Last weekend, the Rotax MAX Challenge Euro Trophy held the next round. In French Val d’Argenton, the races ranked three and four of the high-class racing series took place. The championship welcomed its participants from all over the world on a new track on the racing calendar for the season at the halfway mark and provided exciting challenges in the best weather.
After a successful kick-off in Belgian Genk, the Rotax MAX Challenge Euro Trophy celebrated a premiere in French Val d’Argenton. For the first time, the international championship took place on the challenging track located 120km south-southeast of Nantes on the west coast of France. 144 drivers started on the 1,280 m long track where the new winners were celebrated Sunday evening. For round 2, they were Boaz Maximov (Mini MAX), Ethan Jeff-Hall (Junior MAX), Kai Rillaerts (Senior MAX), Thijs Stevens (Project E20 Junior), Bradley Barrett (Project E20 Senior), Mark Kimber (DD2) and Martynas Tankevicius (DD2 Masters).
Mini MAX: Boaz Maximov continues winning streak
A well-known face presented itself as a title favourite early on in the Rotax Mini: Boaz Maximov (Bouvin Power) already shone at the kick-off in Genk with a double victory and continued his perfect performance in France. The Dutchman achieved pole position and won all three heats. In the final races, the youngster couldn’t be stopped either and crossed the finish line as the winner twice.
The races weren’t easy for Maximov though. Toms Strele (Dan Holland Racing) was at the front of the field for a short time during the first race, but then had to give up his position again. The Latvian was the first driver of the field of pursuers then and fought for second place. At the finish line, Strele prevailed and came in second in front of Zain Elhommossany, Paul Schoen (54 Squadra Corse) and Carlos Nees (Nees Racing).
Strele gained the lead for several kilometers during the second final as well. Towards the middle of the race, Maximov took the lead again though and put the Dan Holland protégé and Albert Friend (SFR Motorsport) on second and third positions. Schoen completed the leading quartet and even came in third in the end. Friend fell back to fourth place, but crossed the finish line with a considerable gap to the rest of the field. Elhommossany from the United Arab Emirates completed the top five.
Event results – Mini MAX
1. Boaz Maximov (50 points)
2. Toms Strele (40 points)
3. Paul Schoen (29 points)
4. Zain Elhommossany (27 points)
5. Albert Friend (23 points)
Junior MAX: Ethan Jeff-Hall strengthens championship lead due to double victory
After qualifying of the juniors, the audience’s eyes were on Gustavs Usakovs (Dan Holland Racing). The Brit drove the fastest lap time of qualifying to take pole position. The young driver had to give up his lead during the heats though. Austin Lee (JJ Racing) impressed in the heat races and achieved the top position in the interim rankings after two victories.
The JJ Racing driver won the start in Final 1, but Lee lost it after the first lap. Scott Marsh (Dan Holland Racing) set the pace among the field consisting of 25 drivers – yet Enzo Bol (SP Motorsport) and Tommie van der Struijs kept very close. Towards the middle of the race, things in the leading group got turbulent. Ethan Jeff-Hall (Strawberry Racing) drove an assertive race and succeeded in his attack during the last lap to win in front of Marsh and Bol. Van der Struijs followed in fourth place, but fell back due to a time penalty and therefore promoted Lee and Kasper Schormans (JJ Racing) to fourth and fifth positions.
The result of the second race was a little clearer. Hall defended his position from the start and drove away from the field, followed by Bol who constantly put pressure on the leading driver. He didn’t get a chance to attempt any kind of move on the fast Brit until the end of the race though. Marsh followed on third place. Van der Struijs made good progress and drove from tenth to fourth, followed by Leon Zelenko (JJ Racing).
Event results – Junior MAX
1. Ethan Jeff-Hall (50 points)
2. Enzo Bol (36 points)
3. Scott Marsh (36 points)
4. Leon Zelenko (21 points)
5. Tommie van der Struijs (19 points)
Senior MAX: Kai Rillaerts on top of the podium
The power density of the Rotax Seniors was high as usual on the track in Val d’Argenton. Jason Leung (KR Sport) drove the best time and therefore was the clear favourite of the category consisting of 50 drivers. The Canadian proved his ambitions during the heats with a victory – Kai Rillaerts (JJ Racing) won the other two heats through and achieved the first starting position for the Final 1 in front of Leung.
In the third-ranked race of the year, Rillaerts was the man of the hour then. The Belgian showed a flawless race. Lap after lap, the reigning Junior champion drove away from the field of pursuers and won with a considerable advance after 18 laps. Sean Butcher (KR Sport) went from seventh to second position and completed the top three with Mathilda Olsson (Strawberry Racing). Leung couldn’t quite match the leading driver’s pace and came in fourth. The fight for fifth place was exciting until the end. Callum Bradshaw (Strawberry Racing) kept a level head to complete the top five.
After the start of the second race, it looked like another start-to-finish victory for Rillaerts. But Olsson showed her ambitions early on by driving best times and kept getting closer to the leading driver. Towards the middle of the race, the Swede managed a successful manoeuvre and the balance of power at the front changed. Until the end of the race, the Senior rookie couldn’t stop Olsson from winning and came in second. He still won the gold trophy of the ranking of the day though: “I’d like to thank my team for their great work this weekend. We’ve now taken the lead of the championship and are going to start into the second half of the season highly motivated”, Rillaerts said. The remaining positions were Kai Hunter (Dan Holland Racing) in third in front of Butcher and Bradshaw.
Event results – Senior MAX
1. Kai Rillaerts (45 points)
2. Mathilda Olsson (41 points)
3. Sean Butcher (33 points)
4. Kai Hunter (26 points)
5. Callum Bradshaw (22 points)
Project E20 Junior: Thijs Stevens at the top in France as well
The junior class of the Rotax Project E20 celebrated its second official racing event ever in Val d’Argenton. Kacper Turoboyski (Bambini Racing) stayed very calm at the beginning. After pole position during qualifying, the Pole achieved three victories in the heats and thereby highlighted his winning ambitions once again.
Turoboyski also showed these during the first race. The young driver knew how to use his starting position well and led the field. Franciszek Cegielski came close to the pole-sitter quickly and drove past the Bambini Racing driver. A thrilling fight for the top position followed and was won after nine minutes by Cegielski. A time penalty threw him back to fifth place though and made Turoboyski the winner of the race. This left Ollie Wise in second place ahead of Thijs Stevens and Tom Langlois.
The second race started promisingly for Turoboyski as well, yet in the meantime, Wise used his chance to take the lead. In the beginning, Stevens played an observing role, but came closer to attacking during the course of the race and took the lead. The young Dutchman drove away from the field and celebrated the race victory on the podium. Cegielski came in second in front of Wise. The top five of the second race were completed by Turoboyski and Langlois.
Event results – Project E20 Junior
1. Thijs Stevens (41 points)
2. Kacper Turoboyski (38 points)
3. Ollie Wise (36 points)
4. Franciszek Cegielski (31 points)
5. Tom Langlois (24 points)
Project E20 Senior: Rhys Hunter and Bradley Barrett share victories
In the electric kart Senior E20 class, Rhys Hunter displayed an impressive first performance in the Rotax E-kart. The seasoned driver from Great Britain drove the fastest lap during qualifying and won two heats. He, therefore, started the first final race from pole position alongside Bradley Barrett (Sodi Vitesse).
Hunter was unstoppable once more. His experience showed in a flawless performance on the track in Val d’Argenton. Barrett was directly behind the pole-sitter shortly before the end of the race, but wasn’t able to drive past anymore. Nino Riepl observed the events in front of him from third position and crossed the finish line in the shadow of the leaders. Fabien Mihoub came in fourth ahead of Samuel Chappell.
During the second race, things got really close again between Hunter and Barrett at the front. Barrett took the lead early on and set the pace over Hunter and Riepl. Temporarily, the two leading drivers changed positions, but Barrett proved his intentions immediately. The Brit kept his cool until the end of the race and took the win from the pair still chasing. “The return to the Project E20-grid was exciting. The races were tough, but fair and showed the potential of a steadily developing class”, commented the winner of the day Barrett. Mihoub came in fourth again, followed by Luca Nieuwenhuizen.
Event results – Project E20 Senior
1. Bradley Barrett (45 points)
2. Rhys Hunter (45 points)
3. Nino Riepl (32 points)
4. Fabien Mihoub (26 points)
5. Luca Nieuwenhuizen (20 points)
DD2: Unstoppable Mark Kimber
In the DD2, Mark Kimber (Strawberry Racing) already proved his class at the series kick-off in Genk and highlighted this in Val d’Argenton even more. The class newcomer experienced a perfect weekend: pole position, three heat victories as well as an uncontested double victory. “It wasn’t easy to win the heats because the pace of the top drivers was very balanced. My focus for the races was a perfect start and flawless driving then. The plan worked and we gained maximum championship points”, Kimber rejoiced at the finish line.
During the first race, Martijn van Leeuwen (Schepers Racing) took the role of pursuer quickly and kept close to Kimber at the front. But during the course of the race, the reigning RMC Grand Finals DD2 Champion had to fend off Mathias Bjerre Jakobsen (RS Competition). Eventually, the Dane got past the Dutchman to finish second. Philipp Moitzi (KSCA Sodi Europe) won the fight for fourth place in front of Paolo Besancenez.
Van Leeuwen put on a great performance at the start of the Final 1 and took second place. Besancenez kept him under pressure though. The local driver first overtook Jakobsen and then made a perfect manoeuvre against van Leeuwen, to relegate him to third. This meant Jakobsen was fourth with Petr Bezel (KSCA Sodi Europe) completing the top five.
Event results – DD2
1. Mark Kimber (50 points)
2. Mathias Bjerre Jakobsen (33 points)
3. Martijn van Leeuwen (32 points)
4. Paolo Besancenez (31 points)
5. Philipp Moitzi (23 points)
DD2 Masters: Double victory for Martynas Tankevicius
Carl Cleirbaut (SP Motorsport) was on top of the list of rankings after qualifying in the DD2 Masters for pole position. During the heats, the Belgian was unable to stop Martynas Tankevicius (Lenktyniu Linja) taking the lead. With two victories, the Lithuanian secured the best chance for Sunday and achieved first starting position.
German Denis Thum (Kraft Motorsport) caused a surprise after the start of the first race. In turn 1, he drove past the BirelART driver and maintained the lead as he fought for victory. But Tankevicius found his rhythm again, moved in close and overtook Thum. Among the pursuers, Michael Becker was able to match the speed of the leading drivers and came third in front of Thierry de Jong and Rudy Champion.
During the second race, Tankevicius and Thum fought a thrilling duel at the front. Both drove one best lap time after the other. In the end, the poleman showed his skills again and sealed a perfect double victory. De Jong was third followed by Becker and Champion.
Event results – DD2 Masters
1. Martynas Tankevicius (50 points)
2. Denis Thum (40 points)
3. Thierry de Jong (29 points)
4. Michael Becker (29 points)
5. Rudy Champion (22 points)
The participants of the Rotax MAX Challenge Euro Trophy can now relax until the beginning of July. From July 8th – 10th, round 3 is going to take place in Mariembourg, Belgium to start the second half of the season. Registration is now open online at www.rotaxmaxchallenge-eurotrophy.com