race and saw the chequered flag first, marking his most important win ever, for it equally meant the total triumph in the championship at last. Constantin Schoell finished the prefinal in second place ahead of the beaten title defender Ferenc Kancsar (VPDR). The latter fought hard but finally his remarkable third place was not enough to stop Ludi in the overall ranking. As for the further positions, Ville Viiliainen (Vaisanen Heikki) and Mick Wishofer (VPDR) took fourth and fifth place in prefinal.
The plot of the final is told shortly: Kevin Ludi retired from the final, so as not to endanger his overall win by a potential exclsuion. Thus Constantin Schoell seized his chance and celebrated a clear start-finish-win which rewarded him the vice crown in the end. Behind the Austrian, Ville Viiliainen took a secure second place ahead of Dzianis Slavinski (Dan Holland Racing), Cosimo Durante (Franco Durante) and Alexis Coursault (Coursault). Due to used tyres Ferenc Kancsar dropped back to twelfth place only, which eventually made him drop back to third place in the championship.
In the DD2 Masters category Slawomir Muranski (Wyrzykowski Motorsport) had a solo. He was the only Masters driver at Salbris and consequently won the event unrivalled. Yet his start granted him enough points to take the runner-up position in the championship.
In the evening the race winners were not the only being rewarded for their performances but the 2016 champions, too: Axel Charpentier (junior), Nicolas Schoell (senior), Kevin Ludi (DD2) and Martin Pierce (DD2 Masters) are the ones who earned a place in the Euro Challenge’s hall of fame. In addition to the coveted trophies, nine tickets for the ROTAX MAX Grand finals at Sarno (IT) were distributed to the top three championship drivers of junior, senior and DD2. Moreover even the parents had the opportunity for a big prize, as RGMMC raffled a luxury stay for a family of four at Feline Fields in Botswana.
Although this year’s season of the ROTAX MAX Euro Challenge is over now, there is one more major event promoted by RGMMC: The ROTAX MAX International Open will be held from 5th to 9th of October 2016 on the modern karting circuit of the Adria Raceway. This special event in Italy offers the last six tickets to the ROTAX MAX Grand Finals at Sarno (ITA). More information regarding reports, photos, results and live TV stream are available on the official websites www.rotaxmaxeurochallenge.com or www.telemundi.com.