RMCGF 2015 kicks off with Qualifying
The first timed sessions of the 2015 Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals started in perfect weather on the Portimao track. Roope Ropanen (Junior), Berkay Besler (Senior), Ferenc Kancsar (DD2) and Derek Wang (DD2 Masters) have taken the pole positions for the heats starting tomorrow.
Three Americans settled in to the lead early in the session, Mathias Ramirez-Barrero, Michael Michoff and Anthony Gangi. Then the Brazilian Caio Collet was fighting for pole with the Lithuanian Rokas Baciuska, but Axel Charpentier took control ahead of the Japanese driver Hibiki Taira and the Spaniard Oscar Palomo on the third lap. But the Swiss driver Julien Apotheloz finished as the leader with a lap of 62.369s – 0.03s ahead of Dean MacDonald, with Charpentier 3rd, Taira 4th and Collet 5th.
Jack McCarthy took the lead in the second session ahead of his Austrian teammate Nicolas Schoell before the Frenchman Florian Venturi went ahead of the Finn Roope Ropanen and the New Zealander Dylan Drysdale. Venturi was improving, but Scott Symons was the first to go under 62s. Ropanen took control with 61.912s and had more to come. Symons was 2nd, Venturi 3rd, Harrison Thomas 4th and McCarthy 5th.
The second session was found to be significantly faster than the first, giving Ropanen pole and containing the top nine. Apotheloz was 10th, MacDonald 13th, Charpentier 17th and Collet 21st.
The Italian Alex got the better of the Estonian Sten Piirimaegi midway through the first timed series in 125 Max at Portimao, while the Omani driver Abdullah Al Rawahi moved up to 3rd. The times were changing but Alex retained his reference time, 60.362s. The Japanese Hirotaka Sasaki was now 4th and Giuliano Cucciolillo of Switzerland 5th. The French driver Emmanuel Reviriault set the 13th fastest time by 0.284s.
Edward Brand (GBR), Pierce Lehane (AUS) and Kyle Kirkwood (USA) posted the first significant lap times in the second session with lower than 61s. But the Turkish driver Berkay Besler set a time of 60.302s, 0,122s faster than Lehane and Brand. Brad Jenner (AUS) took 4th place ahead of Maxim Shtotland (RUS).
Both sessions proved fairly balanced, Besler took pole position ahead of Alex, with Lehane 3rd, Piirimaegi 4th and Al Rawahi 5th.
In the first timed session for DD2, Jan Wuenschek (AUS) was 1st ahead of Karol Jurmanowicz (POL) then Andreas Backman (SWE) took the lead with 59.155s against Natalia Balbo (ITA) and Jacob French (USA) who beat Antonio Aguado (ESP). Backman improved to 59.059s, while the Spaniard Oriol Dalmau Caballero took 2nd position ahead of Sanad Al Rawahi (OMA). Long in the top 10, Rubens Barrichello finished in 12th place.
Session 2 was slightly faster with the fastest lap from Ferenc Kanscar (HUN), 58.929s ahead of Luke Varley (ARE) and Bradley Liebenberg (ZAF). Luka Kamali (DEU) was 4th, Max Hofer (AUS) 8th, and Christian Sorensen (DNK) 12th.
Overall, Kanscar took pole ahead of Varley, Backman found himself 5th, Al Rawahi 10th, Daniel Bray (NZL) 18th and Barrichello 25th.
Antti Ollikainen (FIN) fought for the fastest time in the first timed session in DD2 Masters with Derek Wang (USA) and Luis Schiavo (USA). The Japanese Tomokazu Kawase then took 2nd position behind Wang. The positions were frozen quickly enough and nothing significant happened at the end. Wang remained the fastest with 59.257s, 0.114s from Kawase and Ollikainen. The Frenchman Charly Hipp was 12th by 0.411s.
The Spaniard Jesus Perez-Santander was the first to go under the minute in the second session, Fernando Guzzi (BRA) then took the advantage before Michael Stephen (ZAF) surpassed him. The times after the 3rd and 4th laps didn’t improve subsequently and Stephen retained his 1st position with 59.313s, 0.096s ahead of Guzzi, with Robert Schlueenssen (DEU) finishing 3rd.
The pole position went to Wang, then Stephen ahead of Kawase, with Ollikainen 4th and Guzzi 5th.