Kartodromo Internacional Algarve, Portugal
Great Britain win Nations Cup
It was arguably the best ever Grand Finals in terms of a British point of view. They were strong in numbers in both the Junior and Senior classes, the win in the Juniors was one of the best in Grand Finals history and there was even some cause for celebration for Ireland.
The Portimao circuit is one of the best karting facilities in Europe. Based right next to the Algarve race circuit the venue is one that is more than capable of hosting such an event and as for the racing, well a section that see’s karts flat out for 17 seconds is always going to provide close racing!
Here is the story of the 2012 Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals.
Junior – Harry Webb storms through to victory!
In total there were six drivers from Great Britain entered into the event they were; Raoul Hyman, Harry Webb, Jai Nijjar, Ryan Anderton, Josh White and Ross Gunn. Strong in numbers and heading into the final Gunn was in the box seat for victory starting 3rd place. Unfortunately, not in the final was Nijjar, he didn’t make it out of the second chance heat and would watch on to see what his compatriots could do.
As expected Gunn was involved in the lead battle right from the off fighting the likes of Janneau Esmeijer, James Golding, Jon Del Valle-Iturr and Guan Yu Zhou. It was a great scrap and behind White was up to 7th place.
The lead battle eventually lowered to just three and in the background Webb was charging through from 22nd on the grid. Once he broke clear of the chasing pack it was only a matter of time before he reached the leaders and once there Gunn was the man to clear a path for him to take the lead.
As Gunn, Esmeijer and Parker Thompson battled for 2nd Webb went on to take a memorable win. Behind, Gunn got into 3rd but was pushed wide with two corners to go dropping him to 4th place.
It’s a race that never stopped bringing exciting action!
1st Harry Webb (GBR)
2nd Janneau Esmeijer (NLD)
3rd Parker Thompson (CAN)
4th Ross Gunn (GBR)
17th Raoul Hyman (GBR)
19th Ryan Anderton (GBR)
26th Josh White (GBR)
DNQ Jai Nijjar (GBR)
Senior – Eastwood takes first Irish win!
The Senior final was one of the best races I have seen in the Grand Finals and proved the event works. You put 72 of the best kart racers in the World on the same chassis you’ll get a close race, there’s no two ways about it!
In terms of the Brits let’s start with the disappointing results. Sean Babington was a favourite especially after his performance in 2011. However, like in 2011 he’d face more heart break and bad luck finishing down in 24th. It was worse for James Singleton who was 3rd in 2011, he finished down in 34th. Harrison Scott qualified 6th, but got shoved off on the opening lap only to recover to 10th place.
At the front though there was a tremendous battle for the lead which included Ukyo Sasahara, Ed Brand, Charlie Eastwood, Oliver Hodgson and Pierce Lehane. The amount they traded places eventually saw them joined Alexandre Finklestein, Joseph Mawson and Aavo Talvar among others.
It was a brilliant race with all drivers having their turn to lead, but Eastwood got a break with three laps to go and left Brand and Hodgson to battle for 2nd whilst he went on to become the only Irish man ever to win the Grand Finals! Behind Brand and Hodgson finished 2nd and 3rd with a huge queue of karts behind them.
1st Charlie Eastwood (IRL)
2nd Ed Brand (GBR)
3rd Oliver Hodgson (GBR)
10th Harrison Scott (GBR)
24th Sean Babington (GBR)
34th James Singleton (GBR)
DD2 – Cooper does the double
In 2011 he won the Senior Grand final for Great Britain, however in 2012 Ben Cooper arrived at Portiamo to compete for Team Canada graduating to the DD2 class in the process.
Wherever the Grand Finals goes you’ll always find Cooper right at the sharp end and 2012 was no different as he led away from the font. He was briefly challenged, but would go on to take yet another victory.
Behind there was a cracking battle for 2nd which involved Konstantins Kalko, Mathias Detige, Kyle Ensbey and Miika Laiho. Ensbey push Detige wide to take 3rd on the last lap, but the places were rightly reversed post race.
As for the Brits well Patrick Pearce and Shaun Slavin were 18th and 20th respectively with Lucas Orrock 32nd.
1st Ben Cooper (CAN)
2nd Konstantins Kalko (LAT)
3rd Mathias Detige (BEL)
18th Patrick Pearce (GBR)
20th Shaun Slavin (GBR)
32nd Lucas Orrock (GBR)
DD2 Masters – Griffiths on the podium
The Masters race started with Dave Griffiths from the outside of the front row storming into the lead taking former champions Cristiano Morgado and Scott Campbell with him. The three were dicing it out with Griffiths pulling off some fantastic moves to keep Morgado and Campbell honest.
Eventually they were joined local driver, Goncalo Gaivao, but deservedly it would be Morgado, Campbell and Griffiths who finished on the podium in that order. As DD2 Masters races go it was one of the best I had seen for a long time although Morgado did not need to defend on the last lap.
1st Cristiano Morgado (RSA)
2nd Scott Campbell (CAN)
3rd Dave Griffiths (GBR)
32nd Colin Davis (GBR)
Tomorrow on #kartingmag we will look back at the 2013 Rotax Max Grand Finals
Written by Chris McCarthy