Rotax MAX Challenge Grand Finals 2017 - Day 5

Rotax MAX Challenge Grand Finals 2017 - Day 5

Portimao, Portugal, November 8th, 2017 –Welcome back to the first day of qualifying and heat racing. Wednesday’s temperatures averaged around 20°C, sunny and a little breezy. In other words, another perfect day for racing.

Wednesday gave the drivers one last chance to test out their strategies in their fifth and final unofficial practice session before heading directly into qualifying. Competitors will have one heat race before concluding the day.

Stay updated with live timing by downloading the New App: Rotax Grand Finals for either IOS or Android phones. You can access live timing through the website:

125 Micro MAX Practice No. 5
Wednesday’s Micro practice No. 5 saw a new nationality hit the top of the time sheets. Brent Crews of the United States posted the fastest lap time with a 1:10.634. Crews posted a lap time just six-hundredths faster than the second fastest driver of the session, Theophile Nael of France, who ran a 1:10.694.

125 Micro MAX Qualifying
Talk about wheel-to-wheel racing. A new name topped the charts as the day progressed into qualifying. Dani Van Ruiten of the Netherlands worked himself up to pole sitter, posting a time of 1:08.795. Leon Zelenko of Croatia actually posted the same exact time, but was categorized in second place. Adrian Malheiro of Portugal rounded out the top three, trailing the two by just two-hundredths of a second.

125 Micro MAX Heat 1
Even though Malheiro qualified in third, he didn’t let that stop him. In fact, Malheiro fought and battled a very well-deserved race win, finishing a hard-earned first place in front of the American driver Brent Crews. The pole sitter, Van Ruiten, rounded out the top three, more than five-seconds behind the two frontrunners. Leon Zelenko, who qualified in second place, finished in sixth for the first Micro MAX heat race.

125 Mini MAX Practice No. 5
The tables turned during Wednesday morning’s final practice. Marcus Amand of France, who posted the fastest lap times in Practice 2, 3, and 4, was shuffled back to second fastest as Jamie Day of the United Arab Emirates took over the top spot of the time sheets with a 1:05.964. Day was almost three-tenths faster than Amand’s lap time.

125 Mini MAX Qualifying
The Australian James Wharton rose to the top of his group, posting a 1:04.720. Wharton always was lurking in the background during the five practice sessions, never quite posting the fastest time in the unofficial sessions. However, his and his team’s hard work paid off, as he jumped ahead of the American Josh Pierson by over two-tenths of a second. Jamie Day of the United Arab Emirates, who had run the fastest lap time in the previous session, rounded out the top three.

125 Mini MAX Heat 1
Although Day didn’t qualify on pole position, he kept his head in the game. The hard work paid off, as he placed in first, ahead of the pole-sitter, James Wharton, by just five-hundredths of a second. The Frenchman Marcus Amand, who was the fastest competitor Tuesday, rounded out the top three. Josh Pierson of the United States, finishing in fourth, posted the fastest lap time of 1:04.464 – almost six-tenths faster than Day.

125 Junior MAX Practice No. 5
Axel Saarniala of Finland once again posted the fastest lap time of the Junior MAX category, being the only man of the field to break the one-minute mark, posting a 1:00.992. He was followed closely by Kamil Donicz of Poland, who ran a 1:01.068. The top three drivers in Saarniala’s group, the second Junior MAX group to head out on-track, were about six-tenths faster than the top drivers of the first group to drive on track. Romain Leroux of Singapore ran the fastest lap time in the first of the two final Junior MAX unofficial practices, posting a 1:01.657.

125 Junior MAX Qualifying
Tijmen Van Der Helm of the Netherlands posted the fastest lap time of a 59.918. Senna Van Walstijn of the Netherlands with a 1:00.013. Tommy Foster of the UK rounded out the top three, posting a 1:00.092.

125 Junior MAX Heat 1 A + B
What a fantastic and nail biting race this was, from start to finish. Tijmen Van Der Helm from the Netherlands ultimately finished in first place, pulling out a comfortable lead with 3.6 seconds over Luca Leistra from Belgium who finished in second and Broc Feeny of Australia who rounded out the top three. Nevertheless, the top three did see intensive battling, bumping and pushing. Interestingly, although Van Der Helm finished first, his lap time was slower than second and third place by a couple of tenths! This just goes to show that consistency is key to winning races.

125 Junior MAX Heat 1 C + D
Unlike the Junior MAX Heat 1 A + B, the Junior MAX Heat 1 C + D race proved to be much less aggressive. The top two drivers remained in their respective positions, beginning from the start of the race. A small round of battles took place for third place. In the end, it was Axel Saarniala of Finland who took first place over Tommy foster from the UK by a narrow gap of five-hundredths of a second. Clayton Ravenscroft also from the UK rounded out the top three. The fastest lap time, however, was posted by Hannes Morin of Sweden who finished in thirteenth position.

125 MAX Practice No. 5
Petr Bezel of the Czech Republic conquered the top spot of the time sheets with a 1:00.449. However, the rest of the field was not far away, as the Hungarian Zsombor Kovacs lay just two-hundredths behind Bezel, posting a 1:00.475.

125 MAX Qualifying
Jordan Brown-Nutley of the UK qualified first with a 59.787. However, a new comer from Canada, Ryan Macdermid, jumped into the second place, posting a 59.793, followed by the German Tamino Bergmeier who ran a 59.963. The top three drivers were the only drivers cracking the one-minute barrier.

125 MAX Heat 1 A + B
Jan Schwitter of Switzerland had a fantastic battle with the rest of the field, as he demonstrated his skill to win, pulling a one-tenth gap over Koki Mizuno of Japan. Jordan Brown-Nutley, who ultimately rounded out to the top three, had a good battle with Mizuno and Petr Bezel of the Czech Republic. Bezel finished in fourth. Mario Novak of Austria, finishing in eighth, posted the fastest lap time of the race.

125 MAX Heat 1 C + D
Felix Warge of Belgium had the chance to pull away from the rest of the pack, securing almost a four-tenths-of-a-second gap over Brett Ward from the UK, who finished second. The action of the race truly took place behind Warge, as Ward battled with Lauri Leppa of Finland, who finished just nine-hundredths of a second behind Ward. The only female competitor of the 125 MAX category, Amna Al Qubaisi, finished in 23. Filip Vava of Spain posted the fastest lap time of the race and finished in thirteenth.

125 MAX DD2 Masters Practice No. 5
Gabriel Zughella of Argentina posted the fastest lap time of his group, with a 59.447. The Grand Finals veteran, Ryan Urban of New Zealand, trailed closely behind Zughella by just over one-tenth. Priit Sei of Estonia rounded out the top three of the group.

125 MAX DD2 Masters Qualifying
A new name popped to the top of the time sheets. It was the American Derek Wang who posted the fastest lap time of the group with a 59.202. Tomokazu Kawase of Japan followed closely behind with a 59.221, trailing behind just by one-hundredth of a second.

125 MAX DD2 Masters Heat 1 A + B
The pole sitter, Derek Wang of the United States lead the race until about three-quarters of the way. This was when Antti Ollikainen of Finland started catching up to Wang. Wang managed his driving style and instead of battling for first place, he stayed behind Ollikainen after the Fin made the pass on the American and kept his second place position. Troy Woolston of Australia, who finished in ninth, posted the fastest lap time of the race – almost three-tenths faster than Ollikainen. Kawase, who qualified in second, did not have the best race result, as he finished in thirteenth.

125 MAX DD2 Masters Heat 1 C + D
Gabriel Zughella of Argentina once again surfaced to the top of the pack. Zughella slowly and steadily pulled out a steady 1.3 second lead, ahead of Charly Hipp of France. The South African Michael Stephen finished about two-tenths of a second behind Hipp. Hipp consistently drove faster lap times than the top two drivers, posting times often more than than five-tenths of a second faster than the leader. Nevertheless, it was Manuel Tenschert of Austria who posted the fastest lap time – six-tenths of a second faster than Zughella. Tenschert finished in fourth. The only lady of the race, Tiffany Chittenden representing New Zealand, finished in seventh.

125 MAX DD2 Practice No. 5
Ryan Kennedy of Australia posted the fastest lap time of the group with a 59.118, followed closely by the Brazilian Ruan Belizario, who was just five-hundredths of a second slower than Kennedy. Kacper Bielecki of Poland rounded out the top three of their group’s practice session.

125 MAX DD2 Qualifying
Nikolai Stien of Norway stormed to the top of the time sheets, posting a 58.485. Mads Thomsen of Denmark was about two-tenths slower, with a 58.624 and Cody Gillis of Australia rounded out the top three with a 58.641.

125 MAX DD2 Heat 1 A + B
Rotax Grand Finals veteran Cody Gillis of Australia won his race with just a tenth of a second gap over the German driver Martin Henckel Mortens. Mads Thomsen of Denmark rounded out the top three. The two-time Rotax Grand Finals Champion, Ferenc Kancsar of Hungary finished in fifth. It was Jan Slosar of Slovenia who posted the fastest lap time and finished in ninth.

125 MAX DD2 Heat 1 A + B
Finland seems to have a very good streak in the DD2 and DD2 Masters categories, as Antti Ollikainen won his category and now, a new Finnish driver posted another win in the DD2 category. It was Ville Viiliaeinen of Finland who battled with Xen De Ruwe of Slovenia and ultimately emerged the winner of the race, pulling a seven-tenth gap over De Ruwe. Bradley Liebenberg from the Republic of South Africa fought his way to third place, about one-tenth behind De Ruwe. Pedro Pinto of Portugal posted the fastest lap time and finished in sixth place – about three-tenths faster than Viiliaeinen.

Stay tuned for our upcoming daily reports, which bring the intense action of the RMCGF to you!

Please note, all results are unofficial and may be subject to change.

For more information about the Rotax MAX Challenge, please visit

The Rotax MAX Challenge (RMC) is a professional kart racing series established, owned and organized by BRP and its Rotax kart engine distributors. Approved by and in compliance with CIK / FIA, the RMC is a "one-make-engine" formula: only Rotax kart engines that are checked and sealed (for equal performance) will be used. The success in the competition is mainly up to the skills of the driver.

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