RMCGF, Portimão the most popular

Columns: 100cc Racing & Co
This is the fourth time the RMC has landed in Portimao for the highlight event of the season, the Grand Finals. The first time was in December 2012, at its 13th edition. As we wait for the RMCGF 2022 to roar to life we want to look back at the events that have taken place on the Portuguese circuit starting with the one in 2012.

Staggering numbers 
A total of 279 participants in the four official categories (Junior, Senior, DD2, DD2 Masters) did battle in Portimao. In addition, to promote the Micro Max category, 34 mini drivers (ages 7 to 12) from Spain and Portugal (in compliance with Article 18 of the CIK-FIA regulations) were invited to participate in the Micro Max Festival support race. Over 60 countries were represented, with the USA making up the largest group (19 drivers). Third Nations Cup title going to the UK, after those of 2008 and 2009, ahead of the Canadian and Australian teams.
In this edition, the karts were provided by Birel, Sodi, Mach1, and Haase with the addition of Praga for chassis for the Micro Max Festival. High media presence with nearly 150 accredited journalists and press officers and 18 television crews.

Races Report
Junior Max
– Lots of surprises in the Junior class, home driver Bruno Borlido opened the dances, with the advantage of being on his home track. He stopped 1’02”157; the Portuguese was a tenth and a half over Britain’s Harry Webb, a revelation of the 2012 edition of the Rotax Euro Challenge. The heats are basically the same; the home hero is always protagonist, closely followed by another British driver, Josh White, on prefinal starting grids. Row two start for Kotaka from Japan and the Finn Kylmala, with Japanese Sato, next to Alvaro on row three. Webb and Preining from Austria, third in timed practice and Rotax International Open champion line up on row five.
The prefinal has a bad surprise at the start, Borlido is hit at the first corner only to find himself at the rear of the pack, while White drops back to seventh. Marino Sato takes the lead, but his attempt to get away doesn’t work, he engages in a fight with James Golding, up from grid 7. They duel for the first three laps, the Australian pulls away while Sato back to the rear. Up very fast come Kotaka first and then Kylmala, but neither manage to remove Golding from final pole. White is unable to come up and is out of thee top-10, while Gunn and Esmeijer come up from grid 23 to grab 3rd and from 27th to 5th respectively.
The final is just as good, in fact it changes prefinal results and promotes Webb who had finished 22nd. The Englishman’s progression is grand. On lap two he is 15th and on the fourth he is 10th and on the next lap he is 7th. Meanwhile Golding manages to maintain the lead with Esmeijer tailing him, with Gunn to mix the cards on lap 7. From here on Webb joins in the fight for the lead, and on lap 11 he takes Esmerijer, Golding and Gunn and he flies to a brilliant win that sees him cut through with nearly 4” over his Dutch rival. Similar performance for Canadian Parker Thompson, up from grid 18 to third and author of fastest lap with 1’02”374. Gunn grabs fourth taken on last lap by the Canadian, while Golding takes 7th. Nothing can be done for White, after a brilliant start from grid 11 he gradually drops to 26th, also Sato from rear start is unable to catch up with the leaders.

Senior Max – Pierce Lehane stopped the fastest lap, he’s one of the most promising Australian drivers around, he beats Britain’s James Singleton by 58 thousandths. The Australian is in perfect shape, he gets prefinal pole after a perfect heat. At the lights there was another skilled driver from the Hungarian Euro Challenge, Ferenc Kancsar from Hungary, while Eastwood (another to keep an eye on) and the Brit Scott Harrison storm off from row two, with Junior champion Ukyo Sasahara and Ed Brand in row three.
The prefinal is immediately hard fought. Lehane and Sasahara they all fight for the lead throughout the 14 laps, with Eastwood stepping in to join the group from row six on. Fast laps and close fighting sees the Japanese dropping to third, and then determinedly on the last lap he beats Eastwood over the finishing line. Lehane grabs 3rd with Kancsar shadowing him, while the British trio Hodgson, Scott and Brand follows a bit further back. 
The final on the Saturday is a battle of nerves between the first four, very little was left to the others. Lehane and Sasahara lead for the 14 revs, after Eastwood takes over the lead helped by the fight between Hodgson and Brand. The Irishman gets the better and managed hold a margin’s lead over the remaining 6 laps and sees him get the title with nearly 2” over Brand, who had managed to get away from Lehane, Sasahara and Hodgson, the latter on podium. From grid ten, the French driver, Finkelstein climbs up to fourth ahead of Lehane, with Mawson and Talvar from grid 13 and 11, following. Mora, Sasahara and Scott complete the top ten.

DD2/DD2 Masters –The two gearbox classes (Masters for the over 32) are just as exciting. 
In DD2, British driver with Canadian licence Ben Cooper (already twice champion in the Senior class) showed all his skill dominating all the session except for qualifiers – that went to Beligian Xen De Ruwe who stopped 59”101 – despite the fact that he was never the fastest on the track. Cooper wins all the heats, dominates the prefinal where he’s always in command of the situation, and during the final – however, the latter was a bit harder with De Ruwe, Laiho and Detige in this order for some laps tied him back to second. To complete podium, a revelation of this class, from Lethonia, Kostantinis Calko (26th after heats and 7th in prefinal) and Belgian Mathias Detige (10th after heats and 6th in prefinal); he gets taken his Australian rival Kyle Ensbey on the last lap. 
In DD2 Masters, the two-time champion Cristiano Morgado devastated the rivalry. After the heats, the Portuguese with South African licence starts from pole with the 2010 class champion, Scott Campbell, next to him. At the first turn Britain’s David Griffiths, row two start, gets into the lead with Campbell and Morgado shadow him. On lap seven, Morgado breaks lose and overtakes the Canadian and then the Englishman.  
There is the same duel for the final race too, with Griffiths taking Morgado after the lights and Campbell and the present champion following behind, this time he attacks the leading duo at the first turns and pulls away without leaving any chance for his direct rivals. Morgado practically pocketed the title. Campbell and Griffiths are unable to attack Morgado but the duel hard with each other; the Canadian wins the duel and is second over the line.

Created by: cggiuliano - 24/11/22

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