Nola Motorsports Park, New Orleans
Dream World Finals for USA
The 2013 Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals welcomed 288 drivers from 60 different countries for what was one of the biggest events in it’s history. The track looked a pretty impressive one, it wasn’t the most picturesque but it had all the ingredients to provide close racing. It was a hugely flowing circuit with one huge back straight that provided plenty of entertainment over the weekend. From a British point of view it was another one of those years that could have been so much better. Okay so the Seniors was a great result, but it could have been even better and the Junior result was a bitter pill to swallow. All of which led us to just miss out on a Nations Cup podium. However, for the Americans it was their best event to date and they had the crowds singing at the end of every final!
Here’s the story of the 2013 Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals
Junior – Most dramatic finish!
The Junior Final ended with heartbreak if you were cheering from a British point of view for two reasons, however if you were an American you wouldn’t have believed your eyes!
Brett Ward and Tom Harvey were on the front row and it was Harvey who got away the best whilst things got a bit messy behind. That left him a handy lead whilst Ward was trying to chase him down with the assistance of Juan Correa, Guan You Zhou and Ralf Aron.
As we completed lap 12 of 15, Harvey’s lead was 1.28 seconds but on the completion of lap 13 it was 0.92 seconds. Harvey couldn’t stop looking behind and I remember thinking “they’re going to catch him!”. I didn’t know whether to be nervous for Harvey or excited for Ward so instead I was both.
Coming onto the last lap Harvey was now having to defend for his World title and coming into the left hander of turn four there was some contact which cruelly took away Harvey’s chances of Word glory. It left Ward and Correa 1st and 2nd, heading into the last corner. Ward defended, but somehow Correa found just enough space on the inside and, using a tiny bit of the grass, came through to win with the home crow roaring!
It’s a race I’m sure Brett Ward and Tom Harvey like to forget, but Juan Manuel Correa it changed his karting career!
1st Juan Correa (USA)
2nd Brett Ward (GBR)
3rd Guan Yu Zhou (GBR)
5th Tom Harvey (GBR)
6th Robbie Gallier (GBR)
35th Dave Wooder (GBR)
DNQ Josh Price (GBR)
DNQ Jai Nijjar (GBR)
Senior – Victory for Hodgson
After the heart break in the Junior final with Tom Harvey, KR Sport had another chance for World glory with Oliver Hodgson on pole. The early stages saw a break away group of five containing Hodgson, Kyle Fowlie, Ed Brand, Carlos Gil and Aavo Talvar.
Although Hodgson did most of the leading others had their turn at leading the pack. Just sitting off the back of them was Philip Morin and a hard charging Oliver Askew who started in 30th place.
The changing point in the race came on lap 16, Brand, Fowlie and Gil started fighting a little too hard for 3rd leaving Hodgson and Talvar to escape. It was a nervous watch with Hodgson being caught in the dying stages, but he did just enough to hold on to take victory. A win that would change his karting career.
Talvar was 2nd and the fairy tale stories continued with Askew coming through to take 3rd on the last lap of the race!
1st Oliver Hodgson (GBR)
2nd Aavo Talvar (EST)
3rd Oliver Askew (USA)
4th Kyle Fowlie (GBR)
8th Ed Brand (GBR)
27th Max Aitken (GBR)
31st Harry Webb (GBR)
DD2 – Early exit for Ben Cooper
The DD2 race had a real shake up in the early stages after an incident on lap two which saw some favourites taken out. One of the being the defending champion Ben Cooper! Kazimieras Vasiliauskas was also out at the start as was second row starter Danny Formal.
It was a frantic fight which was always looked likely to end in tears and for me it was a incident that sealed the win for Simas Juodvirsis. In the end he won by a very comfortable 2.8 seconds but the battle for 2nd was decided at the last corner last lap!
At the same place where Correa snatched victory in the Junior class, Joey Wimsett managed to throw one of up the inside of Oriol Dalmau Caballero to have the home crowds singing once again! It was a disappointing weekend for most of the Brits, Shaun Slavin was just one example as he crashed out of 2nd place in the Pre Final. Thankfully Tom Arme brought home a solid result for Team GB.
1st Simas Juodvirsis
2nd Joey Wimsett
3rd Oriol Dalmau Caballero
5th Tom Arme
9th Shaun Slavin
11th Sean Babington
DNQ Barrie Pullinger (GBR)
DNQ Jack Saffery (GBR)
DD2 Masters – Morgado continues to dominate
Another Rotax Max Challenge Grand Final and another year where the South African, Cristiano Morgado dominated the event. He cruised to victory in the final, whilst leaving the others to battle over 2nd. You have to admire someone who can go to any country in the World and beat the 71 other best Masters drivers in such fashion.
Behind there was a great battle for 2nd between ended in quite controversial fashion The battle contained Scott Campbell and Daniel Richert, let’s run through what happened on the last lap.
On the entry to the back straight Richert made a good attempt to take 2nd, but Campbell was able to draw back alongside coming down the straight. As they went into the last corner a yellow flag was waving so Campbell didn’t defend, obviously. However, either Richert didn’t see it or simply out braked himself as he went up the inside. He celebrated coming across the line which was strange with Campbell furious behind.
Richert was penalised and dropped to 5th place post race promoting Portuguese driver, Tiago Ribeiro to the podium.
1st Cristiano Morgado (RSA)
2nd Scott Campbell (CAN)
3rd Tiago Ribeiro (POR)
4th Martin Pierce (IRL)
DNQ Brian Clifford (GBR)
DNQ Tamsin Germain (GBR)
Tomorrow on #kartingmag we will look back at the 2014 Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals
Written by Chris McCarthy