The Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals fires into life this weekend as drivers get ready for one of the biggest karting events in the World. Entered into the DD2 class as ever are 72 drivers who have won tickets throughout this season and all racing on equal equipment supplied by Rotax and the relevant chassis partners gives all an equal chance at victory. In this article we will look at some ones to watch along with the driver I am predicting to win the event. We will also look at the British drivers taking part in the event.
Bruno Borlido – Vice Senior Champion in 2014 – Predicted Winner
Bruno Borlido has featured at the last six Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals events but this will be the first time the Portuguese driver will do it in the DD2 class. Over Bruno’s six years at the Grand Finals most have been full of bad luck come finals day but his best result was back in 2014 where in the traitorous conditions he was able to finish 2nd at Valencia behind Carlos Gil (ESP). With his track knowledge if Bruno can keep himself towards the front throughout the heats I think he has a very good chance of victory next Saturday.
Ferenc Kancsar – Reigning Double-Defnding Champion in DD2
He’s the man to go unbeaten at the toughest race in World Karting two years on the trot and now Ferenc is looking to make it three titles in three years to match Christian Morgado’s (RSA) record between 2012 and 2014 in DD2 Masters. Ben Cooper is another driver to have three Grand Finals titles to his name having won his third back in 2012 at Portimao. Doing the double put Ferenc on level pegging with Wesleigh Orr (RSA) who completed the same feet in 2004 and 2005. Another South African did similar in the shape of Caleb Williams (2009 & 2010) although that was across two different classes. Pier-Luc Ouelette, Christophe Adams and Ukyo Sasahara are the only other drivers in the prestigious list of eight drivers to win more than one title. However, next Ferenc could join Morgado as the only two drivers to win three in a row!
Constantin Schoell – Rotax Max Euro Challenge Champion 2017
Winning the last Rotax Max Euro Challenge this year was Constantin Schoell. The Austrian drove a good Grand Finals last year qualifying an impressive 6th for the final before things went slightly pear shaped in the final. First Grand Final nerves perhaps but with that now out of the way I think he could be a real threat this year. He is the reigning European Champion which has helped Kancsar to titles in the past.
Gerard Cebrian Ariza – IAME International Final Champion 2017 Shifter
The Spaniard was the surprise package at the IAME International Final and went on to win in dramatic fashion. Gerard was unbeatable in the final but Tom Bale did have a go into turn one on the last lap in a do or die attempt which almost saw them both out of the race. Thankfully for Gerard he limped home to still take the win. He’s got plenty of experience racing in DD2’s and more so in the KZ2 class. High on confidence and based not a million miles away from the circuit I think the CRG driver will challenge for a podium at the very least
Glenn van Parijs – BNL Rotax Golden Trophy Champion
Glenn van Parijs qualified through via the BNL Rotax Golden Trophy event having stepped away from karting this year but coming back for this event do not expect him to be any slower than he was before. Having been racing in GT4’s Glenn still raced in the Winter Cup earlier this year along with selected BNL events. He’s looked quick every time he’s been out and was quite simply unstoppable at Genk two weeks ago. Glenn finished 10th at last years Grand Finals in the Senior class so has the experience required to do well next week.
Others who could challenge…
Zachary Claman De Melo – 3rd in 2014, Vice Supernats Champion 2016
Despite racing in Indy Lights Zach Claman De Melo continues to race in karts and was 2nd at the super competitive SKUSA Supernationals event in Las Vegas late last year. The Canadian also still keeps his hand in the Florida Winter Tour an din the process has gained a space to race at the Grand Finals for a fifth time. In his previous four visits he has taken an 11th, 10th and more impressively a 3rd at Valencia in 2014.
Oriol Dalmau Cabbellero – Rotax Winter Cup Champion 2017
Oriol Dalmau Cabbellero has featured at the last four Grand Finals and is a driver who always seems to keep himself out of trouble. His best result at the event thus far came back in 2015 at Portimao when he finished 5th place and with the event revisiting I can only see him improving. His win at the Rotax Winter Cup earned him his space and saw him beat many of his rivals he’ll be facing once again this weekend.
Xen De Ruwe – Plenty of experience, deserves a good result
Xen has been a top quality driver for a number of years now, particularly in the DD2 class. He has four Grand Finals under his belt, two of those (2013 & 2012) have been complete disasters but the other two (2014 & 2011) saw Xen take a 11th and 10th place respectively. Although missing from the Grand Finals he still has very impressive form at European Rotax events and coming back in after a two year absence may be just what the Belgian needs.