The Rotax Max Challenge International Trophy starts strong at Le Mans

For its first edition, the Rotax Max Challenge International Trophy is already attracting drivers, teams and coaches from around the world.

Crowd overlooking the start of a race in France
Photo: KSP Photo Agency

For its first edition, the Rotax Max Challenge International Trophy is already attracting drivers, teams and coaches from around the world. While the Qualifying sessions have just finished, the pleasure of participating in the new world-wide Rotax event is obvious in the Le Mans paddock. The organisation by 3MK Events, in close collaboration with BRP-Rotax, set the bar very high by giving the Le Mans International Circuit Karting a stature it had not yet reached.

In warm summer sunshine, the battle for the Rotax Max Challenge International Trophy began with Qualifying Practice for the six categories in the presence of 296 drivers. The biggest international teams found a great arena to show their skills in a very competitive environment. It is already clear that the winners on Sunday night will be champions to watch. Drivers and teams began to compete under the ruthless eye of the clock on Wednesday night in the Senior and Junior categories after nine Free Practice sessions.

Gazeau on pole in the Senior category

The 91 drivers entered in Senior were divided into three groups. It was the third session that proved to be the fastest with César Gazeau (FRA - FA Kart) taking pole position with 52''932 ahead of Illian Bruynseels (BEL - Tony Kart). Oscar Pellemele (FRA - Sodi) completed the top three ahead of Matilda Olsson (SWE - Tony Kart), Dylan Léger (FRA - OTK) and Guilherme De Oliveira (PRT - Kosmic), the top six overall. Leader of the first session, Lachlan Robinson (ARE - OTK) was 8th while Vincent France (DEU - Exprit), 1st in session 2, was 9th.

Van Vugt impresses in Junior

With 84 participants, the Junior category also needed three sessions for their Qualifying. The performances improved up until the third group in which Mike Van Vugt (NLD - Exprit) ended up achieving a benchmark of 53''452, relegating his direct pursuer, Ryan Shehan (USA - OTK), by more than three tenths of a second, not far from Dani Van Dijk (NLD - Exprit). In the second group, Oli Pylka (POL - FA Kart) had a fastest lap of 53''984 ahead of Florian Rousseau Ricci (FRA - Kosmic) and Callum Voisin (GBR - Tony Kart). The third session was dominated by Sacha Clavadetscher (CHE - Tony Kart), who posted 54''470 on the very last lap, against Theo Antonio Kekati (ARE - Tony Kart) and Miska Kaskinen (FIN - Exprit).

The gap of more than one second between the three sessions led to the application of the 101% rule, which in this case allows the respective positions of the groups to be alternated instead of a ranking on the basis of the clock. Van Vugt was on pole position, followed by Pylka and Clavadetscher.

Cleirbaut fastest of the DD2 Masters

Carl Cleirbaut (BEL - Tony Kart) was ultimately the fastest of the 24 drivers aged 30 and over with a time of 53''095. Primoz Matelic (SVN - Praga) followed by less than a tenth while Scott Howard (AUS - Sodi) was 3rd by 0.171''.

Pole Position in DD2 for Munaretto

Paolo Besancenez (FRA - Sodi) fought with Daniel Machacek (AUT - Tony Kart) at the top of the table, then Lucas Munaretto (ITA - Birel ART) joined the fight, while Xen De Ruwe (SVN - Intrepid) did not finish the session. Munaretto finally secured pole position with a time of 52''392, Besancenez took 2nd place by 37 thousandths and Machacek finished 3rd by 0.129''

Hervas the poleman in Mini at the finish

The young French competed against each other in the Qualifying, joined by Andres Cardenas (PER - Flandria Kart) and Simon Birch Kristensen (DNK - Birel ART). Arthur Poulain (FRA - KR) was for a long time the fastest in front of Jolan Raccamier (FRA - Birel ART), but Valentin Hervas (FRA - Birel ART) clinched pole position in the very last seconds with a last lap of 58''220.

Micro: perfect equality between Strauven and Nijs

Thomas Strauven (BEL - Exprit) and Lenn Nijs (BEL - Exprit) competed for several laps before finishing in the lead with an absolutely identical time of 1'00''949. Christopher El Feghali (LBN - KR) reduced the gap to 59 thousandths and took 3rd place in the closing seconds.

The Rotax Max Challenge International Trophy continues with the Qualifying Heats until Friday evening and a Saturday dedicated to the Finals. The competition can be followed on www.rmc-internationaltrophy.com.

20190606 J3 Ss Open Announcement
Rotax Stars & Stripes Open: Earn Your Ticket!

The event will award a total of eight Grand Finals tickets where all categories will be crowning the winners.

20190220 J3 Racerotax 1024
RaceRotax.com Launched

New website designed specifically with the Northern United States Rotax enthusiast in mind.

Ss Rotax Logo Wide 988
2020 Rotax Racing Stars & Stripes program announced

With several unique changes for 2020 the program will reach into a new era focusing the Rotax platform intently on local and regional competition.

Img 1819
Johnny Johnson
3 takeaways from the Stars and Stripes Trophy

An examination of what stood out in Utah.

20190828 Rotax International Trophy Ksp
Rotax Max Challenge International Trophy: an exceptional success from the first edition

The objective was met at Le Mans from 20th to 24th August, 2019.

Ckn 8795
Nick Leone
On Location: 2018 US Rotax MAX Grand Nationals

Our event stream of all the biggest updates happening in The Garden State.

Img 2591
Johnny Johnson
Stars and Stripes Trophy: Norberg, Pierson, Adams lead the way on Sunday

Four new drivers invited to the Grand Finals in Italy to represent the USA, Canada, and Belgium.

20190825 Rotax International Trophy Ksp
Intense battles at all levels in the RMCIT heats

After 42 Qualifying Heats, the six categories in contention finally revealed the order of their finalist.

Ckn 6702
Nick Leone
U.S. Rotax MAX Grand Nationals: What To Watch For

Who will reign supreme around the 22 corner, 1.3 mile super circuit?