RMC Grand Finals: Intense heatracing at the Bahrain International Karting Circuit      Daily Report #5

Published on Friday, December 8, 2023

RMC Grand Finals: Intense heatracing at the Bahrain International Karting Circuit Daily Report #5

Intense heat and high sunshine overhead would greet the paddock this morning, in what would be a very intense and demanding schedule for everyone, as today saw the conclusion to the Qualifying Heat stages of the 2023 RMC Grand Finals.

The on-track action would commence in the sun-laden morning, with the final set of today’s races ending proceedings under the night time skies and the intense and bright floodlights surrounding the 1.414-km circuit at this fantastic BIKC facility.

No matter how the journey had been for many of the 384 drivers until this point, today was crucial for everyone trying to get those extra tenths or hundreds that would make all the difference ahead of the Pre-Finals tomorrow.

The colourful and hearty atmosphere that is part of this yearly event was front and centre, with all very much into the spirit of what the RMC Grand Finals means to all that attend, be it drivers, mechanics, families, or friends that have come to be a part of it. But how did the on-track action play out? Let’s take a look.

 

E20 Senior:

Spencer Brougham (#602 – GBR) would make it two wins in a row in Qualifying Heat 2, being victorious in the eight lap race by just 0.182 seconds ahead of Germany’s Mats Johan Overhoff (#601), who would close in on the Briton as the race progressed, but run out of time to go for the victory.

Overhoff would end up initially battling from the start with the likes of Denmark’s Knud Nielsen (#606), the #605 of Phillip Loacker (CHE) and Marius Lyager Rose (#607 – DEN), but would then put some distance from them to end up second. Nielsen would take third, 0.901 seconds behind the German, whilst Loacker and Rose would complete the top five. Switzerland’s Christopher Holst would cross the line in fifth, but would end up being demoted down to 11th after a post-race front bumper penalty, whilst Bahrain’s Lewis Smith (#611) would bring out the yellow flags on the start/finish straight with two laps to go, as he would end up pulling off the circuit to the left hand side with technical troubles.

Brougham will line up on Pole Position for tomorrow’s Pre-Final, with Overhoff and Loacker rounding out the top three in the Points after Qualifying Heats ranking.

Warm-Up for E20 Seniors starts tomorrow at 13:41 Arabian Standard Time.

 

E20 Masters:

Brazil’s Joao Goncalves (#705) would comfortably take the win in Qualifying Heat 2 by 3.371 seconds, putting distance between himself and the remainder of the field over the course of the race.

Cyprus Igor Mukhin would end up second, as the #709 would have to battle all race long with Andreas Matis from Germany (#707), with the latter completing the top three, 0.144 seconds behind Mukhin at the finish, putting both of them in a strong position for tomorrow’s Pre-Final. Switzerland’s Gilberto Loacker (#703) would finish fourth, a comfortable 2.805 seconds in front of Portugal’s Manuel Martins (#704).

The trio of Hector Ramirez (#702 – CHI), Portugal’s Joao Dias (#708), and Yi-Hsien Chiu (#706 – TWN) would all make it to the end of the of the eight-lap race, with Chile’s Jose Luis Hurtado (#701) not able to start the race. Goncalves will start on Pole Position for tomorrow’s Pre-Final, with Mukhin and Matis completing the top three in the Points after Qualifying Heats ranking.

Warm-Up for E20 Masters starts tomorrow at 13:41 Arabian Standard Time.

 

Micro MAX:

The UK’s Edward Haynes (#4) would pick up the win in last Micro MAX Qualifying Heat of the 2023 RMC Grand Finals, winning by a mere 0.081 seconds and leading a British top four at the finish, who were covered by 0.521 seconds. He was followed by Emerson Macandrew Uren (#33), Oliver Spencer (#9), and Jenson Chalk (#30) at the end of 6 laps.

The next best placed nationality represented at the finish was Ecuador, courtesy of Julian Rivera (#14) in fifth place, in a race saw that 35 drivers covered by just over 11 seconds, with the only retiree being Switzerland’s Alexander Christov (#5) on the very first lap. Daniil Nikulshin (#26 – KGZ) would make up significant progress from 21st on the grid to sixth, ahead of the USA’s Lucas Palacio (#12).

The Netherlands Cees Muijs (#10) would hold position in eighth despite the fierce competition around him, finishing ahead of the Lithuanian pair of Patrikas Jocius (#13), who started in fifth, and Jokubas Vaskelis (#18).

After both Qualifying Heats, the UK’s Spencer would be leading the Points after Qualifying Heats standings with 85 points, putting him on Pole Position for tomorrow’s Pre-Final ahead of Palacio, with Macandrew Uren, Chalk, and Rivera rounding out the top five overall, who were covered by 15 points.

Warm-Up starts tomorrow at 13:52 Arabian Standard Time.

 

Mini MAX:

Albert Friend (#130 – GBR) would emerge as the winner in Qualifying Heat 2 A+C by 1.797 seconds, ahead of countryman Jacob Ashcroft (#122) after six laps. It was very competitive for the remainder of the top nine, with first to ninth being covered by only 2.461 laps at the finish.

The UAE’s Maxim Bobreshov (#170) would have to settle for third place, being beaten to the line by Ashcroft by only 0.032 seconds, with Belgium’s Lars Lambers (#168) being only a further 0.095 seconds behind Bobreshov, thereby securing fourth.

Daniil Voinov (#158 – KGZ) would move up from tenth to take fifth at the finish, 0.151 seconds in front of Peru’s Amaru Adrianzen (#158), who also made up five places. Hungary’s Marko Fally (#140) would drop four places to end up seventh, with the USA’s Matteo Quinto (#120), Canada’s Alexis Baillargeon (#150) and Zdenek Babicek (#154 – CZE) rounding out the top ten, having started within the bottom part of the top 15.

Qualifying Heat 2 B+D saw Canada’s Ilie Tristan Crisan (#149) provisionally take the win, but was excluded post-race with a technical non-compliance reference spark plugs, which promoted Cole Denholm (#135 – GBR), who was 3.996 seconds ahead of Malaysia’s Travis Teoh (#169) in seconds. Portugal’s Joao Pereira (#171) managed to win the fight for third, where over ten drivers were in clear contention.

The pairing of Joshua Griffin (#131) and Charlie Woolfitt (#119) would round out the top five, showing the strength of Team UK at the top part of the field. Lithuania’s Majus Mazinas (#151) secured sixth at the finish, 0.043 seconds behind Woolfitt and only 0.004 seconds in front of Estonia’s Nikita Ljubimov (#133) in sixth, with Belgium’s Alexander Van Meeuwen (#137), Hungary’s Deniel Lukjanov (#143) and Chile’s Vicente Garcia Briceno (#121) completing the top ten.

Denholm would take another win in a disrupted Qualifying Heat 3 A+D by 0.854 seconds, after a red flag stoppage occurred on lap 2, with the #111 of Finland’s Niklas Pasi and the #106 of Bahrain’s Nasser Nass not able to take any further part in the session. After the restart, Denholm would not let go of the lead, whilst Friend would then take second away from Woolfitt on the last lap through the left-hander at turn 12, and finish 0.246 seconds in front.

Bobreshov would also close in on the British duo but would end up fourth, 0.087 seconds behind Woolfitt, whilst Canada’s Alexis Baillargeon (#150) would move up from 13th to round out the top five. Portugal’s Pereira was sixth at the chequered flag, ahead of Ruben Oseguera Gutier (#115 – MEX), who made up seven places. Poland’s Aleksandr Rogowski (#167) would storm through the field to take eighth place, making up 24 places in the process, ahead of both Griffin and Fally, who completed the top ten.

Another red flag stoppage would occur in the final Qualifying Heat (B+C) on the opening lap, with four drivers not taking the restart as Leopold Juch (#105 – CHE), Ahmed Alkahlifa (#153 – BHR) and Stylianos Georgiou (#162 – CYP) were out on the opening lap, whilst Oliver Warner (#139 – GBR) would have technical problems, forcing him to dive into the pits on the restart.

But it would be Crisan from Canada that would comfortable enough to be able to pull away from the rest of the field to win the restarted race by 2.8 seconds in front of Lambers from Belgium, with many drivers in contention for second place over the majority of the six lap race. Ashcroft would end up third, 0.078 seconds in front of Germany’s Maxim Becker (#155), whilst Van Meeuwen rounded out the top five.

Rory Armstrong (#138 – GBR) held position and secured sixth at the finish, ahead Ljubimov, which saw the remainder of the top ten from seventh to tenth covered by just under half a second, with Mazinas, Voinov and Lukjanov filling up the remainder of the places. Voinov would later be demoted to 19th with a front bumper penalty, promoting Travis Teoh to tenth.

Denholm leads the way in the Qualifying Heats Classification with 150 points heading into the Pre-Finals tomorrow, 20 points ahead of Friend (130 points), with Bobreshov (129 points), Lambers (123 points), and Ashcroft completing the top five.

Warm-Up starts tomorrow at 12:13 Arabian Standard Time with Group A.

 

Junior MAX:

Another new winner would emerge on Qualifying Heat 2 A+C, as Joshua Graham (#226 – GBR) took the victory after 8 laps, making up six places in the process to secure a winning margin of 0.842 seconds over Lu You-De (#204 – JPN). Switzerland’s Tino Sidler (#214) would round out the top three, a further 1.3 seconds adrift.

Bahrain’s Luca Houghton (#206) would again show his pace at this 1.414-km circuit to take fourth place, having started 14th, whilst pole sitter Louis Comyn (#264 – FRA) had to settle with fifth position. Mika Van De Pavert (#240 – NLD) would also secure sixth, moving up five places during proceedings, ahead of Germany’s Hannes Überfeldt (#202), Argentina’s Thiago Falivene (#260), and New Zealand’s Miles Baker (#244). Several drivers who would suffer dramas included Thomas Bearman (#238 – GBR), who was out on lap two, and France’s Tom Dussol (#250) finishing 28th, having started sixth.

It was a British 1-2 in Qualifying Heat 2 B+D, as Kenzo Craigie (#229) and Timo Jungling (#221) were separated by 1.349 seconds, whilst Latvia’s Toms Strele (#253) stormed his way up from 17 th to round out the top three, ending up 2.723 seconds behind Jungling in second. It would also see France’s Clovis Nougueyrede (#249) not take part in the final two Heats, with the field reduced to 35 drivers.

Lebanon’s Christopher El Feghali (#201) would try his best to take another Heat win, but had to settle for fourth, but had to defend sternly to keep Belgium’s Beau Lowette (#237) at bay, doing so by 0.088 seconds at the end of the eight lap race, with the duo completing the top five. Italy’s Loreno Giovann Giaquinto (#217) would move up nine places to secure sixth position, ahead of Archie Clark (#223 – GBR) and France’s Thomas Pradier (#235). India’s Ishaan Madesh (#267) would have a fantastic race, moving up the order from 21st at the start to finish ninth, in front of Jordan’s Hamza Al Fayez (#269).

Graham would take his second win of the event in Qualifying Heat 3 A+D from seventh on the grid, after an exciting battle between him, Sidler and Craigie with just three laps to go saw the #226 winning by 0.281 seconds ahead of the Swiss driver, whilst the #229 of Craigie ended rounding up the top three. France’s Luka Scelles would secure fourth, having started ninth, and would end up a mere 0.053 seconds in front of Comyn in fifth.

Van De Pavert again made his way up the order to finish sixth in front of Clark, whilst Bearman would make up for his earlier dramas to take eighth at the race’s conclusion. Canada’s Olivier Mrak (#251) made up five places to end up ninth, 0.194 seconds in front of Falivene, who rounded out the top ten.

Scelles and Mrak would later be demoted down to 12th and 15th respectively, due to front bumper penalties, promoting Australia’s Max Walton (#242) and Ecuador’s Francisco Parades (#231) to ninth and tenth in the amended result.

El Feghali would initially pick up another win in the final Qualifying Heat (B+C) for Junior MAX by just 0.106 seconds after eight laps, but would not have an easy task with several drivers contesting for the victory. Jungling would finish second, ahead of Lu from Japan in a race that saw five lead changes over its duration. However, the Lebanese driver would be excluded post-race, due to his rear bumper found to be adrift during technical checks, promoting Jungling to race winner and Lu second.

Belgium’s Beau Lowette (#237) would complete the top three, just ahead of Pradier from France, with Houghton again muscling his way up from 14th to round out the top five.

Dussol would secure sixth place, ahead of Belgium’s Olivier Jonckers (#236), as Toms Strele (#253 – LAT) made his way up to eighth from 17th on the grid, whilst Canada’s Lucas Deslongchamps (#246) and Italy’s Alberto Kiko Fracassi (#208) rounded out the top ten.

With the top five in the Qualifying Heats Classification covered by just 11 points, Lu You-De tops the standings with 132 points, ahead of Craigie on countback, with Graham third (130 points), Houghton fourth (124 points) and Lowette (121 points) fifth, heading into tomorrow’s Pre-Finals.

Warm-Up starts tomorrow at 12:22 Arabian Standard Time with Group A.

 

Senior MAX:

Sean Butcher (#303 – GBR) would take another victory in Qualifying Heat 2 A+C, winning the 10-lap encounter by 0.561 seconds ahead of the #325 of Sweden’s Simon Ohlin, whilst Oliver Hogdson (#307) made it two British drivers into the top three, with the trio being covered by 0.687 seconds at the finish. Belgium’s Kaï Rillaerts (#357) would take another top five finish by securing fourth, ahead of Japan’s Kenta Kumagai (#323).  Greece’s George Kafantaris (#363) would finish in sixth place, having started down in 11th, ahead of Hungary’s Aron Krepscik (#351), whilst the UAE’s Theo Kekati (#367) would drop

to eighth. Italy’s Elia Pappacena would move up 11 places during proceedings to take ninth, with Switzerland’s Samuel Ifrid (#313) rounding out the top ten.

Lewis Gilbert (GBR) would also add his name to the winners’ list in Qualifying Heat 2 B+D, where the top four would be covered by just under 0.900 seconds. The #339 would finish ahead of Germany’s Austin Lee (#356), who at one point was leading the field. Lee would finish ahead of the UK pair of Kai Hunter (#334) and Mark Kimber (#328), with the latter making up nine places.

Canada’s Laurent Legault (#348) would round out the top five, having started ninth, and would be a mere 0.113 seconds in front of Austria’s Daniel Hauswirth (#352). Argentina’s Francesco Grimaldi (#304) moved up ten places to take seventh, in front of Miska Kaskinen (#306 – FIN). Brazil’s Eduardo Barrichello (#330) made up an impressive 19 places to take ninth, 0.094 seconds in front of Indonesia’s Prassetyo Hardja (#364), who completed the top ten.

Macauley Bishop (#326 – GBR) would win Qualifying Heat 3 A+D, after a close-fought battle between him and Ethan Jeff Hall came down to the final lap of the race, with the pair being split by just 0.066 seconds at the flag. Matthew Higgins (#318) and Butcher would complete a top-four clean sweep for Team UK, ahead of the Netherlands’s Dion Van Werven (#305), who was 0.558 seconds behind Butcher after ten laps.

Krepscik has been consistent so far in the class here in Bahrain, taking another top ten finish by securing sixth at the finish, ahead of Norway’s Theo Eriksen (#366). Canada’s Timothe Pernod (#347) would secure his best Heat finish so far, gaining nine places to finish eighth, but he would drop down to 19th after a front bumper penalty. The top ten would be rounded out by Kumagai, Matteo Richter (#365 – CZE) and Brazil’s Enzo Prado (#338).

In the final Qualifying Heat (B+C) of the RMC Grand Finals for Senior MAX, Kai Hunter would make it four different winners today, all of them from Team UK. The #334 would lead every single lap, despite initial pressure from Hodgson, who would have to battle with Hauswirth, with Hodgson taking second, 3.614 seconds behind the race winner.

Hauswirth rounded out the top three, ahead of Germany’s Lee, with Kimber rounding out the top five. France’s Rahali again showcased his race pace to move up from 18 th at the start to complete the top six, but he would be demoted to seventh behind Gilbert, whilst Kaskinen, Rillaerts and Legault would complete the top ten.

Butcher leads the Qualifying Heats Classification standings on 138 points, 6 ahead of Hunter, whilst Hodgson completes the top three on 126. Kimber, who won in Bahrain as a Senior is fourth on 118 points, in front of Hauswirth (109 points).

Warm-Up starts tomorrow at 13:19 Arabian Standard Time with Group A.

 

MAX DD2:

Italy’s Leonardo Baccaglini (#420) continued his run of form to pick up his second win in Qualifying Heat 2 A+C by 0.651 seconds in front of Finland’s Axel Saarniala (#432), as Denmark’s Rasmus Vendelbo (#460) rounded out the top three, a further 0.761 seconds adrift. Hungary’s Bende Szabo (#416) and the UAE’s Harry Hannam (#470) would complete the top five.

Latvia’s Martins Janovskis (#422) would make it to sixth at the finish form ninth on the grid, ahead of Daniel Muallem (#404 – ANC), who did finish fourth on the road, but was handed a three-second post-race penalty for two wheels out of the tramlines at the rolling start.

France’s Antoine Barbaroux (#434) remained in the top ten, finishing in eighth, ahead of Alexandr Plotnikov (#440 – KGZ) and France;’s Antoine Broggio (#430).

The Czech Republic’s Jakub Bezel (#453) would be first over the finish line for Qualifying Heat 2 B+D to take the win by 0.495 seconds ahead of Austria’s Philip Motizi (#401), with Estonia’s Ragnar Veerus (#441) rounding out the top three. Poland’s David Aulejtner (#437) made up ten places during proceedings to secure fourth place, ahead of Slovenia’s Xen De Ruwe (#409), who went from 24th to fifth.

South Africa’s Sebastian Boyd (#469) would secure sixth place at the finish, ahead of Denmark’s Victor Frost Bay (#413). The USA’s Race Liberante (#451) moved up from tenth at the start to take eighth position at the chequered flag, ahead of France’s Noa Hipp (#445) and Greece’s Christos Oikonomou (#463), who completed the top ten.

Bezel would then pick up another win in Qualifying Heat 3 A+D, breaking Baccaglini’s winning streak by 0.184 seconds, with the #420 ending up second, as both drivers have now each secured two wins. Bezel would take the lead from the Italian on the first lap and not look back, whilst Finland’s Axel Saarniala (#432) would round out the top three, finishing nearly 2.2 seconds adrift from second place.

Vendelbo and Liberante would round out the top five, with De Ruwe again showing that his race pace has been very strong, as he would end up sixth after ten laps, making up 18 places in the process. Spain’s Guilermo Pernia Diaz (#449) would finish in seventh, ahead of Hungary’s Bende Szabo, with just over a tenth of a second separating the pair. New Zealand’s Joshua Bethune (#444) would also be another big mover up the order to take ninth after starting all the way down in 25th, whilst Hannam would complete the top ten.

Qualifying Heat 3 B+C had its own winner in the form of Estonia’s Ragnar Veerus, with the #441 steadily expanding a lead that would end up being 2.663 seconds, with Sweden’s Rasmus Fridell (#417) second and Muallem completing the top three. Muallem would then receive a five-second penalty for a jump start, dropping him to tenth place. France’s Barbaroux would inherit third, ahead of Canada’s Gianluca Savaglio (#452) and Italy’s Michael Rosina (#414).

Boyd from South Africa would again take another sixth place finish, ahead of Latvia’s Tomass Birstins (#415) , who started in 15th. The UAE’s Kayne Cherian (#468) had a good finish to what was a difficult day by ending up ninth.

The Classification after the qualifying heats sees both Baccaglini and Bezel tied on 144 points each, with the Italian getting the benefit on countback to be at the top of the standings. Veerus completes the top three on 135 points, with the top five completed by Saarniala (121 points) and Moitzi (120 points), as the drivers will head into the Pre-Finals tomorrow.

Warm-Up starts tomorrow at 12:57 Arabian Standard Time with Group A.

 

DD2 MAX Masters:

New Zealand’s Mathew Kinsman (#521) took a lights-to-flag win in the last Qualifying Heat for DD2 Masters by 1.076 seconds, ahead of Germany’s Denis Thum (#508), who managed to get past France’s Nicolas Picot (#513) by the end of the very first to then go on to take second at the finish. Lithuania’s Martynas Tankevicius (#512) would start down in 14 th place, but with a great start and race pace with him, he would end up rounding out the top three.

Another strong showing for Canada’s Ben Cooper (#526) was one to witness, as he would again started in 20th place, but would make up an astonishing 16 places to finish fourth, 0.325 seconds in front of Brazil’s Rubens Barrichello (#516), who completed the top five.

Italy’s Frederico Rossi (#503) would drop two places, thereby ending up in sixth at the finish, ahead of Argentina’s Matias Rodriguez (#527), who started down in 15th, whilst the USA’s Derek Wang (#504) gained four places over the race duration to take eighth, ahead of Slovakia’s Martin Konopka (#502) and Belgium’s Carl Cleirbaut (#519), who completed the top ten. Latvia’s Henrijs Grube (#528) would be the biggest mover in the field, gaining 23 places to end up 11th.

Both Kinsman and Thum are tied on 94 points each, having each won a Qualifying Heat, but the former will start on Pole Position for tomorrow’s Pre-Final, with Barrichello, Rossi, and Tankevicius rounding out the top five ranked drivers in the Points after Qualifying Heats.

Warm-Up starts tomorrow at 14:03 Arabian Standard Time.

 

Overall Fastest Lap Times:

E20 Senior: 55.027 | Sebastian Bach | 603 | DEN

E20 Masters: 55.783 | Joao Goncalves | 705 | BRA

Micro MAX: 1:10.573 |Rafael Da Silva | 3 | ZAF

Mini MAX: 58.310 | Albert Friend | 130 | GBR

Junior MAX: 54.434 | Luca Houghton | 206 | BHR

Senior MAX: 53.500 | Kaï Rillaerts | 357 | BEL

MAX DD2: 52.698 | Axel Saarniala | 432 | FIN

DD2 MAX Masters: 53.204 | Vivien Cussac-Picot | 514 | FRA

 

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