In superb weather conditions, the 245 drivers of the Rotax MAX Challenge International Trophy competed in 28 Qualifying Heats to select the finalists and determine the starting order of the decisive Prefinals and Finals to be run on Saturday 30th July in Le Mans.
The excitement was constant since Thursday afternoon on the 1368 m of the most famous French track. With uncertain races until the finish line, countless overtaking, great sportsmanship, growing tension, hellish climbs and twists and turns, all the elements were gathered for a great competition meeting in the purest Rotax spirit. The day ended in a warm festive atmosphere with the drivers' parade followed by a cocktail for everyone.
Robillot Lagache fights for the lead in the Micro Max
The Briton Albert Friend (Tony Kart/Rotax/Mojo) won twice, but the French poleman Léni Robillot Lagache (Tony Kart/Rotax/Mojo) managed to keep his advantage with a nice consistency. British driver Jenson Chalk (Croc Promotion/Rotax/Mojo), who had the same score, climbed from 6th to 2nd place ahead of Friend, while Lithuanian driver Majus Mazinas (Parolin/Rotax/Mojo) finished 4th and Dutch driver Senn Lindeman (Birel ART/Rotax/Mojo) remained in the top five.
Mini Max: Strele wins three times
Thanks to his perfect score, Latvian Toms Strele (LN/Rotax/Mojo) of the Dan Holland Racing team moved up from 4th to 1st place in Mini Max. Swiss driver Paul Schoen (KR/Rotax/Mojo) secured a series of 2nd places to take the lead over Austrian poleman Dragos Avasilcutei (Sodi/Rotax/Mojo) of the KSCA Sodi Europe team. Frenchman Antoine Grisel (Kosmic/Rotax/Mojo) made a strong comeback of 13 positions to 4th place ahead of UAE driver Zain Elhommossany (KR/Rotax/Mojo) of the KR Sport team (+4 pl).
Junior Max: Feghali takes the lead
Starting from 6th place in Qualifying, Lebanon's Christopher Fegalhi (LN/Rotax/Mojo) of the Dan Holland Racing team won three times to take the lead in Junior Max against Greece's Georgios Kanfantaris (Exprit/Rotax/Mojo) of KMS Europe who made up 10 places. The biggest improvement in the front group was made by Croatian Leon Zelenko (Exprit/Rotax/Mojo) of the JJ Racing team who moved up from 24th to 3rd. Poland's Colin Wazny (Kosmic/Rotax/Mojo) KR Sport was 4th ahead of Britain's Scott Marsh (LN/Rotax/Mojo) of Dan Holland Racing. German poleman Austin Lee (Exprit/Rotax/Mojo) of the JJ Racing team lost ground in his first race and fell to 12th.
Senior Max: Rillaerts impresses
Belgian poleman Kai Rillaerts (Sodi/Rotax/Mojo) of the JJ Racing team achieved a great feat as a rookie by winning all four Qualifying Heats despite formidable competition in Senior Max. Two Frenchmen finished in the top three: Nolan Lemeray (EOS/Rotax/Mojo) moved up three places to 2nd position and Enzo Caldaras (Sodi/Rotax/Mojo) Kart Pro Racing, once winner, kept his 3rd position. The British driver Lewis Gilbert (Tony Kart/Rotax/Mojo) regained no less than eight places in 4th position ahead of the German Janne Stiak (Kosmic/Rotax/Mojo) Kraft Motorsport, 2nd in Qualifying.
DD2: Barbaroux holds on to his ambition
Thanks to his two victories, French poleman Antoine Barbaroux (Sodi/Rotax/Mojo) largely dominated the DD2 heats. The Polish driver Dawid Maslakiewicz (DR/Rotax/Mojo) 46 Team came back from 5th to 2nd place against the Italian Gregorio Bertocco (Tony Kart/Rotax/Mojo) and the Briton Edward Matthews (LN/Rotax/Mojo) of the Dan Holland Racing team, who improved by 10 places. The Danish Mathias Bjerre Jakobsen (Tony Kart/Rotax/Mojo) with RS Competition was in the top five, while the Frenchman Paolo Besancenez (Birel ART/Rotax/Mojo) of the KMD team lost a lot of ground at the start of the first race and dropped from 2nd to 9th place, despite a victory.
DD2 Masters: Cussac-Picot still dominates
Frenchman Vivien Cussac-Picot (Tony Kart/Rotax/Mojo), who took pole position, confirmed his talent by winning all three Qualifying Heats. The Slovenian Primoz Matelic (Praga/Rotax/Mojo) of team SSC progressed from 5th to 2nd position against the French Olivier Paris (LN/Rotax/Mojo). Frenchman Paul Louveau (Redspeed/Rotax/Mojo), who was deprived of a time in Qualifying, made an impressive comeback in 4th position ahead of his compatriot Romain Mangé (LN/Rotax/Mojo) with Malevaut Sport.
Programme of Saturday 30th July
08:00 - 08:59: Warm-up (5')
09:19 - 10:54: Prefinals Mini, Micro, DD2M, DD2
10:59 - 12:09: Finals C and B Senior, Junior
13:45 - 14:00: Warm-up A Junior, Senior (5')
14:20 - 17:32: Finals A
The competition can be followed live on the RMCIT official website and Facebook page.