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December 07, 2009 News
EKN Trackside: Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals - Day One
 


eKartingNews.ca's coverage of the 2009 Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals is presented by
Championship Karting International and the 2010 WSK North American Series Florida Cup



 


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 kart draw was completed on the first official day of activities with the draw and driver number assignment done by alphabetical order. Each kart is marked at the chassis, engine and carburetor to make sure the same package is raced all week. Drivers, beginning with Juniors, were called up by Rotax Officials to pull a numbered ball from bin to select their kart. It is an amazing site to see 216 brand new karts lined up down the front straight. The Juniors were followed by the Senior class and then the DD2 class. Grand Finals commentator Ken Walker was on hand to introduce the drivers and their respective countries.

Drivers headed to their team's designated kart paddock area all set with name, country and flag. The paddock area has a real desert tent feel to it. Team Canada is lined up right across from Team USA. The drivers and mechanics focused on getting their karts set up and ready for scrutineering. Seat mounting was the main focus along with tire mounting and final driver prep. Mechanics from Maranello and CRG were on hand throughout the paddock to help drivers with set up questions and to ensure the karts stayed in specification.
 

In the background, karts are lined up for the draw and number assignment (Photo: BRP-Powertrain - soa-design.com)
In the background, karts are lined up for the draw and number assignment
(Photo: BRP-Powertrain - soa-design.com)

The Ghibli track is an amazing complex. Cut into the side of a sand rock formation, the track is long and fast with a tight technical inner section. The fast right hand corner one is followed by a long straight with a slight uphill climb. Corner two, another right turn, is a quick, tricky turn as it rounds off at the exit and leads onto another long straight as drivers continue their climb skyward. Turn three is 180-degrees with a slight banking that tops the three-story peak. As drivers exit, they begin their decent down toward corner four, another tricky turn this time a left-hander. A short straight continues the decent back down as drivers head into a very tight one 180 turn four. Drivers then work through a quick right/left combination that takes drivers to a short shoot and into turn eight. The 180-degree turn eight leads to another quick left/right combo and then a short straight into the final corner leading onto the long front straight.

Drivers will head back to the track to night for the Welcome Party. This is a must-attend annual event where drivers get a chance to mix and mingle before the racing begins. Part of the festivities will be the opening heat races for the MOJO Tire Changing competition that will be hosted by Bill Wright of the Florida Winter Tour.
 

The Ghibli Raceway located in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt (Photo: BRP-Powertrain - soa-design.com)
The Ghibli Raceway located in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt
(Photo: BRP-Powertrain - soa-design.com)

Tomorrow the karts hit the track for their first two rounds of practice.

Along with the live timing, the Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals for the first time will be providing almost live video so you can experience the track action firsthand. The live timing, video, entry list, etc can all be found on their Event Page.

eKartingNews.ca will be providing the EKN Trackside Live coverage throughout the week. Jeff Grist will be on hand covering the action of the North American contingent, providing forum updates, daily reports and photos from Monday to Saturday. For complete coverage, including the United States and Canadian team previews, visit the EKN.ca Event Page. To follow updates throughout the week, watch the Official Discussion Thread on EKN.ca or the Discussion Thread on EKN.com. Also, watch the Driver Blog from American DD2 driver Troy Castenada.



For more information on Championship Karting International and the 2010 WSK North American Series Florida Cup go to http://www.championshipkartracing.com for all the schedules and details.
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