The Rotax Grand Finals photo. 360 brand new karts from BirelART, Sodikart and Praga all lined up before the chassis raffle. The hill was an added challenge for RGF organizers to prepare for this photo, with one official citing a Sodikart rep may have played dominoes during the arrangement.
Team USA was short a member in Brazil as Max Hewitt was a last-minute withdrawal due to a visa issue.
While the circuit was great for racing, the facility made some very last minute adjustments to accommodate the 360 racers, placing the drivers tent on top of the hill, and cutting out a path for the mechanics to push their karts up and down each day. #LegDayEveryday
Once again, the Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals attracted drivers from around the world, with nearly 60 different countries having representation in Brazil.
The unique location featured the Paladino International Circuit carved into a hill in Conde, Brazil. It’s elevation challenges were very welcome from racers and provided great racing all week. It also provided a unique backdrop.
Luca Mars qualified third fastest in his Junior Max group, but ended up 24th overall due to the changing track conditions. Not letting it get to him throughout the week, he pushed forward in every session and ended the week with a solid sixth place result.
On the Monday and Tuesday practice days the weather was very unpredictable. Intense heat and heavy winds meant rain could fall at any given time, and it did often. But the high humidity meant the track dried up quick, often in the same session that it rained in, and rain tires were rarely used.
With the hot conditions, the MOJO D5 rubber was laid down on track and built up as the week progressed. This is something Rotax racers are not accustomed to and was a common subject all week long in Brazil.
Hannes Morin of Sweden was the fastest qualified in Senior Max, and ran up front all week, but some immature driving from a number of Senior drivers allowed one driver to break free and take an ‘easy’ victory while the rest continued to race only for second place in the race that mattered most.
A glimpse of the rubber build up in corner eight.
Nearly everywhere at the circuit provided excellent viewing of the racing and while the hill was feared to create some havoc on the starts, the pushback bumpers helped keep the drivers separated until after turn one.
After a three-year hiatus to recovery from an injury, South African driver Christiano Morgado was back at the RGF and he earned his fifth title, controlling DD2 Masters from start to finish.
Helmut Voglsam, one of the main organizers for the Rotax Max Challenge was a busy man in Brazil, but he deserves the credit for helping put on one of the best Rotax Grand Finals we’ve ever attended.
The annual drivers photo. 360 drivers + the entire BRP Rotax Max staff nearly filled the massive grandstand at the top of the hill.
The opening ceremonies and drivers presentation was kicked off with a military band as well as a youth band that provided excellent music and activity before it was down to business on Grand Final Saturday.
The drivers parade is always a chance for national teams to come together and pose for a photo with the Rotax ladies.
The nineteenth Rotax Grand Finals included the Rotax E Karts for the first time, hosting the FIA South American E Kart Championships as well as a Rotax Grand Finals E Kart Race which featured many of the drivers who competed in the German E Kart Championship in 2018.
Brent Freaking Crews! Could he be one of the best young drivers ever? He added a victory in Micro-Max to his impressive season that also included wins at the SKUSA SuperNationals and IAME International Final.
Rotax Junior winner Robert De Haan was one of a number of drivers from the Netherlands to finish on the podium in Brazil. However, they somehow didn’t even finish on the Nations Cup podium…
While security was a concern going into the event, the circuit was very well managed by guards, who even took a moment on Saturday to pose for some photos with the beautiful Rotax Max ladies. As far as we are aware, there were no issues in Brazil.
After the event, each and every chassis was packed up in the same pallets they arrived in, as each arrived on a bond and needed to leave the country after the race to avoid the large Brazilian import tax.
Two North Americans on the Rotax DD2 podium. Both Daniel Formal and Taylor Greenfield qualified through the US Open of New Jersey and were threats for victory, but a flying Frenchman left that wondering ‘what if?’ on the podium.