Rotax Grand Finals: on route for the finals
25 November 2011
Today was an important day because at the end, 128 of the 264 participants of this 2011 Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals would have to put an end to their dream to become Rotax champion. Only the top 34 drivers in each class will joint the final round of tomorrow. At the beginning of the day, most of the Canadian drivers were in good position to move up to the final round. Unfortunately, the third round was very difficult for many of them, victims of race incidents.
In the heat A vs D, Alex Guénette took the 9th place when Olivier Bédard (26th) and Kioychi Tsutsui (33rd) had contacts which placed their qualifying in the final round in jeopardy. In the B vs C heat, Artem Korolev, 13th, was luckier that his team mates in the same race. Jesse Lazare was 3rd until the last lap when a contact pushed him back to 18th place. For Parker Thompson, he had to deal with the mess in the back of the pack and finished 23rd.
After the qualifying heats, Jesse Lazare was the best placed Canadian driver with a 14th place. Artem Korolev was 19th, Olivier Bédard 24th and Alex Guénette 25th. Kioychi Tsutsui and Parker Thompson had to race in the Second chance race to reach the final phase. Tsutsui started this race 9th and Thompson 26th. Only the top 6 of the Second chance race will move up to the final round and the other are eliminated. This race was just crazy. Thompson drove a terrific race to finish 7th but unfortunately, he missed the cut by 1 position. Tsutsui crashed at the start and did not completed the first lap.
Our senior drivers also had a difficult 3rd heat. In the heat A vs D, Marco DiLeo and Steven Szigeti finished 20th and 21st. For DiLeo, this was enough to assure his place in the pre-final of tomorrow but for Szigeti, he had to wait for the result of the B vs C heat to know if he was in or not.
In the second senior heat, our drivers had problems again. Finishing 21st, Luke Chudleigh had now to go to the Second chance race while Chris Glover (30th) and Reid Arnold (34th) were eliminated.
Only Marco DiLeo and Steven Szigeti have moved up to the final round in the Max senior class. They will respectively start 14th and 27th in the pre-final race.
Chris Campbell and Stuart Clark secured their place in the final round with the third heat. Campbell will start on the first row in second place for the pre-final while Stuart Clark will start 18th. David Ivichek had to race in the Second chance race where he finished 2nd. He will start 30th on the pre-final grid tomorrow.
In the A vs D heat, Pier-Luc Ouellette finished 2nd, what placed him first in the qualifying heats standings and he will start on pole for the pre-final race of tomorrow. Four additional drivers from team Canada raced in this heat. Tyler Mc Ewan (14th) and Christophe Boisclair (21st) assured their place in the final round while Darren White (12th) and Daniel Burkett had to race in the Second chance race to keep the hope to move to the final round.
In the B vs C heat, Nicholas Latifi did a terrific race, going from second to first place few times. He was leading the race with only three corners to go when the Australian driver Jason Pringle did a very optimistic passing attempt, pushing Latifi and another competitor out of the track. Latifi was able to come back on track and he finished 18th. If Latifi had won that heat race, he would have started the pre-final race tomorrow on the first row with Pier-Luc Ouellette. He will start 9th. Kyle Herder finished 4th in this heat to secure his place in the final round.
Darren White and Daniel Burket raced in the Second chance race. White finished 6th, taking the last spot available for the final round. Unfortunately, Burkett finished 11th and this was not enough to move up to the pre-final race.
In the DD2 class tomorrow, Team Canada will have Pier-Luc Ouellette (1st ), Nicholas Latifi (9th), Kyle Herder (12th), Christophe Boisclair (24th), Tyler Mc Ewan (26th) and Darren White (34th).
Today’s interviews are with Marco DiLeo, David Ivichek (french), Darren White and Chris Glover. As usual, these interviews are available on Youtube.
Tomorrow is a big day where the 2011 Rotax Max Challenge champions will be crowned. We will, for sure, have new champions in the DD2 and Max senior classes because Daniel Morad (DD2) and Caleb Williams (Max Senior) are not here to defend their title. DD2 Masters (Scott Campbell) and Junior (Jordi Van Moorsel) champions are still in position to defend their title.
Text and pictures: Patrick Moreau