Strong field of contenders for RMCET Winter Cup in Spain

Columns: Races
This weekend marks the third edition of the Rotax Max Challenge Euro Trophy Winter Cup in Spain, with close on 180 entries on the grid at the Circuito Karting Campillos for the much-anticipated start of the European season for Rotax international racing. (Text Jen Wade & photos ©Nina Megger)

In 2023 we will see the return of four out of five defending champions back at the impressive and challenging Andalusian track close to Malaga. In Rotax Mini MAX, Rotax world number 3 and RMC Grand Festival Micro MAX champion, Albert Friend will be out to repeat his success in the class of 34 of the youngest drivers at the event, all aged between 9 and 12 years. Not to be overlooked, the Mini MAX Grand Festival winner and RMCGF 2022 vice champ, Jacob Ashcroft, is looking to add this title to his portfolio. There’s also the chance that several of the former Micro MAX standouts will show up, including Nikita Ljubimov, who won the Micro MAX Grand Finals title in Bahrain 2021.

Rotax Junior MAX Winter Cup winner Ethan Jeff-Hall has made the move to Seniors this season and therefore not defending his title. After becoming RMCET series champion and vice champion at the 2022 RMC Grand Finals in Portugal last November, he is definitely one to watch in Senior MAX. Probably a very likely contender will be the driver who was third on the world stage in Portimao, Kasper Schormans. The youngster from the Netherlands has already sealed another title since then, winning the first RMC Asia Festival in Langkawi, Malaysia just before Christmas. Of course, coming into the Junior MAX class this season are several of the best Mini MAX contenders as well – including RMC Euro Trophy champ Boaz Maximov and the driver who finished one point behind, Toms Strele. 

RMCGF champion in the Rotax DD2 in Bahrain the year before was Martijn van Leeuwen. The accomplished Dutch driver continues to show up as a favourite in the two-speed gearbox category. However, this year, he will have the young lady who almost stole the show in the desert in Senior MAX as she makes her debut in the direct drive kart. Teresa Babickova is taking time out from her busy formula racing program to challenge some of the quickest guys in Rotax karting this weekend. There are also a number of top drivers who highlighted last season’s RMCET series, together with leading Junior and Senior competitors who have made the move to the fastest class on the program.

Lithuania’s Martynas Tankevicius was outstanding in his performance to win the Winter Cup in Rotax DD2 Masters at the previous edition, but will face some fierce competition with the likes of French front-runner Nicolas Picot, stepping up to the over 32-years class now. Combined with the DD2 for the duration of the program, the Masters has a history of bringing new heroes to the forefront and obviously some of the most experienced on the circuit. Five-times RMCGF legend Cristiano Morgado was also planning to be racing with the Praga team led by another former champion Wesleigh Orr, but had to retire from the Winter Cup at late notice unfortunately.
 
Only the Rotax Senior MAX champion and reigning World number one, Callum Bradshaw, is missing from the entry list in Spain. His role as driver coach takes him out of the competition this time around, yet he is still trackside supporting his British-based team drivers. The field of 74 starters remains competitive though, attracting some of the best in their class and many who are at the top, both nationally and internationally today. Runner-up to Bradshaw at the RMCGF, Lewis Gilbert, is racing alongside rival Kai Rillaerts in the same team this season. Rillaerts was twice RMC Euro Trophy champion in Junior MAX and just off the podium in Seniors at the season-finale in Portimao. British hotshot Kai Hunter and numerous others could easily be sharing the Winter Cup accolades in 2023. Speaking of the ladies, sisters Eliska and Petra Babickova are likely to cause a stir among the boys.

The RMCET Winter Cup begins the schedule with official timed practice Friday afternoon to decide the starting line-up for a full program of 34 races across the two days. Livestream coverage will be online from 9.45am on Saturday, February 18 on the new dedicated YouTube channel for the RMCET. For Sunday’s second chance qualifiers and both finals in each class, the coverage starts at 10.15am for live streaming. Live timing from every session is also available throughout the event.
For more details and links to follow the RMCET Winter Cup, go to the official series homepage at - https://www.rotaxmaxchallenge-eurotrophy.com or download the Rotax Global App free on the App Store and Google Play. Keep updated with the latest news at Vroomkart and Rotax Karting on social media, with the hashtag #rotaxmaxeurotrophy.

SATURDAY
Qualifying Heats   09:50 – 17:45

SUNDAY     
Second Chance Races   10:20 – 10:45 
Pre-Finals   11:20 – 12:35 
Finals   13:30 – 15:00 
(*CET – local time Spain) 

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Created by: cggiuliano - 17/02/23

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