Thrilling Finals of 2015 Rotax Winter Cup
Published: Monday, February 16th, 2015
The 2015 ROTAX Winter Cup is history: Today the Spanish track of Campillos witnessed an exciting final day crowning the first champions of the year. The weather was slightly cloudy and dry, despite a small shower in the morning. Yet the drivers had to brave the elements as a rough wind and heavy squalls marked another challenge to be taken. In the end Tom Gamble (juniors), Pierce Lehane (seniors), Ferenc Kancsar (DD2) and Marc Berteaux (DD2 Masters) stood firm and unshaken by the storm on the top of the Winter Cup podium.
Junior pole sitter Dean MacDonald (Strawberry Racing) tied in with his strong performance, which he had already shown the entire weekend. The youngster took the lead in the prefinal and defended it bravely up to the finish line. At first it seemed that only Dutchman Leonard Hoogenboom (Brand Racing) was able to keep the winner’s pace but as the race approached the end, Tom Gamble (Dan Holland Racing) proved to be really quick as he closed the gap to the leaders and even boosted himself onto the second place.
For the final Dean MacDonald took the lead at first. But soon he lost pace and positions, finally ending the race in tenth position. So it was Leonard Hoogenboom who gained the top quite a few laps until he had to deal with Jack McCarthy (Strawberry Racing), Tom Canning (Dan Holland Racing) and Tom Gamble (Dan Holland Racing). Finally the pressure was too big and he fell back to fourth position. On the top Gamble asserted himself in the leading role and managed to defend it up to the finish line. McCarthy followed close behind in second place ahead of Canning, completing the podium positions.
In the senior category pole sitter Pierce Lehane (Strawberry Racing) had a walkthrough in the prefinal. The man from Australia managed the best start and headed away from the rest of the grid. His win was never in danger. Behind him the decision was an open case, which up to ten drivers aimed to settle. Finally Richard Verschoor (Team TKP) and Denis Mavlanov (KR Sport) were the quickest of the pack and arranged the order among themselves, with the better outcome for Mavlanov.
In the final Pierce Lehane could not repeat his win easily. He got a lot of pressure from behind during the 15 laps of the race distance but coped with it bravely. While Richard Verschoor and Denis Mavlanov were pushed back to fourth and fifth positions, Brett Ward (Aim Motorsport) and the reigning European junior champion Thomas Preining (Team TKP) were in best shape. The duo was close on Lehane’s heels and made for a real photo finish. In the end Lehane took the victory by a winning margin of only 0.034 seconds ahead of Ward and Preining.
For the prefinal race the DD2 drivers had to deal with a drying track, which made a few driver go for rain tyres. That included Kevin Ludi (Spirit Racing), second of the grid, whose decision turned out to be the wrong one. The slick drivers were unbeatable from the very beginning. So it were the BirelART/KMS teammates Ferenc Kancsar and Xen De Ruwe determining the pace, until after a few laps De Ruwe retired due to a technical issue. So Cristiano Morgado (Dan Holland Racing), being best Masters driver at that moment, sensationally inherited the second place. But as pressure from behind got higher, the man from South Africa got off track and had to end the race. Meanwhile Kancsar took the victory without any doubt, while Portugal’s Henrique Baptista (Dan Holland Racing)) and Germany’s Luka Kamali (CRG SPA) completed the top three results. Best Masters driver was Cristobal Garcia Ramos (Binakart) from Spain in tenth place.
Ferenc Kancsar had an easy job in the final. The man from Hungary drove a solid race without any pressure from behind. After 15 laps he complemented his double success by a leading gap of almost two seconds. Behind him Luka Kamali was able to keep the second place for a quite long time. But at halftime he began losing ground, leaving the second place to his teammate Paolo De Conto. Kamali tried to save the third place up to the chequered flag but on the last metres Spain’s Oriol Dalmau (Energy Spain) conquered the last podium position on home soil. As for the Masters classification Marc Berteaux (Sologne Karting) from France took the win.
After crowning the new ROTAX Winter Cup champions one already looks forward to the next big event. From 30th of March to 5th of April the twelfth season of the ROTAX MAX Euro Challenge will hold its 2015 opening event in France. Sologne Karting at Salbris will host the spectacular season start which everyone is invited to join.
In the final Zach Claman Demelo started 7th and Oliver Askew started 13th. Askew was able to move up one position to 12th, but is still missing a few tenths to be able to battle for a podium result. Zach Claman Demelo finished 17th after he was given a 5 second penalty for contact on track.