Grand Finals: Stressful day with last heats and last-chance finals
Published by Bas Kaligis 11 december 2009 19:50 - Print
|The penultimate day of racing at the Rotax MAX Grand Finals is a very stressful day for many competitors. After Thursday’s heat races, there’s only one more race left to automatically qualify for the Pre-Final tomorrow. For those that don’t qualify through their race finishing positions, there is the last chance final. However, every driver here at Ghibli Raceway will tell you they do not want the stress of having to race their way into the pre-final.|
As with all race days, the morning started with a driver’s briefing. The briefing was followed by the morning warm-up sessions in which the teams each got ten minutes to make one last adjustment to their equipment.
At 10:45 on the button the first race of the day, race #13 – Junior MAX groups A and D, took off from the grid for their eight lap race. This race was led from flag top flag by Dutch driver Kay Van Kemenade. Kay was followed closely the entire race by top-qualifying Junior MAX driver, Edward Jones from the UAE.
The top three in Race #13 were:
1. Kay Van Kemenade (The Netherlands)
2. Edward Jones (United Arab Emirates)
3. Matthew Perry (United Kingdom)
The second Junior MAX heat of the morning was for race groups B and C. Edward Brand (UK) took command of the top spot on the opening lap and never let go. Back in the pack, Daniil Chupinin from the Ukraine was the big mover of the race. Daniil came from all the way back in 30th starting place to finish ninth.
Race 14’s top three were:
1. Edward Brand (United Kingdom)
2. Ukyo Sasahara (Japan)
3. Miika Laiho (Finland)
Leading the Senior MAX race groups A and D to the flag was Senior MAX fast qualifier Sean Frost of South Africa. Sean led to just before the first corner before getting a big shove from behind that put him off line and dropped him way back. This incident, and a few other bad breaks saw the pole winner having to go to the last chance race, something no one thought possible after qualifying. In the end of race #15 the winner was The United Kingdom’s Luke Varley.
First through third in race #15 was:
1. Luke Varley (United Kingdom)
2. Joey Wimsett (United States)
3. John Norris (Ireland)
The B and C race groups for Senior MAX went off the grid at 11:50. Estonian Mario Vendla lead from the first lap on and looked set to run out the winner. That is until Dutch driver Mike Joosens came on strong and overtook Vendla for a lead he would never relinquish.
At the end of race 16, the top three were:
1. Mike Joosens (The Netherlands)
2. Mario Vendla (Estonis)
3. Matthew Hamilton (New Zealand)
Races 17 and 18 were for the two-speed DD2 class. In race 17 for DD2 groups A and D, it was once again Ralph Odendaal (South Africa) streaking away for the win by over a second and a half. The quick driver from Durban is just two races away from a clean sweep. Is it possible we could see such a performance again?
Race 17 top three finishers were:
1. Ralph Odendaal (South Africa)
2. Main Barten (The Netherlands)
3. Yuya Hirayama (Japan)
If anyone looks like they might be able to stop Odendaal, it could be Germany’s Denis Thum. A win for Denis in Race #18 was his second and his only non-win was vs. Ralph Odendaal in their first match. Although Thum eventually won by over two seconds, Belgian Christophe Raymakers made him work hard for it and actually led two laps early on in the race.
Race 18’s top three were:
1. Denis Thum (Germany)
2. Christophe Raymakers (Belgium)
3. Kevin Gracholskis (Lithuania)
After a short break, it was time for the last chance race competitors to head to Parc Ferme for their last shot at making the pre-final. Tension was very high since only the top six from each class last chance race would continue on racing into tomorrow.
The last chance races had their usual share of incidents as drivers sometimes make overly-optimistic maneuvers while trying to gain spots on the track. At the end of the last chance races, the top six drivers that qualify to keep racing tomorrow were;
1. Pierce Lehane (Australia)
2. Tsubasa Sakakibara (Japan)
3. Antoine Lepesqueux (France)
4. Alec Udell (United States)
5. Heinrich Watson-Miller (Germany)
6. Tristan Viidas (Estonia)
1. Sean Frost (South Africa)
2. Phillip Arscott (United States)
3. Topi Toikka (Finland)
4. Timofey Sharov (Russia)
5. Claudio Pagliarani (Italy)
6. Marco DiLeo (Canada)
1. Jason Pringle (Australia)
2. Imre Birizdo (Hungary)
3. Francisco Chamberlain (Costa Rica)
4. Henrijs Grube (Latvia)
5. Brinley Gread (Australia)
6. Jesus P. Santander (Spain)
Once the last chance races are finished, for some it’s a time of great satisfaction if they made it through to the finals. For others, it’s time to tear down their karts and turn them back into the Maranello and CRG tents. For them, tomorrow will be a day to cheer on their teammates and resolve to qualify yet again for next year’s Rotax MAX Grand Finals.
MEER NIEUWS OVER EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIP/WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP