Two young Canadians made a trip across the Atlantic this past weekend to take part in the Rotax Max Challenge International Trophy race and prepare themselves for the upcoming Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals in Portimao, Portugal.
Jason Leung and Alex Berg competed on the very circuit, Kartodromo International Algarve, where they will represent Team Canada at the RMCGF in January as many Rotax racers from across Europe converged for the final trophies of the 2020 season.
A mixture of unexpected weather is exactly what Portimao is known to deliver and it caught many racers and teams off guard.
Unfortunately, both Canadians weren’t able to advance to the A Finals in their divisions, but took home plenty of data to utilize when they return in just over a months time.
We caught up with both drivers to get their impressions of the trip, the circuit and the event as they prepare to represent their home country in January.
Alexander Berg, Rotax Junior Max
Going to Portugal for the first time for me was something very special.
I had come into the weekend not knowing what to expect. I missed the first half of the first practice day because my flight had gotten in a bit late.
It was a very tough competition, especially since it was raining all weekend, and the last time I had driven in the rain was a very long time ago. The last time I was in a go-kart was a month prior to the event.
The top speed of the karts was 135KPH, which was the quickest I have ever gone in my life.
We missed even more practice on the second practice day due to license issues.
Unfortunately, we did not make the A-main, but we were fighting for the win in the B-main, as we were in the top-three all race, on the last lap I went for the lead, but unfortunately we only finished fourth in the last corner.
I am very glad to have raced here and cannot wait to race the Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals and represent team Canada.
Jason Leung, Rotax Senior Max
The weekend was difficult from the beginning to end due to not purchasing a set of practice wet tires since it was wet all week.
I struggled in practice with tire difference as some had better tires all the way up to Qualifying. Qualifying was not bad and I would start 9th and 10th for the heat races. however, a DNS from a spark plug failure, being smashed off twice in the last two heats meant a B final for me.
I still kept positive as I wanted to be the best I can. On Sunday it was finally dry in the B final and I started 17th. A driver rear-ending me caused another bumper penalty on the start but I charged forward regardless, finishing 7th on track, and passing 10 drivers to be the fastest driver out there with the best lap.
Looking back, I learned loads and even though it got worse and worse throughout the weekend it was decent to cap it off with that finish while learning a lot and having fun.
The Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals will take place on January 23 to 30 in Portimao, Portugal.