Nick Leone

Wang again leads Rotax MAX Team USA through qualifying in Portugal

After qualifying and one heat race now in the books in Portugal, here's a quick rundown of the action.

Photo: Canadian Karting News

Welcome to the 2017 Rotax Max Challenge World Finals in Portimao Portugal. Although a small city in Portugal, there are heaps of history and events that unfold(ed) here. The famous Dakar Rally passes through the city each year, and holds testing for Formula 1 teams in years past.  Our American warriors are here battling against 400 of the world’s best, and challenges are already proving to be evident, however there are no signs of backing down. Here are how the events leading up to today, Wednesday, November 8, 2017 unfolded.

Micro Max was a class to set your eyes on, as both Brent Crews and Jack Jeffers threw down a performance worth watching. The duo is making it evident that Team USA is here, and here for glory. With Jeffers in P8 and Crews P9, the possibility for progressive advancement is more than capable.

Josh Pierson has made his stamp in the Mini Max category, claiming outside pole in the 36 kart category. Aidan Fox had weaker qualifying session, after having issues, placing 27th, however he was quick to make up time and positions, finishing 17th in heat 1. Pierson dropped to fourth in his lone heat race, but is very much in the mix.

Junior Max was undoubtedly a difficult category for the Americans. Despite weak qualifying efforts, both Jack Crawford, Arias Deukmedjian and Tyler Gonzalez brought their impeccable young talent to the table, showing they are quite handy in the card game we call heat racing. The trio all qualified outside the top 20, however all finished within the top 10 in their groups.

Senior Max is a day to move on from, however with strong hopes to come Thursday. No Americans cracked the top 20, much like Junior Max, they showed great race pace. Luke Selliken cracked P8 in heat one, and if we open the record books we can throw it back to 2015 with his podium finish for Team USA. Let us not be quick to sleep on the performance of our drivers, as success is that much sweeter in adversity.

DD2 Masters Pole and Derek Wang is a term we are familiar with, well because it happened again! Wang is showing the world what he is made of leading all 72 Master to the green, we are excited to see what the man under the helmet will be bringing. Others such as Ariel Castro appeared to struggle, however their veteran skills will certainly prove themselves as the weekend progresses.

DD2 is a class the was absent in terms of action from the lone wolf Nathan Mauel. After having difficulties, we are looking to see how he fights his way through the field. We are certain he is capable of bring more to the table, after fighting his way to represent Team USA.

Tomorrow will consist of more heat racing, to lock in the grids come Saturday. We have seen in years past what our Americans are capable of, and a little adversity never hurt anyone. In fact, adversity has proven to be the secret ingredient to success. We will be keeping a close eye and cheering on our drivers from all the way across the pond.