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Yesterday saw finals day for the 2017 Rotax Winter Cup where for the first time Rotax Max Challenge Grand Final tickets would be up for grabs for the winners in the Junior Max, Senior Max and DD2 classes.
The most competitive class was certainly Senior Max which saw plenty of new faces due to the recent CIK-FIA rule changes. There was a full grid of 34 karts with the British drivers a strong presence as ever.
Johnathan Hoggard won the Pre-Final and would start pole with Jordan Brown-Nutley starting directly behind. As the race got underway the two Brits were joined by former Euro Challenge Champion, Thomas Preining and Felix Warge who competed at last year’s Grand Finals.
One of the big moments in the race came on the penultimate lap, Hoggard passed Warge for 2nd and had caught Brown-Nutley, but going into the last corner Warge managed to get back through delaying Hoggard in the process. As Brown-Nutley hit the anchors on the last lap Hoggard was quickly back with the lead duo, but had any chances of victory taken away from him in an incident with Preining on the last lap.
That left it down to a straight fight for victory between Brown-Nutley and warge and despite the huge pressure Brown-Nutley held on to take victory and book his place at the 2017 Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals! It will be Jordan’s first visit to the World’s biggest kart event and given his recent form by the time he gets there he’ll be certainly considered a strong contender.
On the win Jordan commented: “It’s a great feeling to have won a Grand Finals ticket so early in the year! This will put in a great position to be able to relax during the year a bit more and enjoy the racing. The team (Dan Holland Racing) and my Grandad have done a great job to get the kart setup perfect and I’m really looking forward to the rest of the year!”
Xavier Handsaeme wins Junior ticket!
Xavier Handsaeme will make his return to the Grand Finals this year after winning the Junior final yesterday. The young Belgian represented his country last year in the CIK-FIA Karting Academy Trophy and finished 4th in the championship. His first Grand Finals campaign went pretty well with 15th in the final and he’ll have the chance to do it all over again this year.
The new rules on age limits meant the Junior class was filled with new faces was very wide open when it came to picking a winner. Xavier was probably considered a favourite by many given his credentials and he managed to break clear from Luka Nurmi and Tijmen van der Helm with a lap and a half to take victory after a closely fought final.
Oriol Dalmau Caballero wins on home soil
Spaniard Oriol Dalmau Caballero took the win on home soil to book his place to the Grand finals for the fifth consecutive year! Oriol has fond memories of the Grand Finals and made the podium back in 2013 in New Orleans (USA). He was probably considered by many a favourite for this event and took the win in some style as he cruised off to win barely challenged the whole final.
He was joined on the podium by country man Jorge Carlos Pescador and Kacper Bielecki who was 15th at the 2016 Grand Finals.
Oli Pylka dominates Mini Max class
The Mini Max class was new to the Winter Cup this year and will feature in the Euro Challenge too. It may have been a slow start in terms of entries, but far from slow was Poland’s Oli Pylka who won every race over the weekend to win the Winter Cup. There was no Grand Final tickets up for grabs in the Mini Max class but it will certainly give Oli confidence heading into the season.
He was joined on the podium by Diaraf Keinde (UAE) and Balaz Valint (HUN).
Written by Chris McCarthy
Images courtesy of The RaceBox
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