The 2012 Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals concluded today with the final races for all the competing classes. Today’s weather had made a complete 180 degree U-turn from yesterday and provided a dry track and softer winds to help out with today’s racing. It was the day to make dreams come true for any Rotax racer. Over 300 drivers here at Kartódromo Internacional Algrave in Portimão, Portugal have been here for over a week and today was the day that counted for all the marbles. Four categories had to run their pre finals and finals to determine who would be the Grand Finals Champion. There was no doubt today’s racing would be incredible.
DD2 Pre Final
After a perfect score throughout the DD2 heat races, Ben Cooper would take a well deserved pole starting position for today’s pre final. Cooper would take the green and protect himself from any chargers in the first few corners. The field would battle aggressively, allowing Cooper to stretch an early lead. Belgian driver, Xen De Ruwe would break from the fight and set Cooper in his sights. As the last lap approached, Cooper would have to drive slightly defensive to hold off De Ruwe to take the pre final win. Zacharie Richard-Robichon would have an amazing race for himself as he was bumped into a spin on the opening lap and dropped to twenty-eighth, but bounced back to fifteenth. Latifi didn’t have the race he was looking for as his third starting position would crumble to a seventeenth place finish. Hopefully Latifi would be able to solve his issues of poor straight-line speed before the final race.
With the pre final in the books, Cooper was hoping to continue his momentum into the final, though he definitely had some difficult work cut out for himself. Twenty-one laps on the long 1.5km circuit, would prove to be the most difficult race of Cooper’s career. The deep field of competition knew they had to speed to attack and challenge for the win. The start was clean, but the race was tighter than anyone could have imagined. With Cooper leading the pack of twelve karts behind him, including Robichon and Latifi, each one of them ready to take their shot at the lead. De Ruwe would get by Cooper, but the Belgian would retire his challenge against Cooper with a blown motor shortly after. The intensity of the fight didn’t fall off as the battle for lead was still anyones race. Luckily for Cooper, the fight briefly shifted to second spot and Cooper had a safety gap in the closing laps. From there, he would drive the most perfect laps of his life to maintain his near one second lead and take the win! Other notable drives came from Robichon in his first Grand Finals experience as he found himself in the thick of the action in the lead pack. Robichon would hold his ground when needed and advance in position at every opportunity, just the way he needed to be, allowing him to come home in eighth place with a huge smile on his face. Also not forgotten in the shadows was Nicholas Latifi. Not the race he was hoping for, but was definitely part of the action, Latifi would come to the line in thirteenth. Still a great result when you think of the level of competition.
The DD2 Final completed the on track action at the 2012 Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals in Portimão. What a day it was for Canada, with three podium results to take back home to the Great White North. All of Team Canada is to be proud of their accomplishments this week and leave with their heads held high.