|The second round of the Rotax Euro Challenge gets underway at Wackersdorf in the south of Germany this week, where approximately 30 nations will be represented at the international event which is growing more competitive with every year. |
The professionalism of the teams and drivers is becoming more evident, together with the obvious direct factory support for many of its competitors. For the sport of Karting, it has been a very positive progression, which has set the standard for many other championships. However, the Euro Challenge is such a series that continues to lend itself to having individual drivers racing side-by-side with the major teams. This directly contributes to attracting entries from around the World, with the incentive to race against some of the best drivers for the coveted European trophy.
Hosting circuit ProKart Raceland was the dream of its owner Stephan Fritsch, who made it a reality with the support of the Wackersdorf mayor and other community members. In August 1997, an incredible turn-out of 15,000 people came for the official opening to see the sensational 7-hectare Kartsport complex. Today, it boasts a challenging 1257m outdoor track and massive indoor hire kart circuit, that when combined, gives the ultimate racing experience of over 2km.
In 1999, Pro Kart played host to a round of the European Championships for ICC and FC which was their first major race meeting. The international Karting federation later awarded them as the ‘best organised event’ that year. Complete with a professional kart shop and on-site race team, bistro & restaurant, viewing terrace and convention facilities, Raceland has recently extended the paddock area to include more amenities for the competitors and spectators. A new music club & disco is now also adjoining the complex.
Mr Fritsch says that the Pro Kart Team is excited to welcome back the Euro Challenge this week.
“In 2007, the Euro Challenge came to Wackersdorf for the first time and it was a great incentive for our young team. This year, we take much pleasure again in hosting this prestigious event, aiming to offer our many visitors even better service and the perfect organisation needed to every team and driver for a memorable race weekend in beautiful Bavaria! We are really looking forward to it!”
This year, the series sees some new prospects in the Senior Max class, where almost 90 drivers will take to the track. Looking to repeat his faultless victory at Wackersdorf, Senior Max ’07 vice champion Mike Joossens leads the points tally going into this weekend. Euro rookies RL Race Team Ltd currently hold 2nd and 3rd places, with Harry Tinknell and Chris Lock. Returning back to the championship this meeting is Mike Simpson, who narrowly missed out on the title last year, but will face some fierce competition as well from British rival and defending champ Ben Cooper.
In Junior Max, South Africa’s Axcil Jefferies leads another of the UK RL Race Team drivers Josh Webster, from the tiny Peter Hoevenaars of the Netherlands. Only one point separates him from his the TKP team-mate and reigning World number one Kevin Korjus, in a close 4th position.
Also from South Africa and racing with Jefferies in the Kalman Motorsport Team, Leeroy Poulter is hoping to keep his dominant hold on the Rotax DD2 class, as he did in 2007. However, he has last year’s runner-up Dennis Kroes and fellow Dutchman Danny Brand chasing him in the championship. The additional pressure although may come from his two native karters on equal standings and only a point in arrears – Cristiano Morgado and Wesleigh Orr. Both are former winners of the Euro Challenge and Rotax World Finals, so it’s going to be a brilliant showdown.
It’s a close call in the smallest of the championship categories, with the Max Masters having another close battle between some very experienced drivers. Fresh from his DD2 Masters victory at the Grand Finals last December in the Middle East, Christophe Adams of Belgium is at the top of the leader-board. Running in two classes this year, Cristiano Morgado is in 2nd and current Masters Euro champ and World number one Colin Davis is 3rd.
Open practice for round 2 of the series begins Wednesday, May 28th for the 170+ drivers, with some high temperatures forecast until Friday’s official timed practice sessions. True to ‘Wackersdorf form’, there are expected possible rain showers that will no doubt keep the racing interesting Saturday, with 25 qualifying heats scheduled on the program. However, Sunday should be cooler and ideal racing conditions for finals day.
As always, Kart Data Live Timing is available throughout the weekend over the internet from Friday morning, followed by all the racing action coming to you from the finals at www.raceworld.tv
For the complete list of entries and results following the first round in France last March, plus additional information regarding the Euro Challenge, our drivers’ photo gallery and the direct link to the Live timing – just go to the official homepage at www.rgmmc.com