The sun has set on the fourth day at the Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals here at the Circuito Internazionale Napoli. A day of mixed results for the Australia Team. So far, our youngest racers are leading the charge in Jaxson Burns, Costa Toparis and Hugh Barter. Today drivers in Micro and Mini Max only contested heat 2 while the remaining classes ran both heats 2 and 3. Tomorrow will be the Pre-Finals and its looking like rain is on the forecast. Kennedy is praying the rain comes while others are hoping it stays dry for the remaining two days.
Jaxson Burns will start the Pre-Final from seventh position, ‘Its good that I am starting from seven because its on the inside line and a lot of passing can happen in the first lap’ – says Burns. Despite having low numbers in Micro Max back in Australia Burns has shown that the competition is at a high enough level to mix it with the Worlds best. Consistently being inside the Top 10 out of a 36 kart field is an incredible effort in his first International race.
In Mini Max, Costa Toparis is still at the pointy end of the field, he will start tomorrows pre final out of position 5 and is hoping to race it forward from there. Costa has experience racing on the World stage and is certainly one of Australia’s best chances at claiming another World Title. Kristian Janev who has been forced to start from last in each heat past an astonishing 16 karts in his heat today and will start the pre-final from 21st. Janev has shown his ability to pass karts and will have his head down for the last two races.
Hugh Barter remains the fastest of the Junior Max drivers and will start third from Pre-Final A. Barter took a knock in his last heat crossing the line 12th in the final junior race of the day but earlier results have seen him put himself in good stead come tomorrows pre finals A. Beau Pronesti has exceeded his own expectations in his first World Finals appearance where he finished todays heats in P3 and P17 respectively. Luke Pink who is no stranger to the Praga Kart has struggled for pace this week, after qualifying in P39 the Queenslander progressed eight spots in heat 2 before unfortunately suffering a DNF in heat 3. Barter will start Pre-Final A out of position 3, Pronesti from position 6 and Pink will start Pre-Final B out of position 23.
Sydney’s own Brodie Whitmore has impressed on his debut World Finals appearance, Whitmore finished his heats in position 15 and 14. With experienced mechanic and IKD employee Dave Whitmore spinning spanners Brodie has his eyes set firmly on tomorrows pre final where he will start out of position 9 in the B pre-final. Also competing in the premier Senior Max category is ex World Champion Cody Gillis, in heat 2 this morning Cody was involved in an on track incident which forced him back to last but was able to race his way back to 30th and in heat 3 finished 7th. Gillis will start tomorrows B final from position 13.
Our DD2 Masters drivers have again demonstrated Australias ability to mix it with the best in the world with some great results coming out of todays heat races. Current Australian #1 Troy Bretherton posted results of 4th and 2nd in his two heats today. This has him starting P5 in tomorrow afternoons Pre Final B. Kris Walton finished heat 2 in position 9 and 16th in heat 3. Walton is taking the good with the bad and taking in the event for all it has to offer along with first time World Final mechanic Harrison Hoey is loving the entire experience. Walton will start Pre Final A from 9th. Team Captain Scott Howard found pace late today, he finished his heats in 15th and 5th respectively. Heat 3 Howard impressively passed 9 karts to make his was to the pointy end of the field. Howard will start Pre-Final B from 10th position.
Experienced World Final goer Ryan Kennedy is praying for rain as we approach the later stages of the week, the current Australian DD2 Champion has struggled to find pace this week. In todays heats Kennedy finished heat 2 in 22nd and heat 3 in 12th where the Queenslander found some much needed pace. Kennedy will now start pre-final B from 16th. Marcusson topped practice this morning but was only able to manage 24th in heat 2. In Heat 3 after an incredible start Marcusson had gone from 10th to 2nd by the third corner but fell down the order where he came home in 10th position. The debutant will start the B pre-final from 14th.
The top 18 from each Pre-Final will decide the grid for the Final where our drivers will be vying to become 2019 Rotax World Champions.
Australia as a team have slipped in the Nations Cup standings but with still two days to go can work our way towards a podium finish. We will keep you updated on tomorrows proceedings through our Rotax Pro Tour Facebook page.