Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals 2021 – Day 5 Report
On this 5th Day of the RMC Grand Finals in Bahrain we saw a lot of exciting action on the track and very motivated racers throughout the whole event area. Yesterday’s racing was very crucial to see where drivers would place for today’s Pre-Finals, as the combination from the intense 27-degree heat at its highest, the general atmosphere and the sheer racing action and thrilling fights would heighten both, the emotions of everyone at the circuit and those watching on from the official Live Stream.
When you walk through the paddock and watch the passing drivers with their karts on the trolley you truly feel the anticipation of the competitors and how much it means to our worldwide racers to be part of this event. And we can’t get enough of this special atmosphere, sportsmanship, and the friendship between our competitors.
The tension is climbing slowly but surely as tomorrow we will find out in the pre-finals, which will take place under floodlights, who will compete for the victory in the finals on Saturday. Stay tuned for the whole action on- and off-track and watch our Live Stream. Tomorrow we’ll start with the streaming at 14:30 local time (AST), beginning with the Drivers picture. Afterwards the pre-finals will start with the new category, the Project E20 E-Kart, followed by Micro MAX, Mini MAX, Junior MAX, Senior MAX, DD2 Masters and DD2.
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Without any further delay, let’s give you and roundup about yesterday’s racing action:
Morning Warm-Up saw only four drivers take to the 1.414-km circuit, as some were conserving their tyres for the racing later on that morning. It was a Danish 1-2, as Malte Ebdrup in the #713 posted the quickest time of a 56.146, followed by Victor Nielsen (56.942), who was 0.796 seconds adrift. Austria’s Corinna Kamper and Finland’s Aleski Jalava would also set lap times to complete the running order.
Oscar Pellemele would stride away from the rest of the field towards the end of the eight-lap race to take the win by 1.236 seconds from Denmark’s Malte Ebdrup, who started from fifth. The Frenchman took on the challenge to initially fend off Heat 1 winner Theo Kekati (UAE) & Finland’s Aleksi Jalava, who were also battling away with several other drivers including Hannes Morin (Sweden), David Auletjner (Poland) and Mathilda Olsson (Sweden), who completed the top five.
Estonia’s Nikita Ljubimov in the #30 was fastest in Morning Warm-Up with a 1:01.758, 0.261 seconds ahead of Switzerland’s Paul Schön (1:02.019), as the top three, who were covered by 0.273 seconds after session, was rounded off by the Czech Republic’s Zdenek Babicek (#25 – 1:02.031)
It was an intense racing love affair in their final Qualifying Heat later on in the morning, as Ljubimov was able to convert the pace set in Warm-Up into a race win after six exciting laps at the track, having gotten away from the rest of the tightly-packed field, stamping total dominance with a one-second advantage after just the very first lap. The Estonian would then go on to win by a comfortable 3.606 seconds, ahead of Babicek, who at one point held the lead. Austria’s Dragos Avasilcutei completed the top three positions, having also been in contention, ahead of a storming drive forward from Great Britain’s Kenzo Craigie, who found his way up 16 places to take fourth, followed by the Netherlands’ Tom Papenburg.
Morning Warm-Up for the Odds saw Doyvdas Gudelevicius from Lithuania go fastest with a 58.413, 0.204 seconds in front of France’s Mattheo Dauvergne (58.617), whilst Endo Arata for Japan would complete the top three, only 0.001 seconds adrift on a 58.618. Lebanon’s Christopher El Feghali would be quickest in Evens, topping the times with a 58.519, just 0.035 seconds ahead of Lithuania’s Markas Silkunas (58.554), whilst Japan’s Riku Akieda was third out of 36 drivers with a best effort of a 58.633.
Qualifying Heat 2 for Groups A & C saw Borys Lyzen start third but the Polish driver would battle hard with Canada’s Jensen Burnett in the #146, with Lyzen securing victory by a mere 0.203 seconds at the end of the six-lap encounter. Belgium’s Mateja Radenkovic and Lebanon’s El Feghali would make steady progress to complete the top four positions, whilst the USA’s Gage Korn moved up from ninth to finish fifth.
In the race between Groups B & D in their penultimate Qualifying Heat, it was a win for Japan, thanks to Endo Arata, who started alongside Poland’s Rostyslav Kostyna. Arata would fend off another Pole in the form of Juliusz Ociepa to secure victory by 0.460 seconds, whilst Latvia’s Toms Strele took third in front of Gudelevicius, as Spain’s Hugo Marti placed fifth at the finish.
Lyzen would go on to win a second successive race (A + D), with Burnett again ending up second best, with the winning margin being 0.654 seconds on this occasion. Toms Strele would again secure a strong third place finisj, ahead of the Japanese pairing of Endo Arata and Junya Kaneko, who rounded out the top five.
Groups B & C closed out the Qualifying Heat action for the class in this year’s event, as Mateja Radenkovic took a well-needed victory to showcase his credentials. He won ahead of Juliusz Ociepa (Poland) and Mathis Carnejac (France) competing the top three, who were a total of 1.589 seconds apart. Hugo Marti from Spain in fourth set the fastest lap of the race with a 58.484, ahead of Great Britain’s Scott Marsh.
Muhammad Wally topped the timesheets in Morning Warm-Up for the Odds by a slender 0.036 seconds with a 55.124 ahead of Denmark’s Magnus Pedersen (55.160). In a session that had the top 22 drivers covered by just 0.940 seconds, Ayden Ingratta from Canada completed the top three on a 55.170. Latvia’s Tomass Stolcermanis again
Qualifying Heat 2 for Groups A & C saw Stolcermanis lead a Latvian 1-2 across the finish line, 1.845 seconds ahead of Edgars Vilcans, as Germany’s Farin Megger found to be a further 1.883 seconds behind in third place. Portugal was represented in fourth, thanks to Rodrigo Vilaca, whilst the UAE’s Federico Al Rifai secured fifth. Both Australia’s Kamal Mrad and Mirai Nishida narrowly missed out being in the top five, but were two of several drivers that made up in excess of ten places during proceedings.
Next, it was the turn of Groups B & D, where Belgium’s Kaï Rillaerts led from lights out to the chequered flag by 1.483 seconds ahead of the Netherlands’ Jayden Thien. France’s Teo Blin was also featuring in the top three, and would narrowly miss out on second place by a margin of just 0.096 seconds. Matej Konik from Slovakia and the Netherlands’ Joep Breedveld made up the remainder of the top five. The Netherlands’ Bruno Mulders was initially second on the road, but would drop to tenth after a front bumper penalty.
The final stages of the Qualifying Heats in Junior MAX was kick started by Groups A & D, with an intense, rapid-fire close quarter battling behind race winner Tomass Stolcermanis, who has been the class of the field at the 2021 RMC Finals. The Latvia would initially win by 0.580 seconds ahead of Sweden’s Sebastian Svensson, who was later found to have a front bumper penalty, dropping him to eighth. The Netherlands’ Jayden Thien would be promoted to second place, 1.009 seconds behind the Latvian, with Germany’s Farin Megger completing the top three. The Dutch pair of Enzo Bol and Joep Breedveld would round out the top five drivers.
Great Britain’s Harry Linden fought back from a retirement in his first race today to take the win in the Groups B & C Qualifying Heat, winning by the narrowest of margins (0.064 seconds) ahead of fellow Briton Neo Clarke. Rillaerts, who won his earlier heat was able to lead away in the early stages, but would only be able to finish the day off solidly in third place. Hungary’s Aron Krespcik and Finland’s Marti Ritonen would make the top five be no more than 2.5 seconds apart at the finish.
Australia’s Christian Estasy was fastest of the 28 drivers in Odds Morning Warm-Up with a 53.855, followed by Thomas Ricci (France – 53.926), whilst Hungary’s Zsombor Kovacs was a further 0.007 seconds adrift with a 53.932 in third. In Evens, Argentina, Poland and Austria represented the top three nations in the top three, courtesy of Francesco Grimaldi (54.218), Franciszek Palmirski (54.267) and Leon Mandi (54.293).
Qualifying Heat 2 for Groups A & C saw Great Britain’s was able to control the pace in the first race of the Senior MAX action to win ahead of Andrej Petrovic by 1.887 seconds, as the Serbian was able to get ahead of another Briton, the #339 of Kai Hunter, who would finish in third. The UAE’s Lachlan Robinson was able to gain two places to secure fourth, in front of Hungary’s Balasz Jurancsik.
Groups B & D were up next, with the Czech Republic’s Tereza Babickova would managed to secure a win in the penultimate qualifying heat, taking the chequered flag by 1.687 seconds in front of France’s Paul Fourquemin. Sean Butcher was able to gain three places from sixth to take the final spot in the top three. Clayton Ravenscroft made it another Briton in the top five to secure fourth, whilst Fahad Al Khaled from Kuwait rounded out the top five.
Babickova took her second victory of the day in the penultimate Qualifying Heat with Groups A & D in action, taking the chequered flag 3.153 seconds ahead of the #311 of Bradshaw, who fought with the Czech driver for the first half of the race. Sean Butcher rounded out the top three, and had a chance at second, but would lose out by 0.099 seconds. The UAE’S Kamal Agha move up six places with great race pace to take fourth, ahead of fifth placed driver Mark Kimber.
In the final race (Groups B & C), it was a British 1-2, courtesy of both Clayton Ravenscroft (#360) and Kai Hunter (#339), with it going the way of the former by a close margin of 0.076 seconds, whilst Russia’s Dmitri Kirillov (#346) was third, almost 3.5 tenths of a second behind. France’s Paul Forquemin was fourth in front of Hungary’s Balazs Jurancsik. Both the British pair of Lewis Gilbert (#316) and Rhys Hunter (#361) made up 13 and 15 places to take eighth and 13th at the finish.
The Odds Morning Warm-Up saw the Netherlands’ Martijn Van Leeuwen at the top of the table with a 52.659, with Gregorio Bertocco a mere 0.004 seconds behind with a best effort of a 52.659. Behind the Italian, Poland’s Dawid Maslakiewicz made it an incredibly close top three with a personal best of a 52.747. 23 drivers took part in the Evens session, as Finland’s Axel Saarniala was fastest (52.661) just 0.002 seconds adrift of the time set by Van Leeuwen, with Spain’s Vicente Marquez Carpint (53.003) and Sweden’s Max Linden (53.028) completing the top three.
Qualifying Heat 2 for Groups A & C saw Van Leeuwen slingshot his way to the win after ten laps from fifth after the rolling start, where the top five were covered by just over 1.5 seconds at the finish. The Dutchman finished 1.127 seconds in front of Italy’s Michael Rosina, whilst pole sitter Antoine Barbaroux dropped to third. Maslakiewicz was only 0.082 seconds behind the Frenchman in fourth place, whilst India’s Kyleaditya Kumaran was also fractionally edged out to end up taking fifth.
Patriks Noels Locmelis (Latvia) was able to secure a win in the second Qualifying Heat for Groups B & D by 0.799 seconds, ahead of Finnish racer Saarniala, who moved up from sixth over the course of the race. Pole sitter Gianluca Savaglio (Canada) was able to hang on to third a 1.788 seconds further behind, as Latvia’s Emils Akmens and the USA’s Ethan Ho rounded out the top five.
An epic battle of will, guts and determination to take the win in the Groups A & D Qualifying Heat that saw Van Leeuwen battle hard with several drivers over the 10-lap race to win by 0.585 seconds. With the audience in the grandstands looking over the entire circuit, Slovenia’s Xen De Ruwe would masterfully fight his way to second place from tenth, in front of Italy’s Michael Rosina in third place. Axel Saarniala once again impressed with great race craft to take fourth. Antoine Barbaroux had the lead in the latter stages, but would have to hang on to take fifth.
The last Qualifying Heat of the 2021 RMC Grand Finals saw the battle between Groups B & C, with Emils Akmens winning the race by just 0.694 seconds in front of Belgium’s Glenn Van Parijs, whose experience-filled overtaking prowess put him second at the end of another great race to conclude the day’s action. Lebanon’s Matthias Njeim also put in great work behind the steering wheel to finish third, with Chile’s Gustavo Suarez and Abdullah Al Rawahi completing a top five covered by only 1.638 seconds.
Morning Warm-Up had 30 drivers take part ahead of their final Qualifying Heat of the event, with Germany’s Daniel Schollenberger topping the timesheets with the best time of a 53.508, in a session that saw the top 20 were separated by 0.992 seconds. Argentina’s Matias Rodriguez (53.587) was 0.079 seconds adrift in P2, whilst Slawomir Muranski from Poland took third with a 53.628.
France’s Morgan Riche was able to double up with a second victory in the final Qualifying Heat for the class, as the #531 would be able to take the chequered flag with a winning margin of 1.009 seconds. Paul Louveau was third a further 2.702 seconds adrift, whilst both Belgium’s Fabio Kieltyka and the USA’s Derek Wang helped to complete the top five in the race.
Overall Fastest Lap Times:
E20: 55.243 | Malte Ebdrup | No. 713
Micro MAX: 1:01.758 | Nikita Ljubimov | No.30
Mini MAX: 58.143 | Dovydas Gudelevicius | No. 143
Junior MAX: 54.618 | Santiago Biagi | No.212
Senior MAX: 53.661 | Callum Bradshaw | No. 311
DD2: 52.554 | Axel Saarniala | No. 468
DD2 Masters: 53.335 | Morgan Riche | No. 531
It is a late start for the Pre-Finals tomorrow, as Project E20 heads out on track for Morning Warm-Up at 12:13 Arabian Standard Time, with the racing getting underway under the floodlights once again!
Stay tuned for our upcoming daily reports, which bring the intense and exciting on-track action of the RMCGF to you!