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December 09, 2009 News
EKN Trackside: Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals - Day Three
 


eKartingNews.ca's coverage of the 2009 Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals is presented by
Championship Karting International and the 2010 WSK North American Series Florida Cup



 

Canadian Darren White scored a solid tenth place in combined Qualifying times for DD2
Canadian Darren White scored a solid tenth place in combined Qualifying times for DD2

Karts took to the track for the first timed sessions of the week at Day Three of the 10th annual Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals at the Ghibli Raceway in Egypt. The North American contingent of Team USA and Team Canada faired well with the Americans putting a driver in the top-15 in each of the three classes. The Canadians, always strong at the Grand Finals, are right there as well.

The Juniors were up first, but this time the even numbered karts went out first to give the odd number karts a chance at some clean track for their session. The morning sun is very strong and the heat comes in quickly in this peninsula region. The afternoon cools off quickly, and the track temp falls as the day moves rapidly into dusk. Today was the first time we saw clouds in the sky since we arrived at the track. Rotax, CRG and Maranello are all on site keeping check on the karts and engines as drivers enter the Parc Ferme area.

Junior Rotax
In the first timed session of the event, the best lap went to Matthew Perry of England with a 1:02.258. The top North American driver was Steven Szigeti (Canada) in 12th spot with a lap of 102.674. In the odd numbered group, the fast lap went to Vincent Jewell of Belgium with a 1:01.979, the first junior to break through the 1:02 mark as he continues to set a quick pace. Nick Neri (USA) was tops for the North American group and he grabbed the tenth slot with a lap of 1:02.482.

For the second rounds of practice we were able to get combined times, helping us to see how our guys set up into the overall mix. Top spot went to Matthew Parry of the UK with a lap of 1:01.717. He was followed by Vincent Jewell of Belgium and Santeri Erola of Finalnd. The top North American driver was Quebec’s Szigeti with a lap of 1:02.084. Top USA driver was Florida’s Neri in the 36th spot.

The Juniors were the first to hit the track with new rubber as they looked to grab an early advantage from pole position. In qualifying the pole position went to Edward Jones of the UAE, a driver very familiar with the Ghibli circuit with a time of 1:01.151. He was followed through by Mika Laiho of Finland and Edward Brand of the UK. Most of the North American drivers would struggle to keep the pace they had in practice, however, Neri was the top North American in 15th spot with a time of 1:01.495. Szigeti was the top Canadian in the 35th spot. All the North American Juniors will need pick up spots in the heats if they hope to move into Saturday action.

Senior Rotax
In the session three practice, the fast lap for the even number karts went to Andreas Jensen of Denmark with a time of 1:01.134. Top North American driver was Stepnova Nekeel (USA) in the fifth spot with a time of 1:01.262. Hugo Ouellette (Canada) finished in seventh spot with a time of 1:01.349. Joey Wimsett (USA) was also able to crack the top-10 taking tenth spot in the session. The fastest driver for the odd karts was Mike Joossens from the Netherlands with a 1:01.110 followed by Sotaro Mimura, just 0.054 behind. Top North American was Florida Winter Tour front-runner Victor Pedrosa (USA) with a time of 1:01.500.

In the combined session four it was again Mike Joossens taking the top spot with a lap of 1:00.913. Joossens was followed by Sotaro Mimura of Japan and Jiri Forman of Czech. The top North American driver was Pedrosa in the fifth spot with a time of 1:01.059.

In qualifying the order would change a lot as new names began to rise to the top of the charts. The South African driver Sean Frost would show the way with a lap of 1:00.289 followed by Mario Vendla of Estonia and Tyler Greenbury of Austrailia. Top North American was USA driver Joey Wimsett with a time of 1:00.636. The top Canadians was Marco DiLeo in 15th with Hugo Ouellette in 16th spot. The Canadians and American squads did well overall in qualifying and should be strong in the heats.

Rotax DD2
Even number karts were lead by Ryan Urban of New Zealand with a time of 59.206. Top North American was Troy Castenada (USA) in fifth spot with a time of 59:501. Daniel Morad of Canada was able to get into the top ten in ninth spot with a time of 59.704. For the second grouping it was Kevin Gracholkis of Lithuania taking the fast way round with a time of 59.368. Top spot of the North American drivers went to Darren White of Canada breaking into the fifth spot with a lap of 59.445.

In the combined second practice session classified as official session four, it was Russell Colombo of Argentina taking the top spot with a lap of 59.123. He would trialed by Brinley Gread of Australia and Christophe Huibers of Belgium. Top North American honors went to Darren White (Canada) in the 11th spot with a lap of 59.385. Cody Hodgson, fresh off his trip to the Granja 500, was in the 17th spot, tops for the USA in the qualifying.

Race favorite Ralph Odendaal of South Africa was top in the qualifying session with a 58.547, followed by Kevin Gracholskis of Lithuania and Christophe Raymakers of Belgium. The USA squad was led by Castaneda as he was eighth overall in the timed session with a 58.837 after getting this shifter issues overhauled after yesterday's troubles. The top Canadian was White with a 58.889, which put him in the 10th spot.

No real drama on track today as drivers kept it clean. The Rotax power plants, all fitted with ’09 cylinders of course, are producing some very close and consistent laps. The DD2 crowd seems to like the new paddle shift system a lot. We’ll check in with a few drivers tomorrow after racing to see what the final verdict is. The action will be hot (we are in the desert after all) and heavy as the wheel-to-wheel action gets underway with all two of the three qualifying heats on the schedule. Scoring low points in the heats will be key getting directly into the Saturday prefinal and avoiding the last chance qualifier Friday afternoon.

eKartingNews.ca will have forum updates in the Official Discussion Thread as each session ends to highlight the actual top-10 plus where each Team USA and Team Canada driver ends up. For complete coverage, including the United States and Canadian team previews and daily report, click over to the EKN.ca Event Page. To follow updates throughout the week, continue to watch the Official Discussion Thread on EKN.ca or the Discussion Thread on EKN.com. Also, watch the Driver Blog from DD2 driver Troy Castenada. For the live timing and almost live video provided by the RMCGF, click here http://live.kart-data.com/LT09/RGF/



For more information on Championship Karting International and the 2010 WSK North American Series Florida Cup go to http://www.championshipkartracing.com for all the schedules and details.
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