Queenslander Ryan Kennedy is the first representative of Team Australia confirmed for the Rotax Max Grand Final Challenge to be held in Brazil in late November after a dominant performance in Rotax DD2 in the Rotax Pro Tour in Ipswich today.
Kennedy wasn’t headed in any of the heats, the Pre-Final or this afternoon’s Final confirming his fifth Team Australia representative position.
14-year-old Jac Preston finished second – his best since moving into DD2 at the start of the season – after a troubled weekend turned around this morning, charging from the rear of field to earn a front row starting position for the Final; while Jordie Lindstrom made a welcome return to a Rotax Pro Tour podium with a hard fought third placing in his Formula K kart.
Kennedy is the benefactor of the unique system being applied to DD2 this year in Australia, which sees the two Australian seats split across the season, with a second driver to join the Queenslander after the sixth round of the Pro Tour in September.
One of the most pulsating races of Rotax Pro Tour 2018 was the Mini Max Final, which was not decided until the very last lap. Series leader Costa Toparis and local driver, Ethan Feather had been the class of the field all weekend and after yesterday’s heat three win from New South Welshman Toparis and this morning’s Pre-Final win from Feather, the stage was set for a classic final – and it was.
The duo were never more than 0.3 of a second apart throughout the 17 lap Final. Toparis was the challenger and left it to the second last lap to make his move getting past Feather. Feather then mustered every piece of experience he had at Ipswich to slip through the inside of the Goulburn-based second generation racer to take the lead at turn one on the final lap. It also got his Rotax Pro Tour season back on track.
Kiwi Sebastian Manson finished in third placing after a race-long battle similar to the one for the lead with Jordan Ensbey.
New Zealanders took a number of podiums throughout the day, however the most emphatic was possibly that of Ryan Wood in Junior Max. Praga-mounted Wood got to the front of the 30 kart field and staged a domination to win by 2.9 seconds, while behind there was all sorts of action taking place.
Jackson Rooney made the podium with a second placed finish behind his fellow Kiwi after his best performance since joining the Pro Tour this year. He was pressured the entire distance by Jaiden Pope, but however much Pope tried to get by Rooney, he was unable to. Series leader heading to Ipswich, Luke Pink had another consistent weekend finishing the Final in fourth place, while Paige Raddatz finished the Final in sixth after moving from 18th to 10th in the Pre-Final.
Round two Rotax Light winner, Josh Hart continued his winning ways on Australian soil in the Manawatu Toyota Praga taking his second consecutive round win.
After being at the back end of the top 10 yesterday, he fired himself through onto the front row after this morning’s Pre-Final.
The race early was between Top Gun Race Academy JC Kart-mounted 15-year-old Reece Cohen and Hart. Cohen made a small mistake while in the lead which dropped him to third opening the race lead up for Hart.
From there the Kiwi veteran pulled away leaving Cohen to fight out the minor placings with Harrison Hoey and Ben Jurczak – ultimately that fight falling the way of Cohen over Hoey.
World Champion Troy Woolston kept the world’s eyes on him in DD2 Masters with another brilliant performance today. He hunted the win in the Pre-Final, stealing it in the final moments from yesterday’s star of the show, Scott Howard.
In the Final, it didn’t take long for Woolston to get to the front after Howard got the best of the start.
In an almost carbon copy of last year, but with reversed positions, Z-Corse CompKart driver, Kris Walton charged from 14th on the grid after not finishing the Pre-Final to insert himself in the fight at the front.
He passed Howard mid-race and then focused on Woolston in front. The strategic duel saw the pair swapping quickest laps with the gap between them ebbing and flowing in the second half of the race. With Walton within 0.3 of a second at his closest, the World Champion motored on and pulled away in the dying stages to win by 0.8 of a second. Howard took a well deserved third and a swag of points in his quest to make the Australian team at the end of the year once again.
Chris Farkas made a successful return to Rotax Pro Tour competition by finishing Rotax Heavy undefeated. A heavy turn two shunt between Lane Moore and Sam van Leeuwestyn on the opening lap cost Moore any chance he had at mounting a challenge to Farkas. Farkas with an open race circuit pulled clear to an 11.046 second win in his Tony Kart with Christopher Board coming home second in his DR Kart and Mitchell Wall completing the podium. Moore continued after the early crash and scored points towards his Series with a sixth placing.
In Micro Max, Jake Rutkowski took his Shamick Racing kart to a solid three second victory. He wasn’t troubled in the Final this afternoon and added to his Series lead. Jaxson Burns got himself onto the podium in second, while Peter Bouzinelos secured third.
The Rotax Pro Tour is now at its halfway point with the next round to take place in Sydney at Eastern Creek International Karting Raceway over the weekend of June 22-24.
Rotax Pro Tour organisers were able to livestream the event once again thanks to the support of category sponsors, which included:
- Micro Max: Manson’s TCLM (Property Development NZ)
- Mini Max: Freem Karting Australia
- Junior Max: Shamick Racing
- Rotax 125 Light: AWD Group – Dieci Telehandlers
- Rotax 125 Heavy: AWD Group – LiuGong Constuction
- DD2: Howards Concreting
- DD2 Masters: Tom Williamson Motorsport