Portimão, Portugal – Tuesday, November 10, 2015
The first practice day of the Rotax MAX Challenge Grand Finals
Competitors and mechanics pushed their karts to pit lane this morning to participate in three 15-minute practice sessions. Drivers took the opportunity to get familiar with the track, their chassis, engine and their competitors. Together with their mechanics, drivers worked to improve their chassis set-up for Wednesday’s qualifying round.
Drivers usually take advantage of practice No. 1 to break-in their new Rotax engines. If the motors are not warmed up slowly the engines may not run at the best performance during the remainder of the week.
Transponders were provided to all drivers at the end of the first non-qualifying practice and will be mandatory as of practice No. 2 – the beginning of the on-track action.
Practice No. 2 saw the Junior MAX field fight for the top of the time charts. Some of last year’s top names returned to the field, including the Lithuanian Rokas Baciuska. However, it was the Fin Roope Ropanen who posted the fastest time with a 1.02.526, less than one-tenth faster than Hungarian Zsombor Kovacs, who posted a 1.02.592.
Practice No. 3 saw Austrian Nicolas Schoell with the fastest lap time – a 1.02.657 – just eighthundredths ahead of Harrison Thomas from the UK.
The 125 MAX field proved to be very competitive. Rinus Van Kalmthout from the Netherlands took the top spot during practice No. 2 with a 1.01.114, seven-thousandths faster than the Italian Alex Alex. Page 2 This time around, the Italian Alex Alex posted the best lap time, with a 1.00.673, four-tenths faster than American Lucas Selliken.
125 MAX DD2 Masters
Practice No. 2 saw Robert Schluenssen from Denmark run the fastest time with a 59.972, just two-thousandths faster than Brazilian Leonardo Nienkotter.
Tomokazu Kawase of Japan posted the fastest lap time, a 59.779, in practice No. 3, with Antti Ollikainen of Finland trailing with the second fastest lap time, of a 59.862.
125 MAX DD2
Familiar and fast names were in the DD2 class, hinting this category will feature some of the best and most competitive racing. The famous names include Rubens Barrichello, Ferenc Kancsar, Max Hofer, Jason Pringle, Luke Varley and Andrea Backman.
Practice No. 2 saw Austrian Max Hofer storm to the top of the time sheets with a fastest time of 59.550. The DD2 field proved to be very competitive as Hofer was just over six-hundredths faster than Hungarian, Ferenc Kancsar. The tables turned in practice No. 3, and Kancsar ran the fastest lap time, posting a 59.304. What a great way to start out the Grand Finals: 72 racers per class posting competitive times within hundredths of a second of each other! Stay tuned for our upcoming daily reports, which bring the intense action of the RMCGF to you!
Live timing is available on the RMCGF homepage, at http://www.rotax-kart.com/en/MaxChallenge/Grand-Finals/Grand-Finals-2015/LIVESTREAM.