We look back at yesterday, when the 2022 RMC Grand Finals were truly opened via the Welcome Briefing in the morning. 394 drivers received their brand new karts through the customary raffle on the main start-finish straight underneath the beautifully sunlit Portuguese skyline. Along with that, drivers would also head to the nearby Autodromo Internacional do Algarve for the mandatory briefings that afternoon, with the paddock tent being a busy hive of activity all day long as the brand-new karts would be prepared fully, with every nut and bolt tightened and fastened. Today saw all eight classes head out onto the 1.531-km circuit, which has plenty of technical sections, significant elevation changes and a very long start-finish straight. Changeable weather was the order of the day here in Portimao, with overnight rainfall, patches of sunshine and further intense periods of saturation of the circuit over the course of proceedings, which saw temperatures hit as high as 20 degrees Celsius. Let’s take a look at what happened during this week’s first set of practice sessions:
The first session out on track saw Sweden’s Joel Bergstr round out the top five drivers that were covered by 1.498 seconds. Soltys would then go on to top the times in session two with a 1:01.844, 0.010 ahead of Bergstrom, with the Netherlands Thijs Stevens (#601) third on a best effort with a 1:02.009. Daems was fourth, as Portugal’s Henrique de Oliveira (#608) rounded out a very lose top five, with the top 12 drivers covered by just over a second completed by Canada’s Aixin Chi (#609). The third and final session for the day saw Soltys again top the session as fastest, going quicker than the previous time out on track with a 1:01.619, 0.172 seconds in front of Stevens, with Bergstrom third. Poland’s Thomasz Ibsen (#603) was fast enough to take fourth, edging out Daems by just over a tenth. All 16 drivers in the final session were within 1.410 seconds overall.
E20 Junior will be back on track for Non-Qualifying Practice 4 at 09:33 UTC (10:33 CET) tomorrow.
Jesper Sjoeberg was the quickest in the first of three sessions in Portimão for E20 Senior, topping the time sheets with a 1:14.332, 0.366 seconds in front of Germany’s Luca Koester (#711). Spain’s Raul Vargas (#717) was the third fastest of the class, posting a best effort of a 1:15.637, with Chinese Taipei’s Chen Han Lin (#709) and Lebanon’s Matthias Njeim fourth and fifth respectively. Koester would then go quickest in the second session on a 1:01.030, followed by Chen Han Lin, who was 0.165 seconds slower. Canada’s Griffin Dowler (#714) was third, followed by Njiem and France’s Eric Le Moine (#708). The top 10 drivers were covered by a margin of 1.139 seconds.
Practice session three saw Koester again fastest on a 1:10.146, just over a tenth off his best effort in the previous session, but would be 0.164 seconds ahead of Le Moine this time around. Sjoeberg was third, ahead of Dowler and Njeim, with the top five covered by 0.234 seconds. It was also the closest session in terms of lap times, as the top 16 were covered by exactly 1.8 seconds.
E20 Senior will be back on track for Non-Qualifying Practice 4 at 09:33 UTC (10:33 CET) tomorrow.
Great Britain’s Albert Friend (#8) was the quickest driver out of the 35 that were able to set a lap time in the first session with a 1:23.821, 0.057 seconds ahead of Lithuania’s Majus Mazinas (#22). New Zealand’s Marco Manson was third in front of Poland’s Kacper Rajpold (#13) and the UAE’s Maxim Bobreshov (#32). It was also very close between the top 15 as they were covered by just under 1.5 seconds being rounded out by Marco Sammut (USA - #17) Maxim Bobreshov (UAE - #32) was at the top of the timesheets in second practice, putting in a 1:08.790, ahead of Germany’s Maxim Becker (#24) who was 0.230 seconds adrift. Japan’s Taigen Sakano (#2), Friend and Canada’s Brandon Londono (#20) were the remainder of the top five, whilst the top 23 drivers out of the 35 that went on track were just over 1.5 seconds apart from the top time.
Oiva Vettenranta from Finland was the next driver to show good pace in the final session, as the #5 posted the best time of a 1:10.251, 0.223 seconds ahead of Mazinas, followed by Rajpold in third place. Manson and Londono also hit the top five again, as the top ten, which was completed by Germany’s Maxim Becker in the #24, was covered by under a second.
Micro MAX will be back on track for Non-Qualifying Practice 4 at 09:43 UTC (10:43 CET) tomorrow.
The first session for the odd-numbered drivers saw Lebanon’s Christopher El Feghali (#137) as the fastest out on track with a 1:19.911, who was 0.193 seconds faster than Great Britain’s Sebastian Minns (#167), whilst Poland’s Franciszek Belusiak (#145) secured third place. Latvia’s Toms Strele (#133) and Portugal’s Joao Pereira (#165) also showed good pace, with the top five drivers covered by 0.586 seconds. Great Britain would have a 1-2 in the first session for evens, with the #136 of Harry Bartle and #122 of Jacob Ashcroft fastest out there with a 1:19.482 and 1:19.814 respectively, followed by Argentina’s Fausto Arnaudo (#156) in third, 0.690 seconds behind Bartle.
Greece would have Vasileios Malamis (#158) in fourth place, in front of France’s Thomas Pradier. Session two for the odds saw Poland’s Aleksander Rogowski (#141) go quickest on a 1:04.610, 0.135 seconds ahead of the Netherlands Mats Van Rooijen (#119) as El Feghali secured third place. Poland also had the #151 of Patryk Michalik in fourth, with Boaz Maximov taking fifth place for the Netherlands in the #103 entry. In evens for the second session of the day, the British pair of both Bartle and Ashcroft once again were the fastest out there, with the #138 quickest on a 1:04.597 by just 0.010 seconds. Pradier from France took third, ahead of the Netherlands’ Felipe Reijs (#130) and Malaysia’s Travis Teoh (#104).
Two seconds covered the top 29 drivers, which was completed by Canada’s Alexis Baillargeon (#140). France would have Luca Scelles out there as the fastest in the final session of the day for the odd numbered drivers with a 1:18.783, ahead of Great Britain’s Minns by only 0.031 seconds and Strele, who was third quickest. Finland’s Rasmus Koskinen was fourth on a 1:19.371, 0.133 seconds ahead of El Feghali. In evens, Bartle and Ashcroft were again the class of the group, with the former again best on the lap timer with a 1:19.363, 0.226 seconds in front of the #122. The Netherlands Max Sadurski (#150) secured his best effort so far in third with a 1:20.492, ahead of Arnaudo and Greece’s Malamis.
Mini MAX will be back on track for Non-Qualifying Practice 4 at 09:56 UTC (10:56 CET) tomorrow with the odd numbered group going out first.
The Junior MAX results for the practice sessions are provisional at this stage, pending further confirmation. France’s Louis Iglesias (#241) would be fastest in a closely-packed first practice session for the odds, posting the fastest time of a 1:15.215, 0.077 seconds faster than Great Britain’s Ethan Jeff-Hall, whilst Kasper Schormans would round out the top three which were split by just 0.395 seconds. Maxence Bouvier (#229) made it two French drivers in the top five, placing fourth ahead of South Africa’s Klayden Ensor-Smith (#209). The top 15 drivers were just over a second apart, with Chile’s Xavier Suarez (#231) 1.054 seconds off the top time. Evens saw Krygyzstan’s Egor Stepanov (#224) go fastest out on track with a 1:13.063, 0.470 seconds ahead of Israel’s Yam Pinto (#258), whilst Kuwait’s Muhammad Wally (#202) was third, a further 0.246 seconds adrift of pace setter Stepanov. Colombia’s Sebastian Garzon Orozco (#222) and Hungary’s Aron Krespcik (#262) rounded out the top five.
The second session for the odds saw Kasper Schormans from the Netherlands (#221) secure the fastest time with a 1:00.807, with Jeff-Hall only 0.145 seconds off in second. Bouvier would take third place on a 1:01.605, in front of Poland’s Kacper Turoboyski (#225) and France’s Mathis Carnejac (#269). All 35 drivers would be covered by 2.603 seconds at the end. Denmark’s Mikkel Pedersen (#236) was fastest in the second practice session for the evens, with a 1:00.869, 0.178 seconds ahead of Switzerland’s Tino Sidler (#218). Stepanov, who topped the first session, was third, followed by Slovakia’s Matej Konik (#206) and Japan’s Yuzuki Sato (#214). It was even closer between the top 30 drivers, who were covered by a blanket of just 0.936 seconds.
Carnejac was fastest in the final odds session of the day with a 1:15.593, with Jeff-Hall again being the most consistent driver of the class all day with another second place finish, 0.461 seconds slower. Latvia’s Gustavs Usakovs (#247) went third, 0.536 seconds adrift of Carnejac, followed by Vinnie Phillips (#239 – GBR) and Romania’s Eric Cristian Enache (#237). Stepanov again would be the fastest of the even numbered drivers in the last session of the day with a 1:115.135, 0.011 seconds in front of Dion Van Werven (#272) from the Netherlands, whilst Kuwait’s Muhammad Wally secured third a further 0.030 seconds behind. Sidler was fourth ahead of Great Britain’s Noah Wolfe, where the top 13 drivers were covered by just over a second.
Junior MAX will be back on track for Non-Qualifying Practice 4 at 10:22 UTC (11:22 CET) tomorrow with the odd numbered group going out first.
Ethan Ho from the USA (#329) was fastest in the first session for odds, posting a 1:06.214, with Germany’s Janne Stiak (#343) and Portugal’s Gabriel Cacolio (#367) completing the top three quickest drivers, who were split by 0.603 seconds. Poland’s Patryk Donica (#337) and Norway’s Theo Eriksen (#339) were the next two fastest in a session that saw all bar one venture onto the 1.531-km circuit.
Great Britain locked out the top three times in evens, with Sean Butcher (#304), Callum Bradshaw (#358) and Lewis Gilbert (#306) just over two tenths of a second apart. Butcher was fastest in the session with a 1:00.566, whilst France’s Nolan Lemeray (#332) and Denmark’s Mads Riis (#318) were fourth and fifth. The session also saw 22 drivers covered by just under 1.1 seconds, rounded out by the #342 of China’s Rui Heng Yeh. Japan’s Kenta Kumagai (#305) was fastest in the second session for the odd numbered drivers, posting a 1:00.078, 0.078 quicker than Belgium’s Kai Rillaerts (#313). Donica was also in the top three, with Great Britain’s Kai Hunter (#369) fourth and Spain’s Guillermo Pernia Diaz (#353) fifth. It was also very close in terms of lap times between the top 25, who were separated by 0.932 seconds.
Senior MAX will be back on track for Non-Qualifying Practice 3 at 08:28 UTC (09:28 CET) tomorrow with the odd numbered group going out first.
Slovenia’s Xen De Ruwe (#413) was fastest in the first session for the odds with a 59.368 second lap time, where the top 20 were separated by just a second, completed by Imke Arts (#421 – Netherlands). Latvia’s Emils Akmens (#427), France’s Nicolas Picot (#417) and the Colombian pair of Juan Jose Diaz Rodriguez (#445) and David Cardenas (#461) saw a top five that were 0.177 seconds apart as the track initially evolved. South Africa’s Sebastian Boyd was even faster in the first session for the evens group, as the #468 posted a 59.066 second lap time, with the top four only 0.071 seconds apart. The Czech Republic’s Jakub Bezel (#456) was second, in front of France’s Hugh Croquison (#422), Portugal’s Goncalo Coutinho (#462) and South Africa’s Joseph Oelz (#406) rounding out the top five.
Axel Saarniala (#433 – Finland) was also one of several drivers in the field to get closer to the 52-second barrier, as he posted the fastest time in the final session for the odds today with a 59.177, 0.052 seconds in front of Akmens, De Ruwe, Greece’s Christos Oikonomou and Picot. This session also saw positions in the session result to be even at thousands of a second between drivers. Petr Bezel from the Czech Republic was the fastest driver in the second session for the evens, as the #446 was 0.025 seconds in front of Great Britain’s Mark Kimber (#452) with a 59.278. Canada’s Jason Leung (#434) and France’s Antoine Barbaroux (#424) and Jakub Bezel completed the top five in a result that saw the entire field covered by just 1.148 seconds, showing the closeness of the group.
DD2 will be back on track for Non-Qualifying Practice 3 at 09:07 UTC (10:07 CET) tomorrow with the odd numbered group going out first.
Italy’s Claudio Pagliarani (#513) was quickest in the first practice session with a 59.361, with Germany’s Denis Thum (#503) a mere 0.009 seconds behind. 11 different nations of the 60 represented this week would be at the sharp end of the timesheets, but the top 33 were within 1.763 seconds of each other. Belgium’s Fabio Kieltyka (#531), Slovakia’s Martin Konopka (#505) and Kristaps Gasparovics from Latvia (#533) completed the top five. The second session saw South Africa’s Eugene Britz (#501) not far off the pace set in the first one with a 59.403, with Thum again second, this time 0.054 seconds off the pace. Pagliarani was third this time, in front of Kieltyka and Chile’s Horacio Torres (#520). The top 33 drivers, rounded out by Canada’s Alexandre Gauthier (#525), were covered by 1.903 seconds.
DD2 Masters will be back on track for Non-Qualifying Practice 3 at 08:54 UTC (09:54 CET) tomorrow.
Overall Fastest Lap Times:
E20 Junior: 1:01.619 | Michal Soltys | No. 615 | SVK
E20 Senior: 1:01.030 | Luca Koester | No. 711 | GER
Micro MAX: 1:08.790 | Maxim Bobreshov | No. 32 | UAE
Mini MAX: 1:04.597 | Harry Bartle | No. 138 | GBR
Junior MAX: 1:00.807 | Kasper Schormans | No. 221 | NED
Senior MAX: 1:00.078 | Kenta Kumagai | No. 305 | JPN
DD2: 59.066 | Sebastian Boyd | No. 468 | RSA
DD2 Masters: 59.361 | Claudio Pagliarani | No. 513 | ITA