Gunskirchen – For four years the Rotax MAX Challenge elite had to wait for the return of the Winter Cup event: From 21st to 23rd of February 2020, the prestigious format celebrated a remarkable comeback. Organised by Camp Company, the host of the successful Rotax MAX Challenge Euro Trophy, the Winter Cup welcomed exactly 200 drivers, representing over 25 nations – an overwhelming feedback, proving the demand and need of an RMC Winter Cup event.
Best prepared, the modern karting complex of Campillos near Malaga was a perfect venue for the season kick-off – a challenging 1,588 metres long track with professional facilities for all involved. And even the weather was perfect. A sunny but windy weekend with temperatures of about 18° C guaranteed best race conditions for the drivers who were heading for victory in the categories of Micro MAX, Junior MAX, Senior MAX, MAX DD2 and MAX DD2 Masters. As for the competition the event proved to be a real trial of strength between Europe’s most successful RMC drivers. Ambition was high, since the drivers did not take the Winter Cup just in order to prepare for the racing season, but fought for some special prizes, too: the best of each category was rewarded with a free season in the upcoming Rotax MAX Challenge Euro Trophy – all told prizes worth almost 35.000 Euro was at stake.
Micro MAX: Marsh and Radenkovic set the pace
The Micro MAX drivers made an impressive picture. For the first time, the category was part of an RMC Euro Trophy event and welcomed 28 youngsters. They showcased pure racing action not less thrilling than their bigger and older colleagues. Two names set the pace throughout the entire weekend: the Brit Scott Marsh (Dan Holland Racing) and Mateja Radenkovic (Bouvin Power) from Belgium. They switched the lead regularly. In qualifying Marsh had the advantage, after the heats, Radenkovic struck back. This picture continued in the finals on Sunday, where both shared the race wins. Eventually, it was Marsh winning the decisive second race which gained him the overall victory ahead of Radenkovic. The prize for the best supporting role went to Dutchman Dean Hoogendoorm (KR) who completed the podium in the end.
Junior MAX: Oli Pylka nearly unbeatable
Oli Pylka (Dan Holland Racing) was the outstanding youngster in the full field of the juniors. He set the pace in the qualifying, the heats and – despite some big pressure – in the first final. Just the second final did not go according to plan for the Polish driver. He dropped back several positions and had to struggle hard in order to get back to the top. Finally, he did not manage the task completely, seeing the chequered flag in second place behind Daniel Guinchard (KR Sport) from the UK. But in the combined results of both finals, Pylka gained the most points, thereby crowning him RMC Euro Trophy Winter Cup winner 2020. Guinchard followed in second place on the podium ahead of the best rookie Aaron Walker (Strawberry Racing) in third place.
Senior MAX: Butcher misses victory, Valtanen wins
With 69 drivers the senior category was the biggest field at the RMC Euro Trophy Winter Cup and promised a thrilling show. Yet one man stood out of the pack from the very beginning: Juho Valtanen (SP Motorsport). The Finn did not only set the best time in qualifying but kept the overall lead after the heats. However, in Sunday’s first final the tide turned for the Scandinavian. He dropped back to fourth place while rookie Sean Butcher (KR Sport) celebrated the race win. Unfortunately, the Brit could not tie in with that performance in the second final. Although he was fast again and even saw the chequered flag first, he was given a time penalty after making a jump start following a full course yellow phase. Consequently, Juho Valtanen was back, inherited the race win and by that, he claimed the overall victory. Butcher still ended up second on the podium, pushing his compatriot Lewis Gilbert (Potenza Racing Engines) to third place.
MAX DD2: Xander Przybylak rules
Xander Przybylak (Bouvin Power) was the man of the weekend in the Rotax MAX DD2 category. After setting the benchmark in qualifying, he was in best shape throughout the heats as well, putting himself on pole position for the initial final Sunday. Here his opponents tried their best to stop him making it a walkover, but eventually without success. Przybylak won both finals, collected maximum points and asserted himself at the top of the day’s classification. Behind the new RMC Winter Cup champion, Frenchman Nicolas Picot (Daems Racing) and MAX DD2 newcomer Silas Rytter (RS Competition) took second and third place on the podium.
MAX DD2 Masters: Muranski dominates, but Champion wins
The MAX DD2 Masters were under the control of Slawomir Muranksi (46Team) from the very beginning. The Pole was quickest in qualifying and defended the lead after the heats. So it was no surprise that Muranski was unbeatable in the first final too. But then, in the decisive second final, he suffered a setback. After 15 laps he crossed the finish line in second position behind Frenchman Rudy Champion (PKS Competition), narrowly losing the overall victory. Muranski’s French opponent had very good reason to cheer and celebrate the win. Behind the two front runners, Germany’s Andreas Schindler (RS Competition) stepped onto the third place of the podium.
Meik Wagner, organizer of the RMC Euro Trophy Winter Cup drew a positive conclusion: “The return of the popular RMC Winter event really made an impact. Never before has a European Winter Cup for Rotax drivers been as well-attended. We have lifted Rotax racing again by including the Micro MAX category for the first time within our framework. That enriched the entire programme and made the event an even bigger success. It was a thrilling taste to the upcoming 2020 season of the Rotax MAX Challenge Euro Trophy, which we are looking forward to, and promises to be no less exciting."
The RMC Euro Trophy kicks off at Genk (BEL) from 10th to 14th of April 2020, following stops at Adria (ITA), PFI (GBR) and Wackersdorf (GER). Although there is still some time to go until the series opener, the Rotax fields are already filling and after first predictions, one can expect to be fully booked again. Besides the categories of Micro MAX, Junior MAX, Senior MAX, MAX DD2 and MAX DD2 Masters, the race organiser will introduce the Mini MAX class into the championship.