The Prokart Raceland in Wackersdorf (Germany) was the venue for the big season finale of the 2021 Rotax MAX Challenge Euro Trophy from September 3rd to 5th, 2021. After stops at Genk (BEL), Adria (ITA) and Mülsen (GER), the European RMC elite fought for the last championship points of the year in the region of Bavaria. More than 100 drivers in the categories of Junior MAX, Senior, MAX, Rotax DD2, DD2 Masters as well as the Rotax Project E20 Tour, which was part of the supporting program, attended the event. Racing conditions could not have been better as weather it made for a sunny and hot weekend.
With regard to the championship, the first decisions had already been brought about in the penultimate race in the Arena E of Mülsen: Britain’s Callum Bradshaw (Strawberry Racing) had taken the Senior MAX title while Paul Louveau had been able to celebrate in the DD2 Masters. The situation was still open with the juniors and in the DD2 class, in which the overall leaders Kai Rillaerts (JJ Racing) from Belgium and the Czech Petr Bezel (KSCA Sodi Europe) had the best chances to prevail. All the winners of the invitational tickets to the Rotax MAX Challenge Grand Finals in Bahrain were still to be confirmed as well. Only Bradshaw and Louveau had already saved their place.
Junior MAX: Victory for Rennhofer – Title for Rillaerts
Championship leader and title defender Kai Rillaerts (JJ Racing) didn’t want to leave anything to chance at the season finale. The Belgian made his ambition clear in qualifying with the definite best time, but in the heats the competition stepped up. In each of the three races there was a different winner with Kai Rillaerts, Raphael Rennhofer (FM Racing) from Germany and Ethan Jeff-Hall (Strawberry Racing) from Great Britain being successful. The defending champion, however, stayed at the top of the rankings and was able to start the first final from pole position.
The first race became extremely exciting! Up to seven drivers fought for victory and changed the lead several times. In the end there was a photo finish between Kai Rillaerts and the Dutchman Matthijs Terlouw (Tony Kart), which the Belgian won with a “gap” of 0.005 seconds. But the bad news followed after the race: Kai Rillaerts received a bumper penalty and slipped back to ninth place. In the meantime, Matthijs Terlouw inherited the victory in front the two Germans Farin Megger and Raphael Rennhofer.
The latter was the dominant youngster of the second final. While Matthijs Terlouw dropped back place by place, Raphael Rennhofer boosted himself to the top of the pack and broke away by almost three seconds until the checkered flag fell. Farin Megger and the Dane Mikkel Pedersen (RS Competition) followed behind in the chase. Kai Rillaerts ended up in eleventh place after he received another time penalty. In the end, that was enough for the Exprit-driver to successfully defend the championship title. Raphael Rennhofer celebrated as well, gaining his first ever victory in the RMC Euro Trophy in the day’s ranking. Farin Megger and Matthijs Terlouw completed the podium.
Senior MAX: Callum Bradshaw wins the Finale
In the 31-strong field of seniors, Sean Butcher (KR Sport) set the pace in qualifying. But in the further course of the weekend, the Briton did not play a decisive role. That didn’t apply to Mathilda Olsson (Strawberry Racing) though. The two-times RMCET champion won all the heats to secure pole position for the first final. And here again, the Swedish racing lady was unbeatable. With a clear start-to-finish victory, she triumphed over the newly-decided champion Callum Bradshaw (Strawberry Racing) and Lewis Gilbert (Potenza Racing Engines).
The tide turned in the second final: Mathilda Olsson was overtaken by team-mate Bradshaw after a few laps. While the Briton was able to pull away, Olsson had to assert herself in a bigger fight and lost touch with the leader. Callum Bradshaw managed to keep his lead confidently over 16 laps, thereby taking a clear victory ahead of Mathilda Olsson, who reconfirmed her skills with the fastest lap. Third place again went to Lewis Gilbert from Great Britain. In the end, the same order applied to the day’s classification.
DD2 / DD2 Masters: Victories for Ragnar Veerus and Michael Becker
Ragnar Veerus (BirelART Baltics) from Estonia left his mark on the final weekend when the Estonian set the bar in qualifying and the heats. It was not later than the first final, when he had to leave the way his opponents. The two title rivals Petr Bezel (KSCA Sodi Europe) and Ville Viiliaeinen (RS Competition) made their way to the top. However, the duel between these two was short-lived; an unfortunate collision forced both of them into the pits due to the damage as a consequence. This cleared the way for Ragnar Veerus again, who ultimately secured victory over Jakub Bezel (KSCA Sodi Europe) and the German Mika Metz (Dörr Motorsport) with a lead of over four seconds.
The second final was unspectacular: Ragnar Veerus left no doubt and took a safe victory from the lights. The following positions again went to Jakub Bezel and Mika Metz. In the end, this also corresponded to the order in the day’s ranking. There were no more surprises in the championship standings. After Ville Viiliaeinen did not gain any points in the second final, Petr Bezel took the European crown. For the Czech, it is his first overall victory in the RMC Euro Trophy.
In the classification of the DD2 Masters, the German Michael Becker (CompKart) triumphed in the daily classification. He shared the final victories with Denis Thum (Kraft Motorsport), who finished second. Third on the podium was the 2021 champion Paul Louveau (Redspeed).
Rotax Project E20 Series: Hannes Morin takes Win and Title
In the electric kart racing series of the Project E20 Tour, it was Xen De Ruwe (SSC Intrepid), an RMC pro, who set the pace at the beginning of the weekend. The Belgian drove the fastest lap in official timed practice and defended the lead even after the heats. But in the first final, the competition got closer and ultimately the favourite was involved in a collision that threw him back to the end of the field, thus destroying all chances of a good result. Meanwhile, Hannes Morin (Sodi Vetisse) boosted himself to victory easily, an image that was repeated in Final 2, so that the Swede was able to clinch the day’s victory with the maximum of points. The best supporting roles in both finals were played by the Finn Aleksi Jalava and the Dane Victor Nielsen, who in the end also completed the podium in the day’s standings. In the overall ranking of the Project E20 Tour, Hannes Morin also prevailed. The following places went to the American Ellis Spiezia and Theo Kekati from the United Arab Emirates.
RMC Euro Trophy prepared for 2022 & special highlight event to end season 2021
In the evening, Meik Wagner, organizer of the Rotax MAX Challenge Euro Trophy, looked back at the season: “It was far from a normal season. The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic impacted us for the second year now. Nevertheless, we were able to hold a full championship under these circumstances. The four events were internationally attended and we welcomed almost 400 different drivers over the course of the season. I would like to thank everyone involved for their trust and commitment. Equally, I congratulate all the champions on their success. We are already working busy on the preparations for 2022. The calendar has been set and includes races in Genk, Adria, Mariembourg and Wackersdorf. Ahead of the actual series, the RMC Winter Cup in Campillos will mark the first event in February. But there is even one more highlight coming this year: From November 5th to 7th we will be holding the RMC Euro Golden Trophy at Genk. It will mark a last-minute chance to grab tickets for the RMC Grand Finals. There are also other prizes with a total value of around 30,000 euros for the best-placed drivers. The Golden Trophy will open for the categories of Rotax Micro, Mini, Junior, Senior, DD2 and DD2 Masters. So I hope that many will join us for this special event.”
All information about the Rotax MAX Challenge Euro Trophy is available on www.rotaxmaxchallenge-eurotrophy.com – including the link to the results and livestream race videos.
Info BRP-Rotax / © Photos Timo Deck