2022 Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals – Friday Report

Eight drivers to carry USA flag into main events on Saturday in Portugal

(Photo: Race Rotax - CKN)

The fifth day of action at the 2022 Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals was decision day with the final preliminary races contested at the Kartodromo Internacional do Algarve in Portimão on Friday, November 25. For many of the 394 drivers from around the world competing, it was a ‘Black Friday’ in terms of results, with the final cut for each of the main events shrinking fields down to the 36-drivers, leaving many on the sidelines and returning their karts Friday evening. For Team USA, there are eight that will represent the United States in Saturday’s main events.

Thursday Report

Wednesday Report

Tuesday Report

Monday Report

Event Information

Time Schedule

Live Timing

DD2 Masters: – Praga (36 entries)

A best finish of sixth is the bar Derek Wang wishes to raise come Saturday in the DD2 main event. Wang is currently above that mark, following a one position improvement in the Prefinal, which left him fifth in the final points to start the main event from the inside of Row 3. This will be the first race he is starting from the inside line.

#523 – Derek Wang

Hometown: Seattle, Washington
Qualified: US Trophy Series Champion
RMCGF Appearances: 10 – 2010, 2011 (DD2), 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2021 (DD2 Masters)

Qualified: 6th
Heat Points: 6th – 14 points
Warm-up: 22nd – 1:00.294 +1.105
Prefinal: 5th +2.996
Final Points: 5th – 19 points

Senior Max: – Sodikart (72 entries)

Only 1 of the 2 drivers racing for Team USA will be in the final on Saturday. Ethan Ho looked to be in good position, posting fast lap in the warm-up session and was up six spots by lap two of Prefinal A. He drifted back to 16th by the checkered flag after 14 laps, however a pushback bumper penalty added four more spots. That cost him to finish four points outside of the transfer position, ending his 2022 Rotax Grand Finals early. Aidan Fox started 13th in Prefinal B, 10 spots ahead of the transfer spot in heat points. It was the opposite for Fox, falling back to the 20th position by the checkered flag, only to gain three positions after penalties. He lost only one position toward the overall points, and will start the Final from inside row 14.

#327 – Aidan Fox

Hometown: Redding, Connecticut
Qualified: US Trophy Final – 1st
RMCGF Appearances: 1 – 2017 (Mini)

Qual. Overall: 25th
Heat Group: A (Row 7)
Heat Points: 26th – 44 points (Prefinal B)
Warm-up B: 11th – 1:00.900 +0.791
Prefinal B: 17th +8.627
Final Points: 27th – 60 points

#329 – Ethan Ho

Hometown: Los Angeles, California
Qualified: US Trophy Series – 2nd place
RMCGF Appearances: 1 – 2021 (DD2)

Qual. Overall: 37th
Heat Group: A (Row 10)
Heat Points: 37th – 59 points (Prefinal A)
Warm-up A: 1st – 1:00.720 +0.036
Prefinal A: 20th +14.324 (+5-seconds PBB)
Final Points: 39th – 78 points

Junior Max – Sodikart (72 entries)

Only one of the three will miss the Final in Junior Max for Team USA. Ben Hernandez gained four spots in Prefinal A, however, it would not be enough, finishing outside the top-50 in Final Points in his first Rotax Grand Finals. Cooper O’Clair and Jorge Ortiz will be the two USA drivers in the Final. Ortiz gained seven positions in Prefinal A, helping to improve his starting spot for the main event to row 14. O’Clair was inside the top-10 by the time the checkered flag came out in the same Prefinal. A pushback bumper penalty dropped him to 13th, keeping him above the cut line. He will start just ahead of Ortiz in row 13.

#212 – Jorge Ortiz

Hometown: St. Cloud, Florida
Qualified: Rotax Winter Series
RMCGF Appearances: 0

Qual. Overall: 30th
Heat Group: B (Row 8)
Heat Points: 35th – 52 points (Prefinal A)
Warm-up A: 3rd – 1:02.163 +0.130
Prefinal A: 11th +7.850
Final Points: 28th – 63 points

#233 – Cooper O’Clair

Hometown: Phoenix, Arizona
Qualified: US Trophy Final – 1st
RMCGF Appearances: 1 (2021)

Qual. Overall: 25th
Heat Group: A (Row 7)
Heat Points: 29th – 47 points (Prefinal A)
Warm-up A: 17th – 1:02.896 +0.863
Prefinal A: 13th +7.850 (+5-seconds PBB)
Final Points: 26th – 60 points

#234 – Ben Hernandez

Hometown: Massapequa Park, New York
Qualified: US Trophy Series – 2nd place
RMCGF Appearances: 0

Qual. Overall: 64th
Heat Group: D (Row 16)
Heat Points: 53rd – 73 points (Prefinal A)
Warm-up A: No time
Prefinal A: 23rd +13.803
Final Points: 53rd – 96 points

Mini Max – Praga (72 entries)

Team USA had nearly all three drivers into the Final. Kai Johnson and Gage Korn have a chance at the podium, starting 10th and 11th. Johnson has run up toward the front all event, adding a sixth-place finish in his Prefinal A. Korn continues his drive up from troubles in qualifying, and gained five positions to fourth in his Prefinal B, among those in the lead group. Fion Shi bounced around just outside the top-15 in Prefinal A, classified 16th to improve four spots. It would not be enough, coming just four points short of the cut-off position.

#124 – Gage Korn

Hometown: Aurora, Colorado
Qualified: US Trophy Final – 1st
RMCGF Appearances: 1 (2021)

Qual. Overall: 40th
Heat Group: D (Row 10)
Heat Points: 18th – 34 points (Prefinal B)
Warm-up: 21st – 1:07.563 +1.018
Prefinal B: 4th +0.979
Final Points: 11th – 38 points

#131 – Fion Shi

Hometown: Mount Clair, New Jersey
Qualified: US Trophy Series – 2nd place
RMCGF Appearances: 0

Qual. Overall: 17th
Heat Group: A (Row 5)
Heat Points: 39th – 64 points (Prefinal A)
Warm-up A: 6th – 1:07.582 +0.450
Prefinal A: 16th +11.134
Final Points: 43rd – 80 points

#132 – Kai Johnson

Hometown: Gulfport, Florida
Qualified: Rotax Winter Series
RMCGF Appearances: 0

Qual. Overall: 8th
Heat Group: D (Row 2)
Heat Points: 13th – 24 points (Prefinal A)
Warm-up A: 13th – 1:08.259 +1.127
Prefinal A: 6th +2.316
Final Points: 10th – 30 points

Micro Max – Birel ART (32 entries)

Sammut got his first start within the first half of the field, however, was unable to gain any positions in the Prefinal. He lost two positions, however, will start from outside row 7. Kanjanapitak, who lives in the USA but racing under the Thailand license, was able to gain one position in the Prefinal, and will start from 32nd in the main event.

#14 – Luke Kanjanapitak

Hometown: Miami, Florida
Qualified: Rotax Winter Series
RMCGF Appearances: 0

Qualified: 29th
Heat Points: 29th – 55 points
Warm-up: 21st – 1:09.056 +0.978
Prefinal: 28th +19.271
Final Points: 32nd – 83 points

#17 – Marco Sammut

Hometown: Locust Valley, New York
Qualified: US Trophy Final – 1st
RMCGF Appearances: 0

Qualifyied: 36th
Heat Points: 14th – 34 points
Warm-up: 34th – 1:09.802 +1.724
Prefinal: 16th +6.295
Final Points: 14th – 50 points

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