The third edition of the Rotax MAX Challenge International Trophy was able to return to its original site, the international circuit of Le Mans in France, and its favourite period, the middle of summer. However, the Covid-19 pandemic is still present and the recent reinforcement of health controls between countries around the world has restricted the number of participants at the last moment.
Thanks to 3MK Events' recognised expertise in health protection, the RMCIT can count on the presence of 216 drivers from 28 nations and four continents at Le Mans from 27th to 31st July 2021. After two days and ten sessions per driver dedicated to Free Practice, the competition started on Thursday 29 July with the much awaited Qualifying Practice. The Qualifying Heats followed at the beginning of the afternoon under the eye of the live-streaming cameras.
The weather in Le Mans was not too cloudy and temperatures were gradually rising towards 20°C during the morning, while the track was of course dry. The conditions were ideal for Timed Qualifying on the 1,384m circuit with the Mojo tyres, which were particularly popular with the competitors.
Micro: Paul Schön dominates the times
Paul Schön (CHE - KR - MH Racing) dominated the Micro Qualifying and finished the session with a time of 59.696, five tenths clear of the rest. Ainis Vibriantis (LTU - KR) took 2nd place, while the top five was in place at the end of the session with Jenson Chalk (GBR - Sodi) 3rd, Tom Papenburg (NLD - KR) 4th and Zain Kwekha (GBR - Sodi) 5th.
Mini: Mateja Radenkovic the poleman
Mateja Radenkovic (BEL - Tony Kart) was in the leading group of 29 Mini drivers from the start of the timed session. He took pole on the fourth lap in 57''372. Christopher El Feghali (LBN - KR) managed to close to within 3 hundredths to take the lead over Tom Langlois (FRA - Sodi), while Mick Blankespoor (NLD - Compkart) finished 4th ahead of Oliwier Chlopek (POL - Parolin).
Junior: Kai Rillaerts the fastest
Kai Rillaerts (BEL - Exprit - JJ Racing) improved the top time throughout the Qualifying session for the 34 Junior drivers to secure pole position with an excellent time of 53''193. His team-mate Farin Megger (DEU - Exprit - JJ Racing) followed him by 2 tenths while Téo Blin (FRA - Tony Kart) came back to 3rd position far ahead of Aron Krepcsik (HUN - Exprit) and Joep Breedveld (NLD - Exprit - JJ Racing).
Senior: Kai Hunter on pole position
The Senior Qualifying session was extremely close. 78 of the 82 drivers finished in the same second, with the seven fastest drivers separated by less than a tenth of a second. The Race Director called the drivers of the second group to order to ensure that everyone had the same chances of success. It was in this second timed session that Kai Hunter (GBR - Kosmic - Dan Holland Racing) achieved pole position in 52''855. Kovacs Zsombor (HUN - Exprit - KMS Europe) was very close in 52'865 in the first session. The poleman's older brother, Rhys Hunter (GBR - Kosmic - Dan Holland Racing), was the fastest in the third session. The top five was completed by two Frenchmen, Jolan Raccamier (FRA - Kosmic) and Nolan Lemeray (FRA - EOS). Eva Mondou (FRA - EOS) finished in 8th place.
DD2: Barbaroux makes the difference
The 32 DD2 drivers quickly got into action during their Qualifying session and Antoine Barbaroux (FRA - Birel ART) achieved pole position - 52''132 - on his third lap. Daniel Machacek (AUT - KR - VPDR) finished 69 thousandths behind. Kacper Bielecki (POL - Tony Kart) and Dawid Maslakiewicz (POL - Tony Kart - 46 Team) followed by a tenth and Alexis Coursault (FRA - Birel ART) secured 5th position.
DD2 Masters: Denis Thum just ahead of Cussac-Picot
Denis Thum (CYP - Tony Kart) and Vivien Cussac-Picot (FRA - Tony Kart) fought it out in front of Tamsin Germain (GBR - Exprit - DG Racing). The top five was narrowed down to less than 7 hundredths. Thum took pole position with 52''887 against Cussac-Picot 3 thousandths further back. Germain followed in 3rd place 24 thousandths ahead of Carl Cleirbaut (BEL - Exprit - KMD) and Paul Louveau (FRA - Redspeed).
Provisional program of the 2021 RMCIT
Friday 30th July
08:30 - 09:30: Warm-up (5')
09:50 - 16:55: Qualifying Heats
17:30 - 18:15: Presentation of the drivers
18:25 - 18:30: Bell Racing helmet draw
18:30 - 18:35: Rotax BRP Can-Am Ryker draw
Saturday 31st July
08:30 - 09:40: Warm-up (5')
09:40 - 12:30: Prefinals + B and C Finals
14:00 - 17:05: A Finals