Qualifying – RMCGF

Harrison Hoey was the top placed Australian in qualifying at the Rotax MAX Challenge Grand Finals, but was disqualified from the session due to his tyres on backwards!

“The Highs & Lows of Motorsport” Hoey posted on social media after qualifying a brilliant second fastest in DD2. “Soon to be DSQ for mistakenly putting the tyres on going in the wrong direction. Getting absolutely no performance gain but go from 2nd to 72nd just like that.”

Harrison Hoey during practice in Bahrain (pic – Hoey/Facebook)

Another Aussie favourite, Max Walton, was also in trouble. Having been one of the pace setters in practice, Walton could only manage 53rd fastest in Junior MAX after a “small incident out of the gate for qualifying left me with my nose cone rubbing on the ground.”

Jack Webster was also up the back, relegated to the tail of Senior MAX for exceeding track limits. “Qualifying 14th in group to then getting a 3 lap deduction penalty putting me to last” he posted.

All three will now need clean, strong heats to make the finals.

Aussie Wrap after the first day of competition:

  • Max Walton (Junior MAX): Q: 53 (of 72), Group A. Heat 1: 16th (up 11 spots).
  • Scott Howard (DD2 Masters): Q: 23 (of 35). Heat 1: 11th (up 12 spots).
  • Harrison Hoey (DD2): Q: DQ (was P2 of 72), Group D. Heat 1: 29th (penalty)
  • Jack Webster (Senior MAX): Q: no time (of 72), Group D. Heat 1: 18th (up 19 spots and fastest lap!)
  • Corey Carson (Mini MAX): Q: 63 (of 72), Group C. Heat 1: 26th.

Full results are HERE. Scroll down for Rotax’s official Day 4 report and pics.

There was a lucky escape in the opening heat of Senior MAX with a huge crash on lap one. There were still damaged karts on the track when the field came by (over a blind crest) on lap two – with no yellow flags! Amazingly, everyone missed the melee before the red was thrown. This serious problem turned into a comedy act however, when the recovery vehicle and trailer got bogged in the soft sand. The drama kicks off shortly after the start at 4:56:20 in the stream video, below.

  • The daily live streams are on YouTube HERE. Thursday’s action starts at 7pm AEDT.
  • Live timing is HERE
  • Follow Team Australia via the team’s Facebook page HERE

Above: Qualifying and opening heat races

RMCGF 2023 – Daily Report #4

DAY 3 RACING (06/12/2023)

The Bahrain International Karting Circuit welcomed back the busy paddock with open arms, in what would be a very busy day for all the drivers to really kick start the action out on track another level, with not only high sun and hot temperatures to content with, but also the efforts towards the official Qualifying Practice sessions and the first set of Qualifying Heats.

The full-throttle racing action and close competition that is a hallmark of the RMC Grand Finals would also see again return to racing under the floodlights at this fantastic 1.414-km circuit, along with the dark Bahraini skies overhead. It is a sight that captivates and excites all at the same time.

It would also see all 384 drivers from 62 nations now move the racing speed up another level, with the grandstands echoing with the cheers and noise radiating from the grandstands around the circuit, providing an exciting atmosphere from morning to night.

Let’s now turn our attention to what happened out on track today:

E20 Senior:

With the sun high in the air and significant heat hitting the track in the morning with 23 degrees air temperature, the final NQP session of the 2023 RMC Grand Finals would get underway here in Bahrain. In an interrupted session, Germany’s Mats Johan Overhoff (#601) would again top the times heading into Qualifying Practice this afternoon, posting the best time of a 54.099. The UK’s Spencer Brougham (#602 – 54.167) would be a mere 0.068 seconds slower, whilst Philipp Loacker (#605 – CHE – 54.321) completed the top three. The Danish pair of Knud Nielsen (#606) and Marius Lyager Rose (#607) would round off the top five drivers, with the pair setting exactly the same time of a 54.257.

In Qualifying Practice, Brougham would narrowly secure Pole Position by just 0.008 seconds, where five nations out of the 62 nations represented here in Bahrain were in the top five. Denmark’s Nielsen would have to settle for second, ahead of Overhoff in what was a very close fight for pole, with the top three covered by only 0.020 seconds. Bahrain’s Lewis Smith (#611) would take fourth on a 53.560, as Switzerland’s Christopher Holst would complete the top five with a 53.609.

Brougham would also go on to win the first Qualifying Heat by a comfortable 1.901 seconds after eight laps of racing, getting a great start off from a standstill and would be able to easily pull away. Battles were thick and fast behind the leader, as Overhoff would eventually win the battle for a strong second place, finishing ahead of Holst, where the top three were covered by just over 2.5 seconds.

Bahrain’s Smith would finish fourth on the road, but would be demoted to 11th after a front fairing penalty, putting Loacker up to fourth and Poland’s Piotr Borowczyk (#608) to fifth, as Smith, Sebastian Bach (#603 – DEN) and Nielsen would be demoted through post-race front fairing penalties.

Morning Warm-Up for E20 Senior starts at 09:13 Arabian Standard Time.

E20 Masters:

Cyprus’ Igor Mukhim would be fastest in the final NQP session of the event, as the #709 would end up posting a 55.070, 0.264 seconds ahead of Switzerland’s Gilberto Loacker (#703 – 55.334), whilst Germany’s Andreas Matis (#707) would complete the top three with a 55.343. Joao Goncalves (#705 – BRA) found himself in fourth at the end of the session on a 55.586, 0.120 seconds in front of Chile’s Jose Luis Hurtado (#701 – 55.706), whilst Portugal’s Manuel Martins (#704) did not set a lap time in the session.

Brazil’s Goncalves would take Pole Position by a commanding 0.332 seconds, posting a 54.050, ahead of Mukhin, with Matis almost a further three tenths behind in third place. Portugal’s Manuel Martins, who did not record a lap time in the earlier NQP, would muster up a good lap to put himself fourth on a 55.046, whilst Loacker would round out the top five.

It was too close for comfort for Goncalves, who narrowly took the win from Matis by just 0.006 seconds, despite the gap having initially swelled to about one second. Mukhin would complete the top three after eight laps, who were covered by only 0.347 seconds. Loacker would move up to fourth at the finish, ahead of Martins.

Tomorrow’s Morning Warm-Up for E20 Senior and Masters starts at 09:13 Arabian Standard Time.

Micro MAX:

The UK’s Oliver Spencer (#9) would be fastest in NQP 6, putting down the best time of a 1:01.506, 0.278 seconds in front of the USA’s Lucas Palacio (#12 – 1:01.684), in a session where the top 15, rounded out by Belgium’s Jef Verbeke (#21 – 1:02.437) were covered by just under one seconds. Ecuador’s Julian Rivera (#14) was third with a personal best time of a 1:01.793, as the British pairing of Edward Haynes (#4 – 1:01.824) and Jenson Chalk (#30 – 1:01.922) would complete the top five.

In Qualifying, it would be a Team UK 1-2-3, as Edward Haynes would post the fastest time out of 36 drivers in the eight-minute session with a 1:01.271, 0.076 seconds ahead of Oliver Spencer (#9 – 1:01:347), with Jenson Chalk (#30 – 1:10.655) rounding out the top three. Poland’s Blazej Kostrzewa was able to be in with a chance for getting into the top three, but with a 1:01.661, but it put the #31 fourth, ahead of Lithuania’s Patrikas Jocius (#13 – 1:01.739) who completed the top five.

Haynes would go on to take a lights-to-flag victory in the first Qualifying Heat after 6 laps, winning by just 0.171 seconds ahead of Palacio, who initially made up eight places from tenth.
Palacio would later be declared as the winner, as Haynes was excluded post-session on an exhaust-related discrepancy.

Spencer would then end up second, ahead of Jocius and Chalk, whilst the UK’s Emerson Macandrew Uren completed the top five, who were within a second of each other. Several drivers would move up at least ten places over the course of proceedings, including Anais Orellana Ramos (#23 – CHI), Alexander Christov (#5 – CHE), Branslav Rentka (#15 – SVK) and Portugal’s Afonso Lopes (#16).

Tomorrow’s Morning Warm-Up starts at 09:26 Arabian Standard Time.


Mini MAX:

Ilie Trstan Crisan (#149 – CAN) was again showing good speed in NQP 6 Odds, putting down a marker of 58.254, in what was a very close affair for the top of the timesheets, with the Canadian, Lithuania’s Majus Mazinas (#151 – 58.300) and Malaysia’s Travis Teoh (#169 – 58.304) covered by exactly half a tenth of a second. The UK’s Cole Denholm (#135 – 58.417) was also in the mix for a top three result heading into Qualifying Practice, but he would be over a tenth of a second adrift. Belgium’s Alexander Van Meeuwen (#137 – 58.667) ended up fifth, but still has pace to find to challenge at the front of the field.

Jacob Ashcroft (#122 – GBR) would top the final NQP Evens practice session for Mini MAX , setting the best lap time of a 58.416, 0.090 seconds in front of the UAE’s Maxim Bobreshov (#170 – 58.506). Daniil Volnov (#158 – KGZ) on lap 10 in the session would end up going third fastest, posting a personal best lap time of 58.682. Rory Armstrong (#138 – GBR – 58.816) would closely get ahead of the Netherlands’ Senn Lindemann (#116 – NLD – 58.822) by just 0.004 seconds to take fourth at the end of the session.

In Qualifying Practice for Odds, Crisan was able to after just two laps put the #149 at the top of the time sheets with the Evens having to beat a lap time of 58.458 seconds, which was 0.228 faster than the UK’s Charlie Woolfitt (#119 – 58.686) in second, whilst Malaysia’s Travis Teoh placed third in the group, with the #169 getting as much as possible out of his IPK Praga with a 58.748. Denholm would then end up fourth on a 58.820, with Mazinas (58.840) rounding out the top five.

But it would be the UK’s Albert Friend (#130) that would storm to overall Pole Position with a 58.129 in Evens QP, with countryman Jacob Ashcroft (#122 – 58.313) just 0.184 seconds behind. Hungary’s Marko Fally (#168) took third place with a 58.369, whilst Lars Lambers (#168 – BEL – 58.444) and Uruguay’s Feliciano Bruschi (#160 – 58.541) completed the top five.

Qualifying Heat 1 A+B would see Maxim Bobreshov (#170 – UAE) move up six places from seventh after six laps of the 1.414-km circuit, finishing ahead of Teoh from Malaysia by 0.260 seconds. Estonia’s Nikita Ljubimov (#133) would also make some significant progress up the order from 12th to round out the top three. Canada’s Crisan would still be in the hunt for the win, but would have to have to settle for fourth place, ahead of overall pole sitter Friend, who would round out the top five.

Q Heat 2 C+D saw a British 1-2 at the finish, as Denholm and Armstrong got out in front, with the pair being separated by 0.912 seconds at the chequered flag, with Belgium’s Lars Lambers (#168) taking third place, a further 0.438 seconds behind Armstrong at the finish. Portugal’s Joao Pereira (#171) would make his way up to fourth from eighth at the start, finishing ahead of Woolfitt, who started on the outside of the front row.

Tomorrow’s Morning Warm-Up (Odds) starts at 09:37 Arabian Standard Time.

Junior MAX:

It was a French 1-2 in NQP 6 Odds, as the #235 of Thomas Pradier (54.436) and #249 of Clovis Nougueyrede (54.589) would lead the way, followed by South Africa’s Wian Boshoff (#203), who rounded out the top three with a best session effort of a 54.760. Belgium’s Mateja Radenkovic (#207 – 54.849) was able to make up for lost time yesterday by securing fourth, 0.007 seconds ahead of Denmark’s Mathias Kjellerup (#219 – 54.856), who rounded out the top five.

The final NQP for Evens saw Bahrain’s Luca Houghton go top of the times, as the #206 would show further track evolution by posting a 54.238, with Japan’s Arata Endo (#216 – 54.322) a mere 0.084 seconds behind. France’s Louis Comyn (#264) would complete the top three with a 54.335. Australia’s Max Walton (#242 – 54.381) and the Netherlands’ Kasper Schormans (#254 – 54.466) would complete the top five, in a session that saw all 36 drivers covered by just over 1.1 seconds.

In Odds Qualifying Practice, it was Lebanon’s Christopher El Feghali (#201) that went fastest in the session with a 54.304 second lap time, 0.027 seconds in front of the UK’s Kenzo Craigie (#229 – 54.331), whilst Nougueyrede and Ecuador’s Brett King (#265) set the exact same lap time of a 54.403, with the French driver getting the benefit of the doubt by doing it first. Portugal’s Martim Barros Meneses (#261) was able to make it count and put his kart into fifth with a 54.405.

But France would have a reason to celebrate at this stage of the competition, as the #264 of Louis Comyn would storm to overall Pole Position in QP Evens with a 54.199 second lap time, 0.208 seconds ahead of Japan’s Lu You-De (#204 – 54.407). Switzerland’s Tino Sidler (#214 – 54.437) would narrowly miss out on being second by just 0.030 seconds, and was also 0.002 seconds in front of Schormans. Canada’s Lucas Deslongchamps (#254) was able to make it into the top five in the session posting a 54.465, edging out the UK’s Thomas Bearman (#238) by only 0.032 seconds.

Qualifying Heat 1 A+B would see El Feghali would set his sights on the road to a another RMCGF title by taking his first win ahead of Belgium’s Beau Lowette (#237), who rocketed up the order from tenth to finish strongly in his first RMCGF appearance. Pole sitter Comyn would be in the mix for the win, btu would have to settle for third, 0.555 seconds behind the race winner.

Sidler would also be up at the front of the field, taking initially fourth at the finish ahead of Bearman, but the Swiss driver would drop to 11th following a front bumper penalty. This promoted the British racer to fourth ahead of the Netherlands’ Mika Van De Pavert, with the #240 having started 11th. Three drivers made big progress after a difficult Qualifying, as Arata Endo (#216 – JPN) climbed to 13th from 25th, Ivan Pigaev (#243 – KGZ) from 30th to 12th and Schormans from 33rd to 16th.

Houghton would storm his way from 13th on the grid for Q Heat 1 C+D to take the win after a great performance over 8 laps of racing. He would still have to battle for the win against Japan’s You-De, with the pair being split by just 0.129 seconds, whilst Craigie would be able to pull away from the rest of the field to clearly secure third. The USA’s Nixx Eggleston would hold on to fourth place, with the #224 finishing 0.308 seconds in front of France’s Tom Dussol.

Tomorrow’s Morning Warm-Up (Odds) starts at 09:59 Arabian Standard Time.

Senior MAX:

Greece’s George Kafantaris (#363) would go quickest in the final Odds NQP session with a 53.449 second lap time, 0.037 seconds ahead of Belgium’s Kaï Rillaerts (#357 – 53.486), where 34 drivers were covered by just over a second. Italy’s Elia Pappacena (#345) would post the third fastest time of a 53.492 around the 1.414-km circuit here in Bahrain, beating the UK’s Sean Butcher (#303 – 53.497) by just 0.005 seconds. The Netherlands’ Matthijs Terlouw (#341 – 53.579) would complete the top five, 0.130 seconds off the pace set by Kafantaris.

Ethan Jeff-Hall from the UK (#308) showcased his strong pace in the last Evens NQP session, putting down a marker of 53.500, 0.269 seconds ahead of South Africa’s Erich Heystek (#316 – 53.769), whilst Spain’s Alberto Hurtado Gonzales (#322 – 53.776) completed the top three. Belgium’s Tijs Daems (#336 – 53.810) would secure fourth place on the timesheets, just 0.027 seconds ahead of Norway’s Theo Eriksen (#366 – 53.837) who would complete the top five.

Sean Butcher (#303) would be not only fastest in Qualifying Practice Odds, but with a time of 53.130, it put the British driver as the fastest of 72 Senior MAX drivers here in Bahrain. He would also end up 0.160 seconds faster than Oliver Hodgson (#307 – GBR – 53.290), whilst Japan’s Kenta Kumagai (#323) placed third in the session on a 53.315. The UAE’s Theo Kekati (#367 – 53.315) would be a mere 0.008 seconds adrift of third place, with a 53.323, just in front of Sweden’s Simon Ohlin (#325 – 53.328)

The UK’s Kai Hunter would not be able to better Butcher’s time in QP Evens, but with a 53.203, the #334 would edge out countryman Macauley Bishop (#326 – 53.250) by a mere 0.047 seconds. Austria’s Daniel Hauswirth (#352) would be in the running for the top of the timesheets, but with a best effort of 53.391 seconds, it would put him third, 0.010 seconds in front of Ethan Jeff-Hall (#308 – 53.401), while Germany’s Austin Lee (#356 – 53.416) completed the top five, who were covered by just 0.213 seconds.

Butcher would end up winning a very dramatic Qualifying Heat 1 A+B, which saw a red flag stoppage after two laps following on from a big multi-kart incident at turn three on the opening lap that eliminated seven drivers on the spot. But the Briton would lead a Team UK 1-2-3 across the finish, as he was followed by Mark Kimber (#328) and Kai Hunter after a single-file restart got the racing back underway. Kumagai from Japan would end up fourth, ahead of Ohlin from Sweden, in what would be a very closely fought fight at the front with the top six being rounded out by Hauswirth, with all being covered by under nine tenths of a second.

It was another 1-2-3 for Team UK in Qualifying Heat 1 C+D, as Bishop would end up taking his first win by 0.922 seconds ahead Jeff-Hall with Hodgson rounding out the top three. It was a measured approach by all three drivers to make sure that they would score good results early in the competition. France’s Adam Rahali (#359) would make great moves forward from the middle of the field at the start to find himself in fourth at the end, 0.143 seconds behind Hodgson, whilst Matthew Higgins (#359 – GBR) made it another British driver into the top five.

Tomorrow’s Morning Warm-Up (Odds) starts at 10:21 Arabian Standard Time.


NQP 6 Odds would see the Netherlands’ Martijn Van Leeuwen (#467) at the top of the timesheets posting a 52.807, just 0.012 seconds in front of Greece’s Christos Oikonomou (#463 – 52.819), as Jakub Bezel (#453 – CZE – 52.882) would round out the top three. Austria’s Philipp Moitzi (#401) would only be able to post the fourth fastest time in the session with a 52.932 second lap time, whilst Victor Frost Bay from Denmark (#413) ended up completing the top five with a 52.984.

Hungary’s Bende Szabo (#416) would head up the times in NQP 6 Evens with a 52.664, 0.068 seconds ahead of Italy’s Leonardo Baccaglini (#420 – 52.732). Daniel Muallem (#404 – ANC) would be only a further 0.012 seconds behind in third, with another Italian in the form of the #414 of Michael Rosina (52.805), who was 0.141 seconds off the top time in the session. Lucas Pernod from Canada (#456) would secure his best practice result of the 2023 RMC Grand Finals in fifth, setting a lap time of 52.840.

Estonia’s Ragnar Veerus would set the pace in Odds Qualifying Practice, as the #441 would put down the best time of a 52.492 around the 1.414-km circuit, 0.057 seconds ahead of the Czech Republic’s Jakub Bezel (#453 – 52.459). Sweden’s Rasmus Fridell (#417 – 52.554) was only 0.005 seconds off, taking third place, ahead of Motizi (52.606) and South Africa’s Sebastian Boyd (#469 – 52.360) who completed the top five.

But Italy’s Leonardo Baccaglini (#420 – 52.346) would be the overall fastest MAX DD2 driver after QP Evens, who along with Australia’s Harrison Hoey (#448 – 52.372), would be the only two drivers to go faster than Veerus in Odds. Daniel Muallem (#404 – ANC) would be third on a 52.469, 0.054 seconds ahead of Finland’s Axel Saarniala (#432 – 52.523), whilst Antoine Barbaroux (#434 – FRA) would complete the top five with a best effort of a 52.524.

Baccaglini would end up relatively unchallenged in Qualifying Heat 1 A+B, comfortably taking the win after 10 laps with a 3.948 margin of victory ahead of Veerus, who also was able to start his campaign very strongly with a solid second place across the finish line. A duo of Danes would round out the top four, thanks to the efforts of both Frost Bay and Rasmus Vendelbo (#460), with the pair getting past Saarniala, who rounded out the top five.

Qualifying Heat 1 C+D would also see another driver take a comfortable win in the form of Austria’s Motizi, who ended up finishing 2.020 seconds ahead of Bezel in second, whilst Barbaroux completed the top three, 1.384 seconds adrift from the Czech driver. Both Van Leeuwen and Race Liberante (#451) would initially complete the top five, but the American would be demoted post-race to 15th after a front bumper penalty, promoting Rosina to fifth.

Tomorrow’s Morning Warm-Up (Odds) starts at 10:54 Arabian Standard Time.

DD2 MAX Masters:

Ben Cooper (#526 – CAN) would again surge to the top of the timesheets in NQP 6, posting a 53.133, despite the best efforts of Argentina’s Matias Rodriguez (#527 – 53.205), who was only 0.072 seconds behind. Rubens Barrichello (#516 – BRA) was third in the build-up to qualifying, setting a 53.249 second lap time, whilst Italy’s Frederico Rossi (#503 – 53.458) and Switzerland’s Jan Adriano (#506 – 53.467) would complete the top five.

New Zealand’s Matthew Kinsman in the #521 would take Pole Position by exactly one tenth of a second ahead of Germany’s Denis Thum (#508 – 53.015) in what was a very fast and frantic Qualifying Practice, with many drivers in the running for the top spot over the course of the eight-minute session. Frederico Rossi (#503 – 53.067) would take fourth in the session, and despite Chile’s Rodrigo Eckholt (#523) setting the same lap time, the Italian would be first to do so.

In Qualifying Heat 1, It would be Thum that would later on in the race make his way past pole sitter Kinsman to take the win after 10 laps, closely followed by Eckholt, who had moved up from fifth on the rolling start to take third at the finish, with the top three covered by just 0.675 seconds. Dmitrii Kofanov (#529 – KGZ) would also make progress from the outside of row four to take fourth ahead of Cooper, whose pace was captivating and catapulted him from 20th to round out the top five ahead of Barrichello by nearly half a second.

Overall Fastest Lap Times:

E20 Senior: 53.485 | Spencer Brougham | 602 | GBR
E20 Masters: 54.050 | Joao Goncalves | 705 | BRA
Micro MAX: 1:01.271 | Edward Haynes | 4 | GBR
Mini MAX: 58.129 | Albert Friend | 130 | GBR
Junior MAX: 54.199 | Louis Comyn | 264 | FRA
Senior MAX: 53.130 | Sean Butcher | 303 | GBR
MAX DD2: 52.346 | Leonardo Baccaglini | 420 | ITA
DD2 MAX Masters: 52.915 | Mathew Kinsman | 521 | NZL


Tomorrow’s Morning Warm-Up (Odds) starts at 10:43 Arabian Standard Time and we start the live streaming at 11:00 AST.