|Portimao/Algarve - After yesterday’s two free practice sessions, we could verify that the gap between all drivers is very… very tight! The fact, that they use very similar material grants that all of them have the same chances, and this morning they tried new set-ups or the revised ones, to achieve the best possible lap times in the first qualifying session of the afternoon. Things are getting “warmer and lively” on track, but the weather is still very cold…|
Junior class started the sessions with a wet track, because of the rain that fell during the night; therefore many drivers were surprised by the slippery conditions. Zachary Claman-Demelo was the best in the last free practice but in the afternoon the Portuguese driver Bruno Borlido was the fastest in the first qualification. The young driver beat the second fastest by 0,159s, a good gap if we think that not less than 53 drivers are in the same second … “I am happy, because I like that Portugal is on top in these Rotax MAX Challenge Grand Finals. The set-up of the chassis was perfect, so we were faster than the others. Starting from “pole position” in the qualifying sessions is important, but this is a very fast track and the one coming behind can overtake us, using the draft. I have a good advantage, but we’ll see tomorrow”, stated the Portuguese driver.
Between MAX (Senior) class, Pierce Lehane was the first driver to make less than 1.01, as he reached to “fly” in 1.00,999, but only in the morning in free practice. He was also fastest in the afternoon qualifying, in a session dominated by odd numbers. “It was not an easy qualifying, because we made it all together and very close. I had to take care with some of my colleagues to avoid an accident in the first lap. My best lap time was worse than the one of this morning, but enough to grant the pole. It’s good to start first, but the races will be very close, with not less than 57 drivers in the same second“, he said.
In DD2 Masters class the lap times were very similar during all day, but after the best morning lap of Gonçalo Gaivão in the last free practice, it was the Argentinean that established the best time overall, beating Florent Lambert by 0,014s! “It’s very good to start in front of the grid, to avoid accidents, but for me it’s also a dream coming throughout after 32 years. In 1980 I raced against Ayrton Senna in the South American Championship, and I was second, but I couldn't get money to fight in the World Cup. Now, 32 years older, and 27 years after leaving karting, I am back again and very happy to take part in this fantastic event, the Rotax MAX Challenge Grand Finals“, said the Argentinean.
Drivers from DD2 class were the only ones who reached to run under one minute in the KIA track. Xen de Ruwe made 59,101s, and was naturally very pleased with his performance. “I was hoping to be in the top five, but it’s much better starting in the front. Now in the qualifying heats, it’s important to do well and keep always a place in the top 5. Starting in the pole allows me to avoid any start incidents, so I think...”, explained the young Belgium driver.
REPORT MAG – LET’S TALK ABOUT HELMETS
Fernando Gomes and Roberto Perri are the right guys to talk about the FR Helmets, a manufacturer that stays for now in the world of karting only, but want to conquest space in formulas, rallies or motorbikes. “First of all I had a Rotax kart engine and after that I met the Spanish distributor. Arnaldo Frias saw our helmets and we’ve established an agreement with him. It was our first international contract”, explained Fernando Gomes, the responsible person for international export business.
Roberto Perri is the marketing director and is looking towards future actions: “For the moment we are connected to the karting business, as well as recreation, but we want to reach formulas and rallies in 2013. We have already homologated a new model with the Hans system, mandatory in those markets. In 2014, we want to get the bikes, starting in motorsport and then for ‘public’ users. We bet that our product has a good quality to price ratio, and this RMCGF is important to connect with worldwide Rotax dealers”, he finished.
Tomorrow the weather forecast indicates that it will be a sunny day... but still cold !!!. The action starts at 8h00 with the warm-up for all categories, followed by the first row of qualifying heats from 10.15 to 12.55. Lunch break at 12.55, and the second rows of
qualifying heats start at 13.25. This will be the first day for the Micro MAX drivers with scrutineering, marking and mounting preview from 13.30 to 15.30. The action for the Micro MAX youngsters will begin with a free practice session from 16.00 to 17.00.