Rotax Euro unfolds under the hot Italian sunshine

Columns: Races
After two hot days on track at Franciacorta, qualifying setting the pace Friday and then 36 heat races in total completed by Saturday evening. The grids are now decided for Sunday’s Pre-Finals at round 3 of the Rotax MAX Challenge Euro Trophy being hosted for the first time by the Italian 1.3km international circuit. The top drivers in all six categories head the field in the Pre-Finals.

Ranking after Heats:
Albert Friend - Mini MAX             (Strawberry Racing Team – Tony Kart)
Casper Nissen - Junior MAX        (RS Motorsport – OTK)
Thomas Bearman - Senior MAX                 (KR Sport – Kosmic)
Maxim Shchurko - DD2                 (Lenktyniu Linija - BirelART)
Nicolas Picot - DD2 Masters        (NPS – Tony Kart)
Spencer Brougham - E20 Senior (Sodikart)

Rotax Mini MAX – Germany’s Maxim Becker (C4 Racing-Oberon) clocked the best lap of the two groups in the opening round of two for the RMCET Championship. Heading the initial group in official timed practice was Albert Friend, winner of the German Euro Cup by Mini MAX at Wackersdorf last month. The Brit won all three qualifying heats to top the class rankings Saturday. Only two points behind is the 2021 RMC Grand Finals Micro MAX champion Nikita Ljubimov (Bouvin Power-Tony Kart) of Estonia, with two race wins and Oliver Spencer (KR Sport-Kosmic) in third.

Rotax Junior MAX – Boaz Maximov (Bouvin Power-Tony Kart) set the qualifying pace in Group 2 from Group 1 pace-setter Jacob Ashcroft (Dan Holland Racing-LN), who leads the series at the mid-season stage. Off to a great start, Arjen Kraeling (KR Motorsport Srl-KR) took the honours in the first heat Saturday to eventually rank second behind round 2 winner Casper Nissen (RS Motorsport-OTK); the Dane taking two race victories. 2022 RMCGF #1 Scott Marsh (Strawberry Racing-Tony Kart) also had a double victory to be P3 in the standings. The fourth driver to win on Sunday was Ashcroft, who unfortunately lost his chance for a front row start in the Pre-Final after a coming-together with his teammate in the last race, thereby dropping down to P10 in the points. Maximov ranked P5.

Rotax Senior MAX – Showing up again in qualifying was the poleman from the RMCET Winter Cup in Spain this year, Thomas Bearman. One of the RMCGF front-runners in Bahrain 2023, the British KR Sport driver was faultless in his execution of the racing across the past two days, topping the field of 91 in Italy. Second in the rankings was single heat winner Macauley Bishop (Dan Holland Racing-LN) with all P2 results in the remaining four races. The next three positions for the top 5, each with one race win; Elia Pappacena (MKC Motorsport-Tony Kart), Tereza Babickova (TEPZ Racing-Tony Kart) and Matthew Higgins (Dan Holland Racing-LN). Championship leader Sean Butcher (KR Sport-Kosmic) suffered from a poor result in the first heat, but came through to P8 overall with three victories and a 2nd place. His teammate Caden McQueen had a difficult weekend so far, yet managed to take the flag in his first race. The official KR Motorsport entry of Joe Turney, formerly a leading Rotax competitor since he began in Mini MAX and since risen to the highest level of karting, returned to the grid in the one-make competition to make his debut in the European series. He was unlucky in the opening heat, finishing with a strong comeback for two wins on Sunday. The 15 heats determined the starting line-up for the Pre-Finals (A&B), with just 36 drivers to face the Final.

Rotax DD2 – Maxim Shchurko continued his excellent Euro campaign after narrowly missing the win at round 2 in Wackersdorf. The Lithuanian qualified on pole and sealed the lead in the rankings on Saturday with a double victory in the heats. Sharing equal points for the top 3 was the Belgian Lenn Nijs (Schepers Racing Service-KR) who won the third heat and Latvia’s Tomass Birstins (MRG Racing-BirelART). Series leader Enzo Bol (SP Motorsport-KR) has been unbeaten to the line in the first half of the season, struggling to have the speed at the round 3 event initially, but ranked P6 after the races. The competition in the class filled with talented young racers and seasoned Rotax champions is likely to produce some action-packed finals racing in the afternoon at Franciacorta Karting Track Sunday.

Rotax DD2 Masters – The third edition of the RMCET has been another good one for Nicolas Picot, defending his 2023 title with two rounds under his belt already this year. The Frenchman was on pole for the heats after setting best lap of the qualifying in the over 32-years category then topped the leaderboard with two wins for pole again in the Pre-Final. The first heat was won by his closest rival Martynas Tankevicius (Lenktyniu Linija - BirelART), P2 in the championship standings, ending up third in the rankings after the heats. Italian Gabriele Nardi (Drake Motorsport-KR) was looking strong and collected enough points in the racing Saturday for a front row start alongside Picot.

It is going to be a brilliant Sunday of racing!  All the Finals are being broadcast live around the world online from Franciacorta, including provisional podiums immediately after each of the Finals.




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(Text Jen Wade Photos Hellofoto)

Created by: abruno - 07/07/24

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