Sarno, Italy – Welcome back on this very hot and anticipated day of the 20th Rotax MAX Challenge Grand Finals (RMCGF) here at the Circuito Internazionale di Napoli in Sarno. After the all-important track walks at sunset yesterday evening, today was an exciting and electrifying atmosphere in the drivers tent before they were able to make their first rounds in their karts.
Perfect mood at the track here in Sarno today - maybe because of the get-together at the Welcome Party last night, where we saw the qualifying of the MOJO Tyre Changing contest and the traditional Team contest where the drivers and their team present themselves for winning this special award. The pictures are online now and the voting is open on our Facebook page till Saturday, 11:00 a.m. “GO FOR IT” and vote for your favourite team here.
Today we also had the chance for a short talk with Justin Stefani, Managing Partner of J3 Competition who are supporting the 125 Mini MAX class with their CompKart Chassis: “We were a little bit nervous but also excited in the morning before the first heats started, but everything went well and the drivers, as well as our team, are quite satisfied with this first day. It is a big honour for us being chosen as Chassis Partner for the 125 Mini MAX and having the opportunity to be part of this special event.”
For us at Rotax, it is also a great pleasure to be supported by our official Chassis partners – some of them for many years. On this occasion a big thanks to BirelART, IPKarting (Praga), Sodikart and of course, the newbie CompKart for supporting us.
But now let’s talk about the happenings on the track today:
The sun rose over the Circuito Internazionale Napoli at 16 degrees Celsius with very little wind the first session of the event got underway. At precisely 8:48 the Micro MAX engines were started and hit what was a very green track. The first driver on the track of the 2019 event was Number 27 Juliusz Ocipepa. With 15 minutes for the first sessions of the day, the drivers were learning more and more each lap as the track was slowly gripping up. The session ended with Christian Costoya Sanabri fastest with a time of 1:12.755.
Session two for the Micro MAX karts started a few hours later. By this time the temperature had risen to 26 degrees and the drivers had a tailwind down the start/finish straight. The majority of the drivers managed to complete 7 laps in the 8-minute session with the fastest time again going to kart number 2 Christian Costoya Sanabri at 1:10.337, just 0.094 ahead of Tommie Van Der Struijs The final Micro MAX session was headed up by number 5 Jay Urwin who completed a lap in 1:10.147. He was followed by Christian Costoya Sanabri on 1:10.155 and Juliusz Ociepa with a 1:10.315.
Micro MAX will be back on track for Non-qualifying Practice 4 at 8:48 (CET) tomorrow.
Mini MAX started with Costa Toparis heading out on to the track first in kart 108. By the end of the 15- minute session, Toparis was 2nd at 1:07.579 with a gap of 0.229 to the New Zealand driver Sebastian Manson (1:07.350).
All eyes were on Manson after his early pace going into Non-Qualifying practice 2. Manson set his best lap early in the session (1:06.419) followed by Toparis (1:06.436) just as before. However, Jayden Thien, Andy Ratel & Troy Snyman were all able to put in better times. Thien finished the session fastest with a time of 1:06.262, 0.103 clear of Ratel in 2nd.
In Practice 3 it was Andy Ratel who posted the fastest time of the day for overall with a time of 1:05.837. In 2nd place was Kacper Turoboyski who set a time of 1:06.012, and in 3rd was Jolan Raccamier whose fastest lap was a 1:06.015 just 0.003 behind Turoboyski.
Mini MAX will be back tomorrow for Non-qualifying Practice 4 at 9:01 (CET).
With 72 drivers signed-on for the Junior MAX class, the sessions were split into odd numbers and even numbers. With the track’s grip improving lap after lap the majority of the drivers set their best laps late in the session. In the odd-numbered group, it was Sacha Maguet who set the pace at 1:02.494 followed by Mike Van Vugt who managed a 1:02.55 on lap 13.
The even-numbered drivers were next out and benefited from the previous session laying down some rubber, Tomass Stolcermanis managed to set a time of 1:02.402 followed closely by Marcel Surmacz just 0.032 seconds adrift (1:02.434) In practice 2 it was Maguet from France again, who set the fastest time for the odd-numbered karts (1:01.290) and Clay Osborne from New Zealand, who finished 1st in the even-numbered group with a 1:01.056
The final Junior MAX session was topped by the even-numbered Jason Leung with a 1:00.936 followed by fellow even number Tomass Stolcermanis at 1:00.988. Noam Abramczyk, the first of the odd-numbered karts in 3rd overall with a time of 1:01.072. Joint 4th overall went to the odd-numbered Mike Van Vugt & Clay Osborne who both set a time of 1:01.118.
Junior MAX will be back on track tomorrow morning starting with the odd-numbered karts at 9:14 (CET).
Senior MAX had 72 drivers signed on and also had their sessions split into odd and even numbers. Elia Galvanin set the pace in number 371 with a time of 1:00.613 followed by Paul Fourquemin (1:00.737) & Matteo Richter 3rd with a time of 1:00.859. The even-numbered karts followed with Axel Saarniala fastest in a time of 1:00.534 followed by Mario Novak who set a 1:00.711 and Kairo Kivi who set a time of 1:00.745 for 3rd.
In non-qualifying practice two for the Senior MAX karts it was Aleksander Bardas who set the pace with a best time of 1:00.408 followed by Paul Fourquemin from the odd-numbered group setting a time to put him 2nd overall (1:00.553). He was followed by Elia Galvanin who finished 3rd overall (1:00.573).
With the track as good as it is going to get at 24 degrees and a tailwind on the start/finish straight the Senior MAX drivers headed out for their final practise sessions of the day. In the odd-numbered session, it was Elia Galvanin who took top spot with a fastest time of 1:00.128 followed by Clayton Ravenscroft 1:00.258 and Paul Fourquemin who managed a 1:00.291. The even group was topped by Shogo Endo with a time of 1:00.302 followed by Aleksander Bardas who managed a 1:00.351 and Tereza Babickova who finished 3rd with a 1:00.395.
Senior MAX will start again tomorrow at 9:40 (CET) with the odd-numbered karts going out before the evens.
Henrijs Grube set the pace for the DD2 Masters in Non-Qualifying Practice 1 with a time of 59.874 with Antti Ollikanien in 2nd with a 1:00.143 making them the only odd-numbered karts to be faster than the even numbers karts of the morning. The even-numbered group was topped by Arto Savenius with a 1:00.437 and Luis Ignacio Valenzuela just 0.015 seconds behind with a 1:00.452
In the second Non-qualifying practice it was Antti Ollikainen who set the pace with a 59.858 followed closely by Henrijs Grube who was just 0.058 seconds off with a 59.916. Primoz Matelic rounded out the top three in the odd-numbered class and overall with a 1:00.134. The even numbers were headed by Nicholas Verheul with a 1:00.295 exactly one-tenth of a second faster than Arto Savenius with a 1:00.395.
The final session for DD2 Masters was again led by Grube & Ollikainen. With Grube finishing the day at 59.828 and Ollikainen a 1:00.055, the even-numbered karts were again slower than the odd numbers and it was Nicholas Verheul in kart 540 whose best time was a 1:00.187 with Arto Savenius finishing in 2nd with a 1:00.344
DD2 Masters will be back tomorrow from 10:06 (CET) starting with the odd-numbered karts
The DD2 class was also split into odd and even-numbered group. Denis Thum set the pace for the odd-numbers with a time of 59.597 seconds followed very closely by Petr Bezel who set a time of 59.611 seconds just 0.014 seconds off of Thum. The even-numbered karts were led by kart 472 Cristian Trolese, whose fastest time was 59.666 followed by Ragnar Veerus whose fastest lap was a 59.834.
In the odd-numbered non-qualifying practice 2 it was Petr Bazel who stole top spot from Xander Przybylak with a fastest time of 59.494 against Przybylak’s 59.572. The even-numbered karts were led by Luca Munaretto (59.342) against Ryan Kennedy (59.594).
The DD2 karts were the final sessions here at Circuito Internazionale Napoli finishing off the first day of racing at the 2019 Rotax MAX Challenge Grand Finals. It was Nicolas Picot who took top spot from Luca Munaretto, with not just the fastest time of the session, but the fastest time of the event so far with a lap of 59.252 against Munaretto’s 59.259. Again, for the DD2 class, the even numbers were slightly slower (59.335) led by Petr Bezel.
DD2 will start again tomorrow at 10:32 (CET) starting with the odd-numbered group.
The Rotax THUNDeR E-Karts will start their practice sessions tomorrow at 14:00 (CET)
Overall fastest lap times
Micromax: 1:10.147 | Jay Urwin | No. 5 | NZL
Minimax: 1:05.837 | Andy Ratel | No. 128 | FRA
Junior Max: 1:00.936 | Jason Leung | No. 224 | CAN
Senior Max: 1:00.128 | Elia Galvanin | No. 371 | ITA
DD2: 59.252 | Nicolas Picot | No. 458 | FRA
DD2M: 59.828 | Grube Henrijs | No. 559 | LVA
Stay tuned for our upcoming daily reports, which bring the intense action of the RMCGF to you!