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December 08, 2009 News
EKN Trackside: Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals - Day Two

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


Marco DiLeo (Photo: Patrick Moreau)
Marco DiLeo
(Photo: Patrick Moreau)

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.

Last night was the Tire Changing competition qualifier with American Wesley Boswell going P1 in the heats. The top five from last night’s pool of thirty-eight contenders will go for the gold (or cash) on Saturday night at the closing party. Most feel Boswell is the odds-on favorite to win the title. Several countries are planning an official protest claiming widespread use of performance enhancing drugs, advanced medical intervention and maybe even the direct consumption of beer (laughing).

The karts finally hit the track today after a full day of kart prep and assembly yesterday. The day started with the Junior groups doing track sweeping duty, albeit an hour late on the schedule. They were followed by the Seniors and then the DD2’s. There were no transponders on the karts for the two scheduled practice sessions of the day so the paddock was left to guess and wonder. Tomorrow the karts will get their transponders so we can see where things really stack up.

Members of the North American squad, Canadian Steven Szigeti, Americans Nick Neri and Alec Udell, and Canadian Garett Grist (Photo: Ken Johnson)
Members of the North American squad, Canadian Steven Szigeti, Americans Nick Neri and Alec Udell, and Canadian Garett Grist
(Photo: Ken Johnson)

Times, unofficially of course, began to tumble all day as the paddock buzzed about who was fast and what they ran. The mechanics had their stopwatches working overtime to keep up with the front runners from several countries. The fast time for Junior seems to be around 1:02.6 range set by American Nick Neri and Belgian driver Vincent Jewel. The Seniors are getting into the 1:01.1 range with lots of drivers getting close dipping below the 1:01 mark with the Japanese squad posting some fast laps. The DD2 drivers were able to dip below the one-minute mark with fast lap seeming to belong to the Netherland’s Maik Barten, who got down to a stellar 59.5.

The RMCGF do allow for a hot pit lane allowing the drivers to dive in, make changes and then head back out onto the track. Lots of drivers are taking advantage of the hot pit to fine tune their karts throughout the sessions. The closing sessions saw plenty of action as teams and drivers all looked for that extra bit of speed. The track action wrapped up just as the sun set and darkness came in over the circuit.

Tomorrow will see drivers contend two more rounds of non-qualifying practice with transponders on board giving us our first glimpse into the actual times being set. Those sessions will be followed by the official qualifying practice that will take place after lunch and with new sticker tires on the karts. All tires and fuel are kept in Parc Ferme for the entire event helping keep the action on the track fair.

Chris Glover (Photo: Patrick Moreau)
Chris Glover
(Photo: Patrick Moreau)

eKartingNews.ca will have forum updates in the Official Discussion Thread as each session ends to highlight the actual top-10 plus where each Team USA and Team Canada driver ends up. For complete coverage, including the United States and Canadian team previews, click over to the EKN.ca Event Page. To follow updates throughout the week, continue to watch the Official Discussion Thread on EKN.ca or the Discussion Thread on EKN.com. Also, watch the Driver Blog from DD2 driver Troy Castenada. For the live timing and almost live video provided by the RMCGF, click here http://live.kart-data.com/LT09/RGF/

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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