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Heading into the final round of the 2016 Rotax Max Euro Challenge, KR Sport were eager to finish the season on a high and get their first ticket to the Rotax Max Grand Finals which takes place at Sarno, Italy in October.
In the awning for the last round would be Junior drivers Joe Phillips, Olli Caldwell and Canadian driver Ryan MacDermid.
Olli Caldwell confirms his place at the World’s
Olli Caldwell has only competed in a handful of kart races this season, but when he has been in a kart he has impressed a huge amount. His weekend did not get off to an ideal start as he qualified 17th, but the team continued to work hard to get things together for the heats on Saturday.
In those Olli found himself finishing 10th, 10th and 5th. He’d stayed out of trouble and showed some great pace and had now given himself a good chance for a top three finish in the championship as we approached the point scoring races.
The first of those would be the Pre Final where Olli would start 5th. The rain had started to fall for the first time all weekend on the build up to the race, but Olli was not phased and wasted no time in going through to the lead at the start. He hit the front on the opening lap and once there got his head down to try and extend his lead. A battle then ensued with pole sitter Dylan Buys and local racer Enzo Valente.
Come the last lap board Olli was right there in 3rd place until an aggressive move from a fellow competitor saw him pushed off and back to 9th. That along with a front fairing penalty meant he would start 12th for the final.
In an interview before the final Olli said “All I want is a top three finish and a ticket to the World’s, I’m not going to taking any unnecessary risks.” A very cool approach from a driver still so young and it was that calculated thinking that saw him do enough to finish 5th and take the ticket! Olli will now represent Great Britain at Sarno in the Rotax Max Grand Finals, an event KR Sport won back in 2013 with Oli Hodgson.
Joe Phillips quickest in the Final
For his first season competing in the Euro Challenge you have to admire Joe’s performances who seemed at home racing the Worlds best. Everything has been new for Joe, the tracks, the conditions, the racing and the level of competition.
After a solid season though, Joe came into finals day at Salbris with a good chance of a top ten finish in the championship after qualifying on row four for the Pre Final.
However, the Pre Final turned into a ‘what could have been’ race. The drivers immediately ahead of Joe found themselves tripping over each other in the first corner leaving Joe nowhere to go but the gravel. Joe was able to quickly get going again and came from 25th to 11th!
Now well and truly fired up, in the final Joe went out and finished 8th in the last race along with taking the fastest lap, all of which left him 10th in the championship. Had he of qualified at the front there’s no doubt he would have stayed there, but the momentum he’ll now be carrying into next season should make him a title contender!
“To sum up the championship and my first time racing in Europe I’d say we had a successful season. We started with a pole at Genk which was followed by an unfortunate Castelletto round. Zuera and Salbris were both relatively successful and to end up 10th overall is a result I’m happy with. I think we could have ended with a podium had we not come off in the Pre Final, but in a tough field we’ve shown we have the pace to win already.”
Ryan MacDermid shows winning pace!
For all the pace he had Ryan MacDermid never quite had the luck or results he deserved, but he had plenty of positives to take away from the weekend.
He qualified 18th which was a decent start, but two DNF’s in the heats really set him back for the finals. In the heat he did finish he managed to take the fastest lap which proved he had the pace, but any racer out there knows you just have those weekends at times when it’s not meant to be.
Thankfully for Ryan his best result of the weekend came in the final. After finishing the Pre Final in 19th he moved forward to 15th in the Final and was quicker than 2nd place finisher Enzo Valente! He would have learnt a lot this weekend and hopefully the experience leads into some more positive results next season.
This weekend the team will be racing at Genk for the last round of the BNL Series where more Grand Final tickets are up for grabs with KR Sport drivers towards the front of the queue!
Tom Canning sitting 3rd
Tom Canning currently sits 3rd in the championship and on dropped scores is nine points behind leader Leroy Jagesar. Mark Kimber is 2nd but already has his ticket. Not only does Tom have a strong chance in winning the championship, he also is in the prime spot to win a ticket.
He’s already had a win this season and came very close to adding to that tally at Ostricourt despite his lack of experience there. Now back at a track he is more familiar with there is no reason why Tom can’t do the business this weekend and ahead of it he quoted:
“My aim for this weekend is to get a ticket to the World Finals. I believe there are drivers ahead of me who have already won tickets, but I’ll just be concentrating on my own races and see where I end up at the end. I won a final last time the BNL was here so there’s no reason why I can’t win more this weekend.”
Turney looking for first BNL win
Joe Turney is another driver in the team chasing a championship win and World Final ticket. He’s currently eleven points behind Jagesar and just two points behind his team mate Tom Canning.
Although there’ll be a chance Turney and Canning are fighting each other, like in Ostricourt if they get the chance they will certainly work together to reduce Jagesar’s chances of being involved as well.
Joe has hit very good form at just the right time for this event and commented: “To secure the result we want I feel four top three finishes are going to be needed. If we do that I think a ticket to the World Final could be on the cards. The team have worked very hard and that’s shown with me and Tom right in the fight for the championship.”
Joining Joe and Tom will be…
Olli and Joe Phillips will also be competing at BNL this weekend to make it a total of four drivers in the awning and combined there is no reason why wins and podiums over the four races should be on the cards!
To follow the action LIVE this weekend head to – http://www.motorsport-events.se/bnllive/
Want to enquire about joining the team?
Click here to visit their website or contact Team Manager, Ash Orchard directly at firstname.lastname@example.org