Franciacorta set to challenge the Rotax Euro tour

Columns: Races
This weekend, the European series that boasts many of the best Rotax racing drivers on the start grid today finally makes its long awaited debut on Italian soil. The third edition of the Rotax MAX Challenge Euro Trophy (RMCET) will be welcomed with open arms by Franciacorta Karting Track in the beautiful province of Brescia from July 5-7. We can expect the competition to be hard and fast at the FIA award winning 1,300-metre circuit from the moment the lights go out here in Italy.

As the championship now heads into the second half of the 2024 season, every point is significant for the title in all six of the Rotax categories on the three-day program. The leading drivers at the top of the table are obviously expected to be strong contenders, although the biggest factor remains that the majority of participants have never been to the Italian circuit in Castrezzato. The weather will add another influential factor too, as the summer temperatures and predicted storms can be sure to mix things up a little in the results. There are 236 entries registered for round 3. It’s hot and the MOJO grip is going give the teams and their drivers the race conditions they have to work with.

The Rotax Mini MAX field has 44 of the youngest competitors for the opening round of two in the battle for the RMCET championship. The initial meetings for the Mini class at the previous Euro Trophy rounds were single events on the calendar. Czech driver Zdenek Babicek and the UK’s Albert Friend won the inaugural Belgian- and German Euro Cup by Mini MAX titles respectively. They have consequently secured their RMC Grand Finals tickets for the prestigious global showdown to be held in Sarno, Italy from October 19-26. However, the pair will line up this weekend to compete for the coveted European title, made up by the Italian rounds of the series. It is going to be guaranteed side-by-side action to the flag, if the previous events are any indication of what’s in store.

The Rotax Junior MAX leaderboard sees last year’s Mini MAX champ Jacob Ashcroft with an eight point buffer over Denmark’s Casper Nissen, who was the round 2 winner at Wackersdorf, Germany. Germany’s Noah Janssen is only one point behind the Dane too. There seems to be something about Ashcroft’s success outside of the UK that keeps him in the spotlight season after season. The field is packed with budding talent though, developing even more with every race at this level in Rotax. A total of 53 entries for Franciacorta means the Final grid will be determined by two Pre-Finals Sunday.
Senior MAX was won by Matthew Higgins at the second edition last month, outstanding in his performance to take the honours. He now ranks P4 in the overall standings coming into round 3 as the fourth driver from the UK in the order of the points. At the top is the 2023 RMCET vice champion Sean Butcher, who won the year prior. But the top 10 alone is an incredible list of first class talent, let alone many of those who don’t quite make the cut. It’s anyone’s guess who will lead the group after Franciacorta sorts them out. With names such as Gilbert, Bishop, Thien, McQueen, Lee, Pappacena, Hunter and Jeff-Hall all within striking distance, the racing will be tough in every session. Making a special appearance amongst the British entries is Kart Republic Official Racing Team driver Joe Turney, who has been winning titles in Rotax since he was in Mini MAX. His record is exceptional and undoubtedly, is one of the most prominent karters competing at the highest level in the sport.

One of the younger DD2 drivers racing at the RMCET, Enzo Bol, is running first in the championship after two impressive victories at both Euro rounds in Belgium and Germany. The Dutch driver has a massive task ahead to fend off his rivals [breathing down his neck now], including former Rotax Grand Finals champions and international front-runners. This category is full of drivers who are seriously on another level when it comes to the demanding direct drive two-speed gearbox racing. Maxim Shchurko almost won in Wackersdorf and Patriks Locmelis came close as well in Genk. The current World #1 Ragnar Veerus is on the grid, so too is former Senior MAX champ Axel Saarniala.

Also a double round winner, Nicolas Picot is controlling the over 32 class at the midway stage of the series. Ranked P2 in the standings is Martynas Tankevicius, who like his strongest competitor is a team boss who shares his own passion for racing and responsibility of nurturing the next generation. With the new venue, their experience will likely prevail, as they meet the challenge of adapting as a part of the fun. A local contender will take the opportunity this weekend to take on the Masters hotshots; Gabriele Nardi is one of the drivers more familiar with the circuit flying the Italian flag. 

In the Rotax E20 Senior class, the electric kart series has a different points’ leader to the winner of the opening round in June. British driver Spencer Brougham won the final race at ProKart Raceland and is P3 in the standings as the ‘Arrive & Drive’ season hits the halfway mark. The tally is close at the top, led by another former RMCGF E20 entry Raul Vargas. The Spaniard ranked first after the heats at round 1 and is three points in front of Pre-Final winner Will Elswood. For the second clash of the newest breakthrough in modern karting, the competition is bound to be a close one in Italy. The incredible parity of the CIK-FIA Approved Rotax E-drivetrain for the E-Kart with instantaneous power and acceleration, plus the cool Boost function, puts the focus more on the race game strategy.

The RMCET program begins with Qualifying on Friday from lunchtime before the first stage of the Heats will fill the afternoon schedule under sunny skies at Franciacorta. Saturday is racing all day long as the Heats continue to play out and shuffle the order for the intermediate classification. On Sunday, the Pre-Finals and Finals will decide the round winners and the championship standings.

The supporters are already showing up trackside at Franciacorta Karting Track for the start of what is shaping up to be a brilliant event in Italy. If you can be here to witness the passion and excitement of the Rotax competition in person, make the most of the chance to experience the racing presented by WSK Promotion. If not, follow the live timing over the weekend and watch the racing live Sunday.  

All the media links, news and latest results are available on the official RMC Euro Trophy website

2.40pm – 6.55pm
Heats (1st stage)

10.40am – 6.55pm         
Heats (2nd stage)

10.20am – 1.20pm
1.40pm – 4.40pm
Finals & Prize-giving ceremony
*Podiums between each Final




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Text Jen Wade  Photo HelloFoto

Created by: abruno - 05/07/24

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