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2015 Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals Friday

Published: Friday, November 13th, 2015

Welcome to the final day of heat races! The dawn of this new day also saw some changes in race positions from yesterday’s heat races. Tomokazu Kawase was originally classified as the winner of the DD2 Masters race A + C. However, because Kawase illegally prevented a legitimate passing maneuver by another driver, he was given a 10 second penalty, and the new winner of the DD2 Masters A + C is now Luis Schiavo. Renato Russo is now classified as second place and Derek Wang moved up to third. The DD2 race B + D also saw position changes, as both Luka Kamali, yesterday’s winner, and Lukasz Bartoszuk, who finished in second place, were given 10 second penalties due to starting the race ahead of first placed Luke Varley. As such, the new DD2 B + D results are the following: Luke Varley first, Pedro Pinto second, and Sanad Al Rawahi third.
 
However, 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 pre-final, and who will have to fight through the second chance race to advance into the pre-final.
 
Taking a look around the paddock, one can tell the past two days of racing were intensive and had much on-track action. Team Australia’s humor never gets old, as drivers set-up a Christmas tree-like display of their entire crash damage from the past two days of racing in their paddock area. Maintaining a sense of humor in these kinds of situations is always beneficial!

Defining the Second Chance Heat Race
The top 28 of the 72 total drivers per category move on to the pre-final round. Of the remaining 44 drivers, the top 34 are selected to compete in the second chance heat race, for a ‘second chance’ to move into Saturday’s pre-final race. The top six finishers of the second chance race are permitted to advance to the pre-final round and will start as the last six drivers of the pre-final starting grid.
 
125 Junior MAX Heat Race- Group A + D
What a spectacular race! The 125 Junior MAX heat A + D was action-packed from the beginning to the end of the seven-lap race. The audience’s eyes were peeled to the screen from lap 1 to lap 7 – the passing was as tactfully planned out, aggressive, and determined as ever before, and drivers began blocking about two or three laps before the last lap of the race, and not the last two corners before the checkered flag, as is usual. The pole sitter, Roope Ropanen, fell back down the order, but skillfully made his way back up to the top two positions. However, within one lap,

 
Ropanen fell back down to fifth place. During this race, one never knew who would finish in first, as the top six drivers battled until the checkered flag. Harrison Thomas from the United Kingdom had to block the entire last lap, as Jack McCarthy and Dylan Drysdale were lined up bumper-to-bumper behind Thomas. Just before the checkered flag, McCarthy pulled out of Thomas’ draft in an effort to pass the UK driver, but did not succeed, finishing just four one-hundredths of a second behind Thomas. Drysdale finished a very close one-tenth behind McCarthy. The Australian Reece Sidebottom posted the fastest lap time with a 1.01.737. This is the essence of the RMCGF – having so many drivers within just two or three tenths of another!
 
125 Junior MAX Heat Race - Group B + C
The 125 Junior MAX B + C heat race saw aggressive battles among the top ten positions. Scott Symons of the United Kingdom and Jules Bollier of France battled intensively for first place for the full duration of the seven-lap race. Like the previous Junior MAX race, one could not take eyes off of the action, in fear of missing an important and defining pass of the race. Symons truly impressed the crowd, as he held the lead for the majority of the race. Although the last lap is typically where the most aggressive and daring passes take place, Symons kept his cool. The UK driver dealt with a tightly-knit pack of approximately 10 drivers behind him, yet he expertly blocked at every major passing zone. It did seem like Bollier was going to stick a pass, but pulled back last minute. Ultimately, it was Symons who won the race by two-tenths of a second over Bollier who finished in second place, and Dean Macdonald of the United Kingdom rounded out the top three with a gap of 1.1 seconds to Symons. However, we want to say congratulations to all Junior MAX drivers, as they have successfully completed the heat qualifier races. What a great effort put in by mechanics and drivers!
 
125 Junior MAX Second Chance Race
Predictably, the start of the Junior MAX second chance race saw extreme action – just like the previous heats. The second chance heat race proved to be a very thrilling race for the top six positions – and the action didn’t end until the finish of the race. The top 6 finalists changed lap after lap, but ultimately, it was the American Michael Michoff who finished in first, followed closely by second placed Hibiki Taira of Japan, Karl Leesmaa of Estonia finished in third place – nine-hundredths of a second behind Taira, the Australian Reece Sidebottom finished in fourth with a one-tenth gap behind Leesmaa, Matias Fernandez of Argentina finished in fifth with a five-tenth gap to Sidebottom, and Jules Bollier of France rounded out the top six. These six racers will advance to the pre-finals tomorrow – congratulations!
 
125 MAX Heat Race- Group A + D
The senior A+D heat saw a clean start and an ensuing five-way battle for the lead. The top five drivers separated from the rest of the pack, finishing a relatively clean race – unlike the previous two Junior heat races. Nevertheless, Ed Brand was able to pull out a relatively comfortable lead over the Turkish pole sitter, Berkay Besler by two-tenths of a second. The Swiss driver, Giuliano Cucciolillo rounded out the top three, about five-tenths of a second behind Brand. Silvano Christian of Indonesia posted the fastest lap time with a 1.00.196.
 
125 MAX Heat Race- Group B + C
The 125 MAX B+C race saw an intensive and ongoing battle between the two fastest drivers, ALEX of Italy and and the German Christopher Dreyspring. Ultimately, it was the Italian ALEX who solidly placed his kart in first. Dreyspring followed closely behind, by about three–tenths of a second and posted the fastest lap time of the race with a 1.00.701. Bruno Borlido of Portugal rounded out the top three positions, with about 1.6 seconds behind Dreyspring.
 
125 MAX Second Chance Race
After about the first three laps of the race, the top four drivers had a clear lead and were safely on their way to advance into the pre-finals. Ultimately, Joao Rosate of Brazil finished in first place, Dave Blom finished in second place, with a one-tenth gap to Rosate, the American Matt Solarczyk finished in third place with one-tenth back to Blom, Silvano Christian from Indonesia finished in fourth, a second behind Solarczyk, Shane Daly of Ireland finished in fifth place, and Jakub Kadlcak from the Czech Republic rounded out the top 6, with a nine-tenth gap behind Daly.
 
125 MAX DD2 Masters Heat Race- Group A + D
Without surprise, the DD2 Masters promised intensive action at the start of the race so much so that a crash occurred on the front straight! However, it was the pole sitter, Derek Wang, who lead the field into turn one with Fernando Guzzi and Antti Ollikainen following close behind. Wang was able to pull a gap of a few tenths of a second on Guzzi until about halfway of the race. Then, Guzzi’s kart settled into rhythm and the Brazilian caught up to the American. However, Antti took advantage of a passing opportunity and settled in second place. Antti then reeled in Wang, and in the last lap attempted to pass him, leaving the door open for Guzzi to dive in and reclaim second place. Ultimately, Wang finished in first with a four-tenths of a second gap over Guzzi. Ollikainen finished in third, just one one-hundredth of a second behind Guzzi. The Portuguese Miguel Moura, finishing in eighth, posted the fastest lap time with a 59.353. What an exciting, clean race!
 
125 MAX DD2 Masters Heat Race- Group B + C 
The South African, Michael Stephen, pulled away from the pack relatively quickly and easily. The action, however, was between the second placed Ryan Urban of New Zealand and Tomokazu Kawase of Japan. Urban was leading Kawase for about halfway through the race. However, Kawase steadily caught up to Urban, and ultimately made a clean and fair pass on the New Zealander. After an intense bumper to bumper battle, urban reclaimed his position to ultimately finish in second place, half a second behind Stephen. The Kawase rounded out the top 3, just one-tenth of a second behind Urban.
 
125 MAX DD2 Masters Second Chance Race
The field saw intensive battles, as the top six drivers fought hard to be able to advance into the pre-final round. It was Horacio Torres who first lead the 9 lap race however, Miguel Moura soon overtook Torres to take over the lead. Moura immediately pulled away, gaining a half-second gap over Torres, who later on fell back to fifth. However, that was not the end to this exciting race. It was the Japanese driver Tomokazu Kawase who caught up to second place and soon passed Moura in lap 8, giving Kawase the lead over the DD2 Masters pack. Meanwhile, behind Moura, Lajos Locskai, Primoz Matelic and the Canadian Stuart Clark followed closely. The end of the race saw Kawase win with a gap of eight-tenths over Moura from Portugal, the Hungarian Lajos Locskai finished in third, Primoz Matelic of Slovenia came in fourth, the Chilean Torres in fifth, and Clark rounded out the top six.
 
125 MAX DD2 Heat Race- Group A + D
Ferenc Kancsar once again blasted ahead of the field with a great start. However, the Swede, Andreas Backman caught up to the Hungarian leader. The two began battling, working together to push each other down the front straight to get away from the rest of the field. However, the Polish driver, Lukasz Bartoszuk, slowly reeled the leading two pilots in. In a swift passing manoeuver, Kancsar reclaimed his first place from Backman, and proceeded to lead the race to the checkered flag, winning over Backman by three-tenths of a second. Bartoszuk tried to make a last attempt in passing Backman, but remained in third place by just seven-hundredths of a second behind the Swede. The Austrian Constantin Schoell, finishing in 23, posted the fastest lap time of the race with a 59.002.
 
125 MAX DD2 Heat Race- Group B + C
The last DD2 race saw Luke Varley, who started in first place, take the lead from the start of the race until the checkered flag. Varley’s consistent times gave him the chance to pull out a 1.8 second gap over the second placed Martins Steinerts of Latvia. Bradley Liebenberg of South Africa fought close and hard with Steinerts but ultimately finished in third place, with just a one-tenth of a second gap to second place. Karol Jurmanowicz of Poland, finishing in 8, posted the fastest lap time of a 59.239
 
125 MAX DD2 Second Chance 
It was Lorenzo Van Riet of the Netherlands who finished in first, followed by one of two girls in the DD2 class – the Italian Natalia Balbo – who finished with less than a three-tenth gap behind Van Riet, followed by the former F1 driver Rubens Barrichello, who was two-tenths behind Balbo, the Australian Jason Pringle finished in fourth just eight-hundredths of a second behind Barrichello, another Australian Troy Woolston finished in fifth, and the Canadian Fred Woodley rounded out the top six finishers of this year’s second chance DD2 race. It was an extremely thrilling race to watch – from beginning to end, as these international DD2 competitors gave it their all!
 
Micro MAX Qualifying / Heat Race
The Micro MAX class proved to be extremely competitive, as the top two drivers were separated by only three one-thousandths of a second! Nico Lavery placed his kart on pole position, posting a fast lap time of a 1.10.239. Santi Vallve finished in second place with his fastest time being a 1.10.242, and Felix Aparicio rounded out the top 3, with a 1.10.242. The top three qualifiers were all from Spain.
The Micro MAX heat race was as competitive as the qualifying round. In fact, the top 3 competitors were separated by just six-hundredths of a second! Racing can’t get any closer than that. The top seven positions were all claimed by Spanish drivers. Nico Lavery of Spain ultimately saw the checkered flag first, winning the race by just over one one-hundredth of a second ahead of the second placed Juan Martinez. Tomas Pintos rounded out the top 3, finishing just four-hundredths behind Martinez and six-hundredths behind Lavery. What a picture-perfect finish!
 
Mini MAX Qualifying / Heat Race
Similar to Micro MAX qualifying, just one-tenth of a second separated the top three Mini MAX drivers. Carles Martinez of Spain drove his kart on pole position, with a 1.04.742, while Piotr Wisnicki of Poland qualified in second place, just nine-hundredths of a second behind Martinez, and Antonio Correia of Portugal rounded out the top 3, eleven-thousandths of a second behind Wisnicki.
The start of the heat race saw Martinez take the lead early on, with Wisnicki and Correia following close behind. However, Quique Bordas in second and Lucas Sanchez in third, soon caught up to Martinez, putting pressure on the fast Spaniard. Come the checkered flag on lap 7, the order of the top three competitors did not change, and Martinez was pronounced the winner, with a nine-hundredths gap over Bordas and a five-tenths gap over Sanchez.

Live timing will be available on the RMCGF homepage, at http://www.rotax-kart.com/en/Max-Challenge/Grand-Finals/Grand-Finals-2015/LIVESTREAM.  

Source: Rotax Kart