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International > Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals

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The front row of the grid for the Senior Max (Sodi) Final featured Jordan Brown-Nutley (GBR) and Felix Warge (BEL) ahead of Brett Ward (GBR) and Lauri Leppa (FIN). Jean Nomblot (FRA) was 7th and Arnaud Sarrazin (FRA) 34th. Behind Brown-Nutley, Warge and Ward, Rhys Hunter (GBR) was in 4th position on lap 1, soon followed by Koki Mizuno (JPN). Warge went on the attack on lap 3, but Ward dethroned him for a short while. Nomblot was 4th in the second group and quickly joined the leaders while Brown-Nutley and Warge competed for 1st place. Eight drivers, then ten, remained grouped in front.

 

At the halfway point, Wargé led in front of Ward and Brown-Nutley, then Leppa and Nomblot. The Frenchman then raised his game and got back behind Warge and Ward. Nomblot passed Wargé on lap 13 to form a trio in search of victory, slightly detached from the pack. Busy controlling Warge, Nomblot was not able to prepare an attack on Ward. The Belgian passed on the outside the Frenchman to take 2nd place. Ward won the race, Wargé finished 2nd and Nomblot 3rd ahead of Brown-Nutley and Bezel. Sarrazin managed to gain 14 places to finish 20th.


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The Junior Max (Praga) Final of the 2017 Portimao Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals enjoyed the Algarve's mild weather, continuing since the beginning of the week. Tommy Foster (GBR) shared the lead with Tijmen Van Der Helm (NLD), followed by Senna Van Walstijn (NLD) and Jac Preston (AUS). Camille Prouteau (FRA) was in 5th place, Sami Meguetounif (FRA) in 8th, Victor Bernier (FRA) in 14th and Hugo Vair (FRA) in 15th. Foster led on the first lap ahead of Van Walstijn, Prouteau was 3rd followed by Van Der Helm and Jak Crawford (USA). Bernier had dropped to 28th. Prouteau was then 5th when Van Der Helm took the lead with Van Walstijn in his wake. Jaiden Pope (AUS) was now in 4th position and Preston was 5th. Farther away, Vair was 15th and Bernier was back in 23rd.

 

Meguetounif was 6th for a moment before dropping to 8th place, but Prouteau lost more ground (13th). Vair was demoted to 32nd position. Tyler Gonzalez (USA) continued his climb. In 4th place, Preston crashed and went down to 20th. Van Walstijn was ahead of Van Der Helm and Pope, the trio fighting for victory. The intensity of the fight allowed Pope to take the lead two laps from the finish, while the chasing group joined them, headed by Moriyama. Van Der Helm prevailed by 8 tenths, and Moriyama recovered 2nd place against Van Walstijn in a final skirmish. Van Walstijn was then penalised to 15th, Meguetounif got 3rd, Prouteau returned to 7th, Bernier was 12th and Vair 30th, again worried about wiring problems.

 

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There was maximum tension on the starting grid of the Mini Max (Birel ART) Final of the 2017 Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals at Portimao. Marcus Amand (FRA) and Jamie Day (UAE) were on the front row ahead of Leyton Daniel Fourie (ZAF) and Robert De Haan (NLD). Craig Tanic (FRA) had a big challenge starting from 24th. After a second practice lap, the lights went out. Amand kept his 1st place against Fourie, Bence Valint (HUN) and Theo Kekati (UAE) while a collision disrupted the back of the pack at the bottom of the circuit. Day was back in 4th position while Amand widened the gap with Fourie, 0.86'' halfway through.

 

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In the fight trio for 2nd place, Kekati took the position and tried to reduce the distance to Amand by making common cause with Day. Kekati was trying to intimidate at the end on the 10th of the 12 laps, but Amand was unruffled. Day was 2nd, while James Wharton (AUS) joined the group in 3rd position. Amand remained focused until the finish and clinched a beautiful 4-tenth win over Day and Wharton. Kekati finished 4th and De Haan took possession of 5th position ahead of Fourie. Delayed on the first lap, Tanic was 32nd.

 

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Portimao, 12:20, it was time for the first Final, the Micro Max (Praga), at Portimao for the 2017 Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals. Adrian Malheiro (PRT) showed consistent form at the front of the category, but his neighbour on the front row of the grid, Keanu Al Azhari (UAE) also showed great speed. Ryota Horachi (JPN) and Leon Zelenko (CRO) were on the second row. We also followed the progress of Théophile Nael (FRA) in 7th and Louis Iglesias (FRA) in 12th, in the beautiful weather of the Algarve. 10 laps were on the programme. The outside line was faster to start and Al Azhari took the lead over Malheiro on the first lap. Iglesias had a great start and passed for 4th while Nael did not leave the grid. Malheiro then dropped to 18th and Iglesias took 2nd place ahead of Zelenko, Masymilian Obst (POL) and Antonella Bassani (ITA). Al Azhari had taken a lead of almost a second on Iglesias who was doing everything he could to get closer to the leader, despite the constant pressure from Zelenko, Obst and Horachi behind him. The Frenchman attacked and took the lead on the 6th lap, with Zelenko in his wheeltracks. Al Azhari then returned to 2nd place before overtaking Iglesias, while Zelenko was distanced. Despite a last wheel to wheel fight, Al Azhari did not give in and won, 76 thousandths ahead of Iglesias. But it was Louis Iglesias who was celebrated as the winner and Al Azhari appeared in 14th position, apparently because of an illegal start. Zelenko finished 2nd, Horachi 3st and Obst 4th.

 

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