Day 3: The first adrenaline-fueled action at the Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals 2023

Published on Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Day 3: The first adrenaline-fueled action at the Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals 2023

Welcome back to the Bahrain International Karting Circuit, where the sun-drenched second racing day. Today the weather graced us with a lot of sunshine, tempting some to relax at the beach recharging before the adrenaline-fueled action commenced when the track opened at 13:00 AST.

The spotlight today shifted to the first Non-Qualifying Practice sessions held under the mesmerizing floodlights, marking the inaugural Night Racing spectacle at the RMC Grand Finals.  This was an unique opportunity for the racers to navigate the twists and turns of the track under the dramatic illumination of the night sky, a challenge and experience that many had never encountered before.

With the silhouette of the beautiful and colorful Bahrain International Circuit’s Formula 1 track in view, the drivers embarked on a thrilling journey through the darkness, pushing the limits of their skills in this extraordinary setting.

What happened on the track today:

E20 Senior:

NQP 4 saw Denmark at the top of the timesheets, but this time it was the #607 of Marius Lyager Rose who went fastest with a 53.966, 0.168 seconds quicker than countryman Sebastian Bach (#603 – 54.134). Germany’s Mats Johan Overhoff (#601 – 54.158) continues his steady consistent form in E20 Senior, taking third in the session, ahead of Canada’s Yuchen Qiu (#610 – 54.206) and Denmark’s Knud Nielsen (#606 – 54.207), who completed the top five.

Overhoff would end up going fastest in NQP 5, improving from his earlier time by nearly a 1.5 tenths to a 54.018, 0.081 seconds in front of Bach, who was second once again today. Nielsen would go better this time around, taking third place on a 54.115. Poland’s Piotr Borowczyk (#608) would secure a best practice result so far with a 54.147 putting him fourth, ahead of Rose in fifth, which saw the entire E20 Senior field covered by just over a second.

Non-Qualifying Practice 6 for E20 Senior starts tomorrow morning at 11:13 Arabian Standard Time.

E20 Masters:

Brazil’s Joao Goncalves (#705) would again be at the top of the times for E20 Masters, posting a 54.759, putting him over two tenths of a second in front of Cyprus’ Igor Mukhin (#709 – 54.974). Andreas Matis (#707 – DEU) would again secure another top three practice result with a 55.267. Switzerland’s Gilberto Loacker (#703) was fourth on a 55.721, whilst Portugal’s Joao Dias rounded out the top five, with the #708 putting his best effort of a 55.903.

Goncalves continued his good run of form, as the Brazilian would not be able to better his earlier effort, but it was good enough to put him at the top of the times. Mukhin was only 0.096 seconds adrift this time around, as Loacker would finally reach the top three, bettering the efforts of Matis. The top five would end up being completed by Chile’s Hector Ramirez (#702), as he would put in a best effort of a 55.906 second lap time.

Non-Qualifying Practice 6 for E20 Senior starts tomorrow morning at 11:13 Arabian Standard Time.

Micro MAX:

A trio from Team UK would lead the way in NQP 4 for Micro MAX, with Edward Haynes the only driver to get under 62 seconds with a 1:01.861 on his seventh lap of the session, with Oliver Spencer (#9 – 1:02.041) and Jenson Chalk (#30 – 1:02.060) completing the top three. Thailand’s Posh Kongchoi (#32) would be able to muster up a lap time to go fourth on a 1:02.174, ahead of Germany’s Max Moor (#35 – 1:02.229) in fifth place, who was 0.055 seconds slower.

Emerson Macandrew Uren (#33 – 1:10.960) made it another British driver to top the times in NQP 5, as he would be faster than the USA’s Lucas Palacio by only 0.080 seconds to take the top spot. Palacio’s best effort was a 1:02.040, just 0.002 seconds ahead of Cees Muijs (#10 - NLD – 1:02.042), with Spencer only managing to be fourth quickest out of the 36 drivers with a 1:02.099. Poland’s Blazej Kostrzewa (#31 – 1:20.149) would complete the top five, half a tenth behind Spencer.

Non-Qualifying Practice 6 starts tomorrow morning at 11:26 Arabian Standard Time.

Mini MAX:

Canada’s Ilie Tristan Crisan (58.661) would be up at the top of the time sheets in NQP 4 Odds, as the #149 took the fastest time by a mere 0.022 seconds ahead of the UK’s Cole Denholm (#135 – 58.683), whilst the #119 of Charlie Woolfitt (58.836) would round out the top three in the session. Kyrgyzstan’s Prohkor Solukovtsev (#157) was fourth on a 58.879, 0.043 seconds in front of Estiona’s Nikita Ljubimov (#133 – 59.031)

NQP 4 Evens saw the UK’s Albert Friend (#130) go fastest with a 58.591, 0.071 seconds faster than Thailand’s Kamolphu Anuchatkul (#164 – 58.662), with Kyrgyzstan’s Daniil Voinov (#158 – 58.703) rounding out the top three. Jacob Ashcroft (#122 - GBR) was fourth in the session with 58.778, 0.008 seconds ahead of countryman Rory Armstrong (#138 – 58.786).

Woolfit would be fastest in NQP 5 Odds, putting down a marker of a 58.910, 0.023 ahead of Canada’s Crisan in another close session that saw the top 31 drivers covered by just over a second. Denholm would end up placing third a further 0.010 seconds behind, with Oliver Warner (#139 – GBR – 58.996) fourth, whilst Malaysia’s Travis Teoh (#169 – 59.042) ended up fifth.

The UK’s Albert Friend (#130) would be fastest in NQP 5 Evens under the dark Bahrain skies, putting in a 58.625, putting him nearly 0.250 seconds in front of Hungary’s Marko Fally (#140 – 58.868), whilst Armstrong would have another good session, placing third. In fourth, it was Krystof Kyllar (#128 – 58.958) from the Czech Republic, with Ashcroft rounding out the top five.

Non-Qualifying Practice 6 (Odds) starts tomorrow morning at 11:39 Arabian Standard Time.

Junior MAX:

A red-flag shortened NQP 3 for Odds saw only 14 drivers set times in the heavy afternoon heat in Bahrain, as Alejandro Umana Sanchez (#227 – COL) posted the fastest time of the session with a 55.087. 0.115 seconds ahead of Portugal’s Martim Barros Meneses (#261 – 55.202). Ecuador’s Brett King (#265 – 55.294) rounded out the top three, whilst South Africa’s Wian Boshoff (#203 – 55.321) and Francisco Paredes (#231 – ECU – 55.372) competed the top five.

The UK’s Thomas Bearman would be the fastest in NQP 3 Evens in the early afternoon, as the #238 would set down a better marker to chase down with a 54.553, in a session where the top six were covered by just over a tenth of a second and the top 35 by less than nine tenths.

Australian’s Max Walton (#242 – 54.563) was hot on the heels of the Briton in second, followed closely by France’s Tom Dussol (#250 – 54.622), whilst the Dutch pair of Mika Van De Pavert (#240 – 54.637) and Kasper Schormans (#254 – 54.648) completed the top five.

France’s Thomas Pradier (#235) was fastest of anyone in NQP 4 Odds, posting the best time of a 54.555, 0.004 seconds ahead of Kent Swartz from South Africa (#211 – 54.559). A further 0.010 seconds behind Swartz was Timo Jungling (#221 – GBR), who on his fifth lap in the session posted a 54.569. Kenzo Craigie (#229 – 54.654) and India’s Ishaan Madesh (#267 – 54.663) rounded out the top five, who were covered by just over a tenth of a second.

Argentina’s Thiago Falivene (#260) would be the fastest driver in NQP 4 Evens, posting a 54.713, 0.036 seconds ahead of the Netherlands’ Schormans (54.736). Bearman would have another strong showing, placing third with a 54.773, whilst France’s Louis Comyn (#264 – 54.793) would make it a very close top four, separated by 0.080 seconds. Germany’s Hannes Überfeldt would round out the top five, as the #202 had a best time of a 54.847 in the session.

Pradier would also top the times in NQP 5 Odds with a 54.716, 0.048 seconds in front of Lebanon’s Christopher El Feghali (#201 – 54.764), whilst Belgium’s Beau Lowette (#237) would round out the top three drivers in the session with a best effort of a 54.851. Craigie (54.860) would find himself ending up fourth, a further 0.009 seconds off Lowette, as another Belgian in the form of Mateja Radenkovic (#207) would round out the top five with a 54.871.

Bahrain’s Luca Houghton would end up fastest in NQP 5 Evens towards the end of the on-track action, as the #206 posted the best time of 54.930, ahead of Walton from Australia, who was 0.113 seconds slower. Japan’s Arata Endo would secure third in the session, with the #216 setting a 55.060, 0.020 seconds in front of Schormans in fourth. The USA’s Nixx Eggleston (#224 – 55.085) would be a mere 0.005 off the Dutchman, taking fifth at the finish.

Non-Qualifying Practice 6 (Odds) starts tomorrow afternoon at 12:05 Arabian Standard Time.

Senior MAX:

Belgium’s Kaï Rillaerts (#357) would start off strong in NQP 3 Odds, as he would put down a 53.531 second lap time around this challenging 1.414-km circuit. Italy’s Elia Pappacena (#345 – 53.659) would end up second, 0.011 ahead of Greece’s George Kafantaris (#363 – 53.670). Team UK’s Sean Butcher (#303 – 53.700) placed fourth in the session, a mere 0.004 seconds faster than the UAE’s Theo Kekati (#367 – 53.704) , whilst 35 drivers would be covered by just under 1.4 seconds.

NQP 3 Evens would see a British 1-2, courtesy of Ethan Jeff-Hall (#308 – 53.657) and Kai Hunter (#334 – 53.659). Germany’s Austin Lee (#356) was just over a tenth and a half in third, putting down a best effort in the session with a 53.814. Matthew Higgins (#318 – GBR – 53.863) would also be on the pace, as he would take fourth in the session in front of Portugal’s Francisco Macedo (#324 – 53.877), where all 36 drivers would be within 1.6 seconds of each other.

NQP 4 Odds saw Sean Butcher (#303 – GBR) secure the top spot with a 53.391, 0.103 seconds ahead of the Netherlands’ Dion Van Werven (#305 – 53.494), whilst Kafantaris would also show further consistency by again placing third on a 53.516. Rillaerts this time would place only fourth on a 53.528, ahead of Hungary’s Aron Krepscik (#351), who find himself 0.165 seconds behind Rillaerts.

In NQP 4 Evens, Jeff-Hall from the UK would again end up fastest on a 53.566, followed by Finland’s Miska Kaskinen (#306 – 53.667), who was 0.101 seconds behind the Briton at the finish of the session, whilst Australia’s Jack Webster (#342 – 53.718) rounded out the top three. Portugal’s Francisco Macedo (#324- 53.720) secured fourth position, 0.002 seconds behind Webster, as Matthew Higgins (#318 – GBR) rounded out the top five with a best effort of a 53.731.

The Netherlands’ Dion Van Werven (#305) went quickest in NQP 5 Odds, putting down a fast time of a 53.521, 0.095 ahead of Butcher from the UK (53.616), whilst Kafantaris rounded out the top three. Italy’s Elia Pappacena (#345) would be in the mix for the top three, but would end up fourth with a best effort of 53.715, ahead of Hungary’s Krepscik in fifth (53.734).

NQP 5 Evens would see a return to the top of the timesheets for Hunter, as the Briton would lead Jeff-Hall in another 1-2 for Team UK, with 0.007 seconds splitting the pair. Austria’s Daniel Hauswirth (#352) put his Sodikart into third place with a 53.815, ahead of Denmark’s Tobias Bille Clausen (#302 – 53.867) on fourth. France’s Jules Roussel (#350) would manage to secure fifth in the session, completing his best lap of a 53.901 on lap four.

Non-Qualifying Practice 6 (Odds) starts tomorrow afternoon at 12:31 Arabian Standard Time.


Austria’s Philipp Moitzi (#401) would be fastest in NQP 3 Odds as the on track action for MAX DD2 got underway, going under the 53 second barrier in the process to set a 52.913 second lap time. The Netherlands’ Martijn Van Leeuwen (#467 – 53.029) was second, whilst Slovenia’s Xen De Ruwe (#409 – 53.065) rounded out the top three. Christos Oikonomou (#463 – GRC – 53.167) was fourth, whilst Jakub Bezel (#453 – CZE – 53.186) would start off in fifth for the first session of the day.

NQP 3 Evens would see Finland’s Axel Saarniala (#­432) top the times in the session with a 52.996, 0.043 seconds in front of Italy’s Michael Rosina (#414 – 53.039), whilst Hungary’s Bende Szabo (#416 – 53.114) completed the top three. Kyrgyzstan’s Alexandr Plotnikov (#440) would secure fourth with a best effort of a 53.165, 0.012 seconds ahead of Latvia’s Martins Janovskis (#422 – 53.177), who secured fifth ahead of Peru’s Daniella Ore, who set the exact same lap time.

Moitzi would double up again in NQP 4 Odds, as the Austrian would ramp up the pace with a 52.793, 0.136 seconds ahead of Oikonomou, with De Ruwe 0.005 seconds adrift of the Greek driver in third place. Kyrgyzstan’s Nikita Artamonov (#439) would secure fourth in the session with a 53.152, as Chile’s Enzo Montecinos (#419) rounded out the top five, whilst the top 32 drivers were covered by just over a second.

Canada’s Gianluca Savaglio (#452) was fastest in NQP 4 Evens, posting the best time of a 52.839, 0.003 seconds ahead of Italy’s Leonardo Baccaglini (#420 – 52.842), whilst Daniel Muallem (#404 – ANC – 52.910) rounded out the top three quickest drivers in the session, a further 0.071 seconds adrift. Australia’s Harrison Hoey (#448) would take fourth after proceedings had concluded with a 52.913, as France’s Antoine Barbaroux (#434 – 52.948) rounded out what was a very close top five.

Moitzi would make it three from three, going fastest again in NQP 5 Odds with a 52.739, 0.093 ahead of Bezel, with Poland’s David Aulejtner (#437 – 52.955) third, as seven drivers went under 53 seconds on their best lap. Van Leeuwen (52.961) and De Ruwe (52.963), who were very close together on optimum lap times, rounded out the top five, where 33 drivers were covered by just under 1.1 seconds.

Baccaglini would end the day strongly, taking the top time of a 52.821 in NQP 5 Evens, 0.074 seconds ahead of Savaglio (52.895). Finland’s Saarniala was third with a best effort of a 52.910, in front of Mualllem. France’s Antoine Broggio was 0.012 seconds off fourth place, settling for fifth, as the #430 recorded a 52.929 second lap time after nine laps of the 1.414-km circuit.

Non-Qualifying Practice 6 (Odds) starts tomorrow afternoon at 13:10 Arabian Standard Time.

DD2 MAX Masters:

Lithuania’s Martynas Tankevicius (#512 – 53.477) would be the fastest in NQP 3 for DD2 Masters, edging out Canada’s Ben Cooper (#526 – 53.482) by just 0.005 seconds, whilst France’s Nicolas Picot took third a further 0.040 seconds adrift, with his best effort being a 53.522. Rubens Barrichello (#516 – BRA) would improve from yesterday’s NQP action on track to go fourth on a 53.578, whilst New Zealand’s Matthew Kinsman (#521 – 53.594) would round out the top five.

NQP 4 saw Argentina’s Matias Rodriguez set the pace, as the #527 improved on Tankevicius’ pace from the first session of the day, posting a 53.319. Cooper would again end up second, improving on his time from earlier in the day, whilst Kinsman would take third. Slovakia’s Martin Konopka (#502) would set the same lap time as Kinsman (53.366), but the New Zealander took third by having set the lap time first. Barrichello was also again close to the four in front, whilst improving pace setting a 53.426 in the process.

Cooper, however, would end up on top on for NQP 5, putting in the fastest time of the day with a 53.293, 0.004 seconds in front of Italy’s Federico Rossi (#503 – 53.297). Barrichello would have his best practice session so far, putting down a lap time of 53.350 to secure third, with Kinsman fourth (53.431), as Germany’s Denis Thum would complete the top five, as the #508 recorded a lap time of 53.440.

Non-Qualifying Practice 6 starts tomorrow afternoon at 12:57 Arabian Standard Time.


Overall Fastest Lap Times:

E20 Senior: 53.966 | Marius Lyager Rose | 607 | DEN 

E20 Masters: 54.759 | Joao Goncalves | 705 | BRA

Micro MAX: 1:01.861 | Edward Haynes | 4 | GBR

Mini MAX: 58.591 | Albert Friend | 130 | GBR
Junior MAX: 54.553 | Thomas Bearman | 238 | GBR

Senior MAX: 53.391 | Sean Butcher | 303 | GBR

MAX DD2: 52.739 | Philipp Moitzi | 401 | AUT

DD2 MAX Masters: 53.293 | Ben Cooper | 526 | CAN

Tomorrow the track will awaken at 10:30 AST for the final Non-Qualifying Practice sessions, setting the stage for a transition to the race tires. Brace yourselves for the Qualifying Practice and the first heats, which will be broadcast live on our streaming platform starting at 14:00 AST.

Save the dates and subscribe to our YouTube Channel (rotaxkarting) to ensure you’re part of the action as the RMC Grand Finals in Bahrain hurtle toward their thrilling conclusion.


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Author: Bas Kaligis

Categories: Rotax

Tags: DD2 Masters, Senior MAX, Mini MAX, Junior MAX, Rubens Barrichello, Micro MAX, MAX DD2, Jakub Bezel, Xen De Ruwe, Federico Rossi, Sean Butcher, Nicolas Picot, Axel Saarniala, Kai Hunter, Christopher El Feghali, Matthew Kinsman, Max Walton, Thiago Falivene, Matias Rodriguez, RMC Grand Finals, Bahrain International Karting Circuit, Mateja Radenkovic, Harrison Hoey, Ethan Jeff-Hall, Edward Haynes, Michael Rosina, Jacob Ashcroft, Martijn Van Leeuwen, Ilie Tristan Crisan, Leonardo Baccaglini, Theo Kekati, Jenson Chalk, Antoine Barbaroux, Denis Thum, Thomas Pradier, Wian Boshoff, Nikita Artamonov, David Aulejtner, Albert Friend, Nikita Ljubimov, Luca Houghton, Mika Van De Pavert, Kaï Rillaerts, Gianluca Savaglio, Philipp Moitzi, Aron Krepscik, Mats Johan Overhoff, Kenzo Craigie, Arata Endo, Austin Lee, Miska Kaskinen, Martynas Tankevicius, Tobias Bille Clausen, Francisco Macedo, E20 Senior, Rory Armstrong, Kasper Schormans, Daniel Hauswirth, Jack Webster, Jules Roussel, Beau Lowette, Dion van Werven, Matthew Higgins, Travis Teoh, Christos Oikonomou, Martin Konopka, Blazej Kostrzewa, Francisco Paredes, Cole Denholm, Thomas Bearman, Max Moor, Andreas Matis, Hector Ramirez, Igor Mukhin, Timo Jungling, Tom Dussol, Elia Pappacena, Oliver Warner, E20 Masters, Gilberto Loacker, Knud Nielsen, Lucas Palacio, Ben Cooper, Nixx Eggleston, Louis Comyn, Marius Lyager Rose, Sebastian Bach, Joao Goncalves, Oliver Spencer, Emerson Macandrew Uren, Cees Muijs, Prohkor Solukovtsev, Charlie Woolfitt, Martim Barros Meneses, Kent Swartz, Hannes Überfeldt, Yuchen Qiu, Joao Dias, Posh Kongchoi, Kamolphu Anuchatkul, Daniil Voinov, Marko Fally, Krystof Kyllar, Alejandro Umana Sanchez, Brett King, Ishaan Madesh, George Kafantaris, ’ Dion Van Werven, Bende Szabo, Alexandr Plotnikov, Martins Janovskis, Enzo Montecinos, Daniel Muallem, Antoine Broggio