Thrilling Finals at the Euro Challenge in Wackersdorf
Published: Monday, July 27th, 2015
The third round of the ROTAX MAX Euro Challenge is history: Today the spectators around the 1.222 metres long circuit of Wackersdorf in Germany witnessed an exciting day with some thrilling action in the final races. Weather made for perfect race conditions, not being too hot but generally sunny. In the evening Zak Fulk (junior), Pierce Lehane (senior), Paolo DeConto (DD2) and Igor Mukhin (DD2 Masters) celebrated the victories of the Euro Challenge comeback in Germany. And even the championship outcome has not been decided yet, which means that the champions will be crowned during the very last race meeting at Genk (BEL) in September.
Junior pole sitter Kiern Jewiss (Strawberry Racing) was without luck at the start of the prefinal. He lost a lot of positions during the first hairpin. Meanwhile about 10 drivers showed a big fight for the top, changing the lead countless times. As the race approached the end Tom Gamble (Strawberry Racing) and Nicolas Schoell (Strawberry Racing) were able to head away from the rest of the grid. During the last lap they had an exciting duel, which Schoell finally decided in his favour. Gamble who actually had crossed the line in second spot was given a time penalty, which threw him back to 13th place. So Dean MacDonald (Aim Motorsport) inherited the second place ahead of Kiern Jewiss, who had recovered from his unfortunate race beginning. Fourth place went to Zak Fulk (Coles Racing) ahead of Fin Kenneally (Aim Motorsport). Championship leader Axel Charpentier (Strawberry Racing) established himself easily in the top ten but a time penalty put him into a disappointing 18th place in the end.
The junior’s final was as exciting as the prefinal. Again up to ten youngsters kept fighting for the win. In the beginning it was Nicolas Schoell having the best chances for the victory. He lead the pack for quite a few laps until Fin Kenneally proved to be quickest. Yet at halftime the race was far away from being decided. Positions kept changing consistently and the fighting got tougher – unfortunately too tough: Towards the end one lost three potential winners, since Fin Kenneally, Nicolas Schoell and later on Kiern Jewiss were involved in different collisions. This was when Zak Fulk kept cool. The UK driver established himself in the lead, though there was Jack McCarthy (Strawberry Racing) following in his slipstream. On the last metres of the race McCarthy tried one last attempt, managing to be on eye level with Fulk. By a photo finish and a minimal gap of only 0.002 seconds, Fulk finally took the win ahead of McCarthy. Alex Quinn (CRG S.P.A.), who only reached the final by the second chance heat, made amends by finishing on a deserved third place, while
Tom Gamble (Strawberry Racing) and Johnathan Hoggard (KR Sport) completed the top five ranking.
In the senior category, championship leader Pierce Lehane (Strawberry Racing) was in brilliant shape. He gained the lead right after the start and managed to pull away a little bit. For the entire race the Australian was able to keep a secure gap to his chasers, consequently winning the prefinal. Behind him Dutchman Rinus van Kalmthout (Daems Racing) managed to take the second place ahead of Russia’s Dennis Mavlanov (KR Sport), who came up with a strong final spurt towards the end.
Patrik Pastorok (Kart One Arena) from Slovakia and John Stewart (Strawberry Racing) from the UK completed the top five positions.
The final race was an almost clear matter for Pierce Lehane again. He led the race for most of the time. Only by halftime he shortly had to leave the lead to Sam Marsh (Dan Holland Racing) before he did a successful counter strike. In the end Lehane won closely but controlled, taking the maximum points for the championship. Sam Marsh followed in second place, while John Stewart (Strawberry Racing) conquered the last podium position ahead of Austria’s Niki Kresse (KSB) and Rinus van Kalmthout.
DD2 pole sitterLuka Kamali (CRG S.P.A.) set the pace in the beginning of the prefinal. He pulled away at first but soon the chasers closed the gap. Especially Bas Lammers (Sodikart) kept pushing very hard. He was able to overtake Kamali a few times, but the German could counterattack until he had to leave the way to Lammers. Equally Paolo DeConto (CRG S.P.A.) and Roope Markkanen (VRT) closed the gap to the leading duo and passed Kamali. As a result Lammers gained the necessary metres he needed to take the prefinal victory. Paolo DeConto crossed the finish line in second place, while Luka Kamali made a last move in the last lap boosting him to third place ahead of Roope Markkanen and championship leader Ferenc Kancsar (BirelART/KMS) from Hungray.
Bas Lammers did the best start for the final. Yet the Dutchman was not able to keep the lead. Paolo DeConto and Luka Kamali managed to overtake him in an early stage of the race. From then on Paolo DeConto pulled away metre by metre. In the end the Italian driver took an impressive win and saw the chequered flag more than three seconds before his chasers. Meanwhile Luka Kamali kept defending his second place against Bas Lammers, Switzerland’s Kevin Ludi (Spirit Racing) and Frenchman Anthony Abbasse (Sodikart). By halftime Lammers was able to pass Kamali and the positions seemed settled. But towards the last laps, Lammers visibly lost performance. Kamali and Ludi did not hesitate and boosted themselves to the podium positions, while Lammers finished in fourth sport ahead of his teammate Anthony Abbasse.
As for the DD2 Masters Japan’s Kawase Tomokazu (Uniq Racing Team) won the prefinal ahead of Russia’s Igor Mukhin (CRG S.P.A.) and Hungary’s Geza Fodor (Ricciardo/KMS). In the final Mukhin struck back and celebrated the victory, while Fodor finished second in front of the British racing lady Tamsin Germain (DG Racing).
Now the ROTAX MAX Euro Challenge approaches the great season final. At Genk (BEL) the series will hold its last round from 31st of August to 6th of September, finally crowning its 2015 champions. So stay tuned on the official website http://www.rotaxmaxeurochallenge.com or rgmmcmedia.com, where you get all information regarding reports, photos, results and live TV stream.