Racing got underway for the weekend at the Rotax MAX Challenge Euro Trophy Winter Cup with 22 qualifying heats filling the program Saturday, resulting in 12 different winners. Two drivers achieved a hat trick to lead at the chequered flag each race after taking pole position in their respective Rotax categories: Jacob Ashcroft (Mini MAX) and Tereza Babickova (DD2).
The fast Circuito Internacional de Karting ensures the racing is usually going to be exciting. Of course, the competitors need to remain focused and not get caught out to risk losing positions easily in one corner. The heats have left a number of drivers expecting to be sitting higher in the rankings, now having to make up vital places on Sunday. For the race winners, the challenge is about to get even more serious for the 2023 RMCET Winter Cup title.
Mini MAX – Ashcroft takes three from three
Fastest in the racing, Jacob Ashcroft (GBR) maintained his pace to be starting from pole in the pre-final, amidst a changing order behind him in every heat. Ultimately, it was Zdenek Babicek (CZE), twice second, who ended up P2 ahead of top five place-getters Felipe Reijs (NED) and Cole Denholm (GBR). Nikita Ljubimov (EST) climbed the rankings to P5 after taking second in the last heat.
Junior MAX – Nikishov puts Spain on pole
11-year-old Nikita Nikishov, flying the Spanish flag on home turf, has claimed prime position for Sunday morning with a consistent effort to take double victory and P2 in the heats. Qualifying pole-sitter Kasper Schormans (NED) came close to a tie on points to lead, but a penalty dropped him back to fourth overall. Sebastian Minns (GBR) and Thomas Bearman rank P2 and P3 with one win each then in fifth is Timo Jungling (GBR).
Senior MAX – Winning start boosts Kovacs to P1
Zsombor Kovacs (HUN) won the first heat for a head start and concluded by winning the last of four races in a field of almost 80 drivers. Following in the rankings, Britain’s Matthew Higgins and Lewis Gilbert had two victories as well, as did pole-sitter Kai Hunter. However, he could only manage P8 after a disappointing race 1. All top 3 places, yet no wins, put Kai Rillaerts (BEL) on equal points with teammate Gilbert for fourth in front of David Aulejtner (POL). 2022 RMCET Junior champ Ethan Jeff-Hall and Golden Trophy winner Austin Lee both had one victory each.
Rotax DD2 – Babickova unbeaten on debut
She’s raced at the top against the some of the World’s best in Rotax MAX and now Tereza Babickova (CZE) succeeded in being undefeated in all three heats as she settled into the two-speed class. The rankings were somewhat of a lottery after this with no driver securing more than a single P2. It’s Gregorio Bertocco (ITA) in second, finishing two times P3, on the same points as Patriks Noels Locmelis (LAT), and only a point between Martijn van Leeuwen (NED) and Michael Rosina (ITA) in P5.
DD2 Masters – New class for Picot, still top 6 in DD2
Although he has hit the age limiter and moved into DD2 Masters, Nicolas Picot (FRA) is not slowing down. The former French champion has been on the international karting scene for many seasons. He ranks sixth in the combined DD2 entries after Saturday’s races as the leading Master on the grid. On the high side of mid-field overall, Martynas Tankevicius (LTU) is classified second from Christophe Capitaine (FRA). Two points separate David Perel (RSA) and Andreas Neumann (GER) for the top 5.
Livestream is scheduled to begin at 10:15 (CET) Sunday on the new RMCET YouTube channel. Download the Rotax Global App for more event info - free on the App Store and Google Play.
Second Chance Race – Senior MAX 10:40
(*CET – local time Spain)
RMCET Website - www.rotaxmaxchallenge-eurotrophy.com
Photos: ©Nina Megger