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Jordan Brown-Nutley’s unbeaten record for 2017 came to an end at the weekend with fellow Brit leaving Genk in the championship lead. It was Rotax Max Euro Challenge season opener and the mixed weather conditions saw an impressive win from Noah Roovers in Seniors and domination from the Dutch drivers in the Juniors. Round ups of the DD2 and Mini Max classes also included.
Roovers unstoppable in Senior Max
Despite the hugely competitive field it was hardly a surprise to see Jordan Brown-Nutley take pole position with Johnathan Hoggard, Berkay Besler and Felix Warge completing the front two rows. The main question heading into the final was could Brown-Nutley be stooped for the first time this year? As he charged into a healthy lead the answer looked like it was going to be no, that was until Noah Roovers found time where no-one else could. He cut through Hoggard before putting an excellent move on Brown-Nutley which saw him drop back to 3rd place.
From there Roovers never looked back and went on to take an emotional victory on home soil! Behind Hoggard just held on to 2nd from Brown-Nutley in a drag race to the line, but Brown-Nutley received a front fairing penalty post-race which dropped him to 4th. It looked like it happened in Brown-Nutley’s attempt to pull of a switch back on Hoggard at the last corner.
In terms of championship points Hoggard leaves as the leader on 85 points, with Brown-Nutley on 83 and Roovers on 82 points.
Dutch trio dominate Junior class
The Junior Max class was all about the Ducth trio Tijmen van der Helm, Mike van Vugt and Pepijn Kraaijeveld. The three shared the top three spots in the Pre-Final with Van der Helm winning from Kraaijeveld and Van Vugt, but they would finish the final in a different order. The three got a perfect start in the final, but the danger man was on his way in the shape of Luca Leistra. The Belgian looked set to ruin to Dutch party after reeling them in on his own with just two laps to go. But valiant defending from Kraaijeveld saw Cuppens catch back up and in an attempt to pass Leistra, Cuppens made contact which allowed Kraaijeveld back through and handed him a podium place.
Up ahead it was a one lap showdown between Van der Helm and Van Vugt. The latter was the chaser, but credit to van der Helm he was soaked up the pressure immensely well and left himself not needing defend at the last corner as he took victory and a maximum score of 89 points back to Holland!
New faces at the front of DD2
As the likes of Kevin Ludi, Constantin Schoell and Barrie Pullinger hit problems, new faces appeared at the front in DD2 as the German Max Fleischmann came through to take victory from Villi Villainen. They weren’t alone though, ever improving Haralds Gaarkalis almost took victory with the trio barely apart going onto last lap where Fleischmannwas able to fend off Garkaklis who was passed by Villainen. Behind Ludi’s title defence got off to a bad start as he seemed to lack pace and finish 7th. Meanwhile Schoell was leading until he hit problems mid race which dropped him to 15th. It’s thrown a spanner into the works and could we be staring at some new championship contenders in the likes of Fleischmann, Villainen and Garkaklis.
Gianni Andrisani wins Mini Max
Despite starting back 5th it was the German driver Andrisani who took victory from Oli Plyka who had to come through from dead last on the grid. Rounding off the podium was polesitter Kris Haanen who leaves the weekend 2nd in the championship just one point behind Andrisani.
Written by Chris McCarthy
Image courtesy of The RaceBox