Javier Gonzalez (juniors), Josh Price (seniors), Shaun Slavin (DD2) and Cristiano Morgado (DD2 Masters) are the winners of the 2014 ROTAX MAX International Open at Zuera (ESP).
On Sunday about 100 participants contested the final phase of the event, which nominated seven more drivers reaching the qualification for the ROTAX MAX Grand Finals at Valencia in November. The Spanish weather again made for best racing conditions on the 1.700 metres long high-speed track so that the spectators around the circuit and on the screens at home witnessed exciting races up to the finish flag.
In the Junior’s prefinal pole sitter Oliver York (Strawberry Racing) had quite an easy time. He did the best start and was able to head away from the rest of the grid. His win was never in danger since his following opponents had a lively fight for positions, which hindered them from keeping in touch with the leader. Up to twelve drivers struggled for the positions. In the end Jordan Brown-Nutley (Chris Rodgers Motorsport) from the UK finished second close ahead of Russia’s Dennis Mavlanov (Zeta Corse). But the latter got a time penalty, which threw him back to a disappointing 21st place. Meanwhile New Zealand’s Marcus Armstrong (Dan Holland Racing) inherited the third place in front of Javier Gonzalez (Paul Carr Racing) from Mexico and Nicolas Schoell (Dan Holland Racing) from Austria.
York and Brown-Nutley were the ones setting the pace in the beginning of the final although a whole pack was close on their heels. Quickly positions began to change among the top nine drivers. Unfortunately it did not go off without a hitch and so York and Brown-Nutley collided three laps before the finish, dropping back to the end of the grid, while Alex Quinn (Coles Racing) took the lead. But Javier Gonzalez was in his slipstream and overtook the leader before the last lap. With a tactical drive the man from Mexico defended the first place up to the finish line ahead of Quinn. Third place went to Presley Martono (Aim Motorsport) ahead of Marcus Armstrong and Julia Pankiewicz (Strawberry Racing).
In the Senior class the dominating driver Josh Price (Strawberry Racing) suffered a setback in the prefinal. After the start he was not able to defend the lead and only a few metres later he was involved in a slight collision, pushing him off the track. At last he only ended up on ninth place. On top it was his teammate Jessica Backman (Strawberry Racing) who was in a brilliant shape. The lady driver from Sweden lead the race quite a long distance until she had to leave way to her rivals: Yet by Lukasz Bartoszuk it was another Strawberry Racing driver who took the lead and defended the victory closely ahead of Josh White (Coles Racing), while Max Aitken (KR Sport), Jessica Backman and Kyle Fowlie (Strawberry Racing) completed the top five position. But a subsequent time penalty against Bartoszuk changed the order again. The polish driver dropped back to eleventh place, while Josh White inherited the win.
In the final race Josh White defended the leading position right after the start. But from behind it was Josh Price who boosted himself from ninth to second place. It was only a question of time until Price should take the lead. But that took longer than expected and as the race reached the halftime, Price finally had the advantage on his side. From then on the UK youngster was able to enlarge his leading gap and saw the chequered flag in first place. Behind the winner, Josh White took a secure second place, while fight for third position was an open and exciting matter: Finally Portugal’s Carlos Pinto (QZ Racing Team) asserted himself on the last podium place ahead of and Tom Meijer (Bouvin Power) and Frenchman Julien Falchero (Sonic Racing Kart).
Shaun Slavin (KR Sport) and Filippos Kalesis (VPDR) were the ones who set the pace in the DD2 prefinal. The duo quickly headed away from the grid and changed the lead several times. But towards the end it was Andreas Backman, who recovered from his moderate starting position and caught up to the leading duo. It did not take him long until he established himself in the lead again. Finally Backman took the win ahead of Kalesis, while Slavin visibly lost pace in the last laps leaving the third place to Adam Glear (Aim Motorsport).
The final seemed to be a walkthrough for Andreas Backman. He managed the best start and pulled away from his chasers. His win did not seem in danger until halftime. The Tony Kart driver suddenly lost ground consistently and surprisingly had to leave way to his opponents in the last laps. Consequently it was Shaun Slavin who proved to be the fastest man on track. In the end he took the deserved victory ahead of Mathias Detige (Flandria Competition Kart), Adam Glear, Andreas Backman and Filippos Kalesis.
In the DD2 Masters category the pole sitter Tamsin Germain (DG Racing) had no luck in the prefinal. She was involved in a starting collision and lost all chances for the victory. On the other hand Cristiano Morgado (QZ Racing) did not make any mistakes, finishing 13th in the overall grid thus taking the prefinal win of the Masters. In the final race Morgado did not leave any doubt, too. He finished ninth and completed a double victory. Martin Pierce (Praga Racing Team) and Tamsin Germain (DG Racing) complemented the podium during the prize giving ceremony.