|Every year there are new additions to the Grand Finals. This year, one of the new bits is a video track monitoring system used by race control to observe the competitors for errant driving. The seven-camera system has several neat features. These include the ability to capture a video clip with a time stamp so it correlates to any call coming in from a corner station.|
Also new to this year’s Grand Finals is a slick new billet shift paddle system for the DD2. In addition to having a really cool look, DD2 competitors have reported the new system is easier on their hands and feels more positive when shifting gears.
On-track action started in the morning at 9:20, approximately one hour after the driver’s briefing. Like the day before, the first class on track was the Junior MAX division. However, this time it was the even numbered karts having first crack at laying down some fast times. In addition to the main grandstands, some popular viewing spots this morning were the areas with the live timing screens.
It is worth noting that it is not just those in attendance at Ghibli Raceway that have access to live timing and scoring. Anyone with an internet connection can go to the Kart Data site at http://live.kart-data.com/LT09/RGF. There you can have access to live timing as well as short videos from around the facility with the lovely and talented Jenni Wade. The goal of the video series is not just to be informative, but to also be interactive. If there’s something you’d specifically like to know about, email Kart Data and let them know. You may just get your answer in a video.
After the Juniors, the Senior MAX drivers took to the track followed by DD2. Being a desert track, Ghibli Raceway gathers a fine layer of sand and dirt on it throughout the evening. As such the first group of drivers out on track face the slipperiest conditions. As track running continues, the track gets cleaned off and the times start getting faster and faster.
Official qualifying got underway promptly at 2:05 PM with the odd-numbered Junior MAX competitors hitting the track. The fastest in that session, Finland’s Miika Laiho, posted an initial pole time of 61.162 seconds. During the even numbered Junior session, only United Arab Emirates’ Edward Jones was able to go quicker and posted the fastest time of the Junior MAX qualifying sessions at 61.151 seconds. Rounding out the top three is Edward Brand from the United Kingdom who was just 2/100 of a second behind Jones.
During the Senior MAX qualifying sessions, perennial Grand Finals frontrunners South Africa picked up another pole position when Sean Frost set a blistering time of 60.289 seconds to be over one and a half tenths faster than Estonia’s Mario Vendla. Right behind Vendla in third was Tyler Greenbury of Australia.
As if to put an exclamation mark on South Africa’s qualifying effort, Durban’s Ralph Odendaal laid down the law in DD2 qualifying with a smoking fast lap of 58.547 seconds. Following Ralph to round out the top three were Lithuanian Kevin Gracholskis and Christophe Raymakers of Belgium. Ironically, all three of the top qualifying times were set in the first session for odd numbered karts.