|Event Page: Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals
Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals
December 7-12, 2009
Sharm El-sheikh, Egypt
For the Official Discussion thread, click HERE
| EKN Correspondent Jeff Grist with Rotax Press Officers Alexandra on the left and Bettina on the right|
(Photo: Mattias, my new best friend from Estonia)
DAY SEVEN: SUNDAY, DECEMBER 13, 2009
The Journey Home
I'm here in the lobby of our hotel getting ready for my flight back and finishing off my final report from Egypt. The 2009 Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals are now behind us and before we look ahead to the future and where we might race in 2010, it is important to reflect on what we learned. I learned on my honeymoon 18 years ago that you don’t go to England for the food. I’ve now added Egypt to my list.
| Arscott, Neri and Hodgson except the second place trophy for the Nation's Cup|
(Photo: Patrick Stevenson)
DAY SIX: SATURDAY, DECEMBER 12, 2009
The pageantry of the Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals completed on the sixth day of competition at the Ghibli Raceway in Egypt. The day that champions are crowned, egos are bruised and trophies are raised in victory. The day would start with the prefinals followed up by the amazing driver’s parade. All 216 competitors line up along the front straight in alphabetical order of their country. Series announcer Ken Walker worked the PA system challenging the crowd to wave flags, blow horns and ring bells. The event really went up a notch and feels like an Olympic down hill race. A very cool experience not lost on any of the drivers here in attendance. Once the presentation of the drivers was complete, the finals got underway to decide three World Champions of Rotax. For the North American contingent, there were 13 drivers to watch; three in Junior, four in Senior and six in DD2. To cap of the event, Team USA shined as DD2 Grand National champion Cody Hodgson became the second straight American to stand on the podium with a third place finish, helping the squad earn the second spot in the Nation;s Cup standings - the highest placement ever for the red, white, and blue.
BREAKING NEWS - American Cody Hodgson Podiums for Team USA
| Team Canada's DD2 pilots talk strategy prior to the days action|
(Photo: Alec Cush)
DAY FIVE: FRIDAY, DECEMBER 11, 2009
Today the three classes will run their third and final heat race to set the grid for the prefinal. The top 28 drivers would transfer straight to the Saturday prefinal and a shot at a Grand Finals title. The next 34 go to the second chance race with the remaining ten done for the week. The top six from the Second Chance race will transfer to the back of the prefinal grid. All karts get new tires for the prefinal race so the racing action will be extremely close. Tire wear has not been a major factor talking to the drivers. The stewards worked hard yesterday to clamp down on rough driving. There are four camera stations around the track sending a feed to race control so they can evaluate any incidents. This morning karts showing excessive tires marks on the nose cone or side pods were asked to remove the marks or add on new decals. Stewards are photographing karts at the scales that show big rubber marks as evidence of contact. These are handed to stewards for evaluation and possible fine or penalty.
| The first heat win in US racing history at the Rotax Max Grand Finals goes to Joey Wimsett|
(Photo: SSC Racing)
DAY FOUR: THURSDAY, DECEMBER 10, 2009
The day started like most this week with sunny skies pounding some intense heat as the rays bounced off the sand that is everywhere. Any hint of grass pops out like a ribbon of green and the sprinklers seem to throw out water in vain. Each day starts with an official drivers briefing where each driver signs in and names are called for missing drivers. Fines are assessed to any name without a signature. A total of 12 heat races were run today, and both the American and Canadian squads hope to live up to expectations. The racing action was amazing right from the start. Corner one, as expected, determined the outcome of a lot of drivers both good and bad. As the racing went on, drivers tried to get in deeper and deeper on the entrance to grab some spots from way back. The results were mixed with a crash in almost every session.
BREAKING NEWS - American Joey Wimsett Wins Heat Race
| Canadian Darren White scored a solid tenth place in combined Qualifying times for DD2|
DAY THREE: WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 9, 2009
Karts took to the track for the first timed sessions of the week at Day Three of the 10th annual Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals at the Ghibli Raceway in Egypt. The North American contingent of Team USA and Team Canada faired well with the Americans putting a driver in the top-15 in each of the three classes. The Canadians, always strong at the Grand Finals, are right there as well.
The Juniors were up first, but this time the even numbered karts went out first to give the odd number karts a chance at some clean track for their session. The morning sun is very strong and the heat comes in quickly in this peninsula region. The afternoon cools off quickly, and the track temp falls as the day moves rapidly into dusk. Today was the first time we saw clouds in the sky since we arrived at the track. Rotax, CRG and Maranello are all on site keeping check on the karts and engines as drivers enter the Parc Ferme area.
| Members of the North American squad, Canadian Steven Szigeti, Americans Nick Neri and Alec Udell, and Canadian Garett Grist|
(Photo: Ken Johnson)
DAY TWO: TUESDAY, DECEMBER 8, 2009
Welcome to the Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals day two of official action. The North American teams faired well today with all drivers making a solid run in all the practice sessions. In fact, all the drivers seemed to behave well today as they got familiar with their karts and the track. The sand on the Ghibli Raceway track in Sharm el Sheik, Egypt creates a very abrasive yet slippery surface. Tire degradation is a big factor with rubber getting pulled out of the tires with loads of graining. Expect tires to take a beating all week in these tough track conditions. The one who can save rubber may be fast when it counts.
| In the background, karts are lined up for the draw and number assignment|
(Photo: BRP-Powertrain - soa-design.com)
DAY ONE: MONDAY, DECEMBER 7, 2009
The Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals activities have begun. Officially there are 216 drivers from 60 countries on hand to participate in the tenth running of the Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals. Teams from throughout the four corners of the world dawned their country's colours to participate in the Olympics of Karting.
The Rotax Max Challenge will host the 10th running of the Grand Finals this week at the Ghibli Raceway in Sharm el Sheik, Egypt. Two-hundred sixteen drivers from around the world will compete in the ‘Olympics of karting’ in three categories to decide a total of five champions, including the Nations Cup title awarded to the top country. The United States will send 12 drivers, as will Canada - the winner of the 2007 Nations Cup trophy, all looking to score the gold in Egypt.
TEAM CANADA DRIVER PROFILES
| Darren White will head back to the RMCGF as the FWT DD2 champion|
(Photo: Cody Schindel - Autosports Media)
| Phillip Arscott will lead the way for the US Senior squad|
(Photo: On Track Promotions - otp.ca)
TEAM AMERICA PREVIEWS
A total of 12 drivers from the United States will make the America’s Team at this year’s edition of the Rotax Grand Finals in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt on December 7-12. Labeled the ‘Olympics of Karting’ the 10th edition of the event will make a second return to Egypt, having hosted the event in 2003.
12.01.09 - Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals: Final Preparations
08.13.09 - Team News: Team Canada Completed
08.04.09 - Three News Members Added to RMC Team Canada
05.15.09 - 2009 Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals Chassis Manufacturers Selected
03.30.09 - Scott Campbell Wins Gatorz Rotax DD2 Championship Title
03.26.09 - Scott Campbell Poised to Return to Egypt in 2009
03.19.09 - Egypt Set to Host 2009 Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals