What may seem a simple decision from the outside is made that bit more complicated when you take into account that the teams and drivers have to consider the wet tyre allocation for the week ahead coming in to official qualification and then racing itself. By the end of all Free Practices n°6, every class had experienced a taste of a wet track either with wet or slick tires. This means a team’s strategy this early on in the event could already have played a part in the future of a driver’s performance.

The weather has definitely made a large impact on the meeting so far but with only one more Free Practice left tomorrow and then heading into the vital Qualifying Practice and racing, the teams and drivers will certainly be keeping an eye on the forecast overnight.

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The youngest drivers seemed to be hit with the worst of the weather conditions with every session being affected by either a wet track or the rain except the last session. Both Free Practice n°5 & n°6 saw the same two names at the top of the timesheets with Belgium’s Douwe Dedecker (59.421) beating Poland’s Maksymilian Obst (59.438) by less than a tenth in each session.

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A different driver topped each session today in the Mini MAX field which showed the depth and competitiveness of the class. Fastest time overall was a 56.962 by Dani Van Ruiten  followed closely by France’s Augustin Bernier on 56.966.

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In the Junior MAX class, the only driver able to clock the fastest time in more than one session was Esteban Masson from France with 53.334 in the last dry session. When the track was wet, it was Australia’s Jaiden Pope that managed to find the grip that others didn’t early in the day.

125 MAX

The first Senior class out on track was also hit by the weather which meant that the two fastest times of the day were seen in the Free Practice n°5. Austria’s Mario Novak managed a 52.682 ahead of James Lowther from the UK. Later in the day in his last session, Zac Stitchbury posted a 52.799 to prove he is one to watch in his first Grand Finals event.

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The DD2 Masters came out fighting and brought the competition to Matthew Hamilton (52.885) from New Zealand who, although fastest in two of his three sessions, was beaten to the best time of the day by less than 0.1 seconds by Finland’s Antti Ollikainen (52.832). Four-time Rotax MAX Challenge World Champion Christiano Morgardo showed he is back to fight for another crown by showing the fastest pace in the wet session with a 1.06.782.

125 MAX DD2

Another driver to continue his good form from yesterday’s practice was Australia’s Ryan Kennedy who managed to be fastest in all but one of his group sessions today. Daniel Formal achieved the same feat if only just slightly off Kennedy’s 52.117 with a 52.294.


The first Free Practice of the week took place towards the end of the day and it was Roberto Da Silveira who showed that his experience of the circuit here from the previous days racing in the American Series will benefit him against the EKM drivers that he will race against this week. Karim Hussein Bock, however, proved this advantage will not matter for long when he managed to post a time only 0.019 behind.

Once the track action had finished for the day, it was the turn of the Race Director to brief all of the drivers on the procedures and expectations of them tomorrow once the competition starts. There will be one final Free Practice ahead of the Official Qualification which determines the start positions for the Heat Races. The close times and depth of talent already seen here this week, combined with the unpredictability of the weather, promises some great and exciting racing to come.

Stay updated by downloading the New App: Rotax Grand Finals for either IOS or Android phones. You can access live timing by clicking here. For more information, please visit the Rotax MAX Challenge website.

Info: RMCGF 2018 Communications

Editing: Guillaume Alvarez

Photos: BRP-Rotax