Changing track conditions impact qualifying at the RMC Euro Trophy

Columns: Races
Friday’s official timed practice for round 3 of the Rotax MAX Challenge Euro Trophy has been decided under hot summery conditions at Karting des Fagnes, Mariembourg, where the circuit changed consistently throughout the day.

With five minutes to post the quickest lap, the chassis set up and adapting to the grip level were crucial for the afternoon session on the 1,366 metre Belgian track. In the end, the pole-sitters stole the show and the grids have been set for racing.
Rotax 125 Mini MAX – Nikita Ljubimov   58.939
Rotax 125 Junior MAX – Kasper Schormans   55.426
Rotax 125 Senior MAX – Kai Rillaerts   54.417
Rotax 125 DD2 MAX – Enzo Bol   54.120
Rotax 125 DD2 MAX Masters – Denis Thum   54.390

Mini MAX – Nikita Ljubimov (EST)
Tonykart-Bouvin Power Racing Team
“The feeling was good, a little nerves before I went to the grid, but then everything okay and I understand this. The track conditions were pretty good to post a quick lap and it was warm, but I was ready for to do my best time. When I go out for qualifying, I am always thinking about how to take each corner, where to turn, where to put the throttle, when to brake and accelerate,… something like that. I was a bit scared that I would not be the first, but I always feel like that when I am fighting for the lead. In my opinion, everything was pretty easy for me and 0.165 is not such a small gap. I hope over the heats and finals that everything is okay and I will win it. I also want to say a special thanks to our Bouvin Power Racing Team, Max Timmermans, Birger Bouvin, who makes the engines for our team, and my mechanic Luka.”

Junior MAX – Kasper Schormans (NED)
Sodikart-JJ Racing
“Qualifying was really good for me and I found the perfect place to set my laps. I couldn’t do it on my own, but in the slipstream was quite easy. We found the pace we needed after the earlier practice. We tried our other engine, which was better out of the corner and still had the speed in the straight. I went one-tenth faster in my group and three-tenths faster than the other group. It was so warm for the qualifying where the track changed a lot actually. There was so much grip and a lot of rubber. Although the grip level is way less today, but as always, we know how to find the grip for the racing. Being at the front, we are already in a good place now to be able to attack if needed in the last laps.”

Senior MAX – Kai Rillaerts (BEL)
Tonykart-Strawberry Racing
“Qualifying went very well. We had pole position by a good gap of two-tenths from the second guy. The pace has been there the whole time leading up to the weekend so we’re really happy with the result. The speed was good already during the last week also. This is going to help now being able to start every heat from pole position and we’re going to try to make our best out of the races. We’ll aim to have the position for the pre-final on Sunday. I want to say thanks to the whole team at Strawberry Racing and Cream Engines for all the support, and Tonykart.”

DD2 – Enzo Bol (NED)
KR-SP Motorsport
“I was struggling a bit in the first corner where I made a mistake in the qualifying, but after all P1 was better than I expected. I really didn’t think 54.1 was going to be a pole lap. The track changes quite a lot and you need to adapt a little, it feels quite different then, but you still need to be consistent in the driving. The conditions are really good here at Mariembourg this weekend and there’s a lot of grip, which is nice to drive. The MOJO D5 tyres seem to have a lot of grip and you have to manage them as well, compared to the D2 that I was used to in Juniors last year with less grip. The team also helps me a lot to learn more in the DD2 class, although I didn’t think I would be running at the front like I have been this season. It’s actually nice to be up against some older guys and watch them drive in the racing, unlike in Seniors where many of the drivers are the same age with similar experience.”

DD2 Masters – Denis Thum (GER)
LN-Kraft Motorsport
“In the practice before qualifying I was fast so I knew I had the pace for P3, but unfortunately in the qualifying I missed some corners, but managed to keep the kart on the track. Because the circuit changed so much over the day, from one session to the next one is so different: so sticky and then the kart’s sliding around on the back when it is so hot or you can have understeer into the corner. You have to adapt the driving for the track, but with new tyres you have that peak lap and you can make a mistake too. I’m happy to be P1 in the DD2 Masters and P9 overall in the DD2 field. Nicolas Picot is not far behind on P2, he’s starting directly behind me in the race. I know I have the pace for the whole race, having been here last week for the BNL against the same guys and finished P3. It’s always nice to be on track in a kart racing against this level of such good drivers and seeing karting back with great numbers again now – even on a national level everywhere.”

Saturday is jam-packed with qualifying heats which count towards the total points for the round at Mariembourg. This will also determine the starters for Sunday’s two final races, along with the top 6 finishers from the Second Chance Races in the morning. Watch it all live across the weekend online on the RMCET YouTube channel with LIVESTREAM from 10.25am (CEST) both days and follow every lap on the LIVE TIMING. Download the Rotax Global app for free on the App Store or Google Play Store for all links or visit the RMC Euro Trophy website -




Timetable - Saturday Heat Races

10:30 - Mini MAX Heat 1
10:50 - Juniors Heat 1 A-B
11:30 - Juniors Heat 2 C-D
11:30 - Seniors Heat 1 A-B
11:50 - Seniors Heat 2 C-D
12:10 - DD2 & Masters Heat 1
12:30 - 13:30 - Lunch Break
13:30 - Mini MAX Heat 2
13:50 - Juniors Heat 3 A-C
14:10 - Juniors Heat 4 B-D
14:30 - Seniors Heat 3 A-C
14:50 - Seniors Heat 4 B-D
15:10 - DD2 & Masters Heat 2
15:30 - Mini MAX Heat 3
15:50 - Juniors Heat 5 A-D
16:10 - Juniors Heat 6 B-C
16:30 - Seniors Heat 5 A-D
16:50 - Seniors Heat 6 B-C
17:10 - DD2 & Masters Heat 3
Photos Nina Megger
From Mariembourg, Jen Wade

Created by: abruno - 08/07/23

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