The Rotax Senior division is always a fun one to watch at the Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals and this year in Valencia, Spain it is no different. Driving styles and defence are things we don’t see in North America and for Rotax Grand Finals rookies it always catches them off guard in the first day of racing.
Rotax Senior A vs B:
The first heat of A vs B saw Belgian driver and polesitter Dylan Lahaye edging out the victory over Brazilian driver Luca Travaglini. Lahaye fell back to fifth on the opening lap but battled his way back to the lead on the final circuit. Spanish driver Carlos Gil had his nose in the mix rounding out the top-3 followed by Josh White (United Kingdom) and Luke Herring (South Africa).
As For North Americans it was Oliver Askew who had the best drive of the heat, advancing himself to sixth position. Unfortunately this was taken away from him as he was penalized with aggressive driving resulting in heat disqualification. This meant that Askew would score points for 36th position. Canadian Bryce Choquer pulled off a 22nd position finish with Jake Craig (USA) 24th and Mason Marotta 33rd respectively. Tight traffic and wrecks make it quite difficult for drivers to start mid pack which shows the importance of qualification.
Rotax Senior C vs D:
The second Senior Max heat took place between groups C and D. Canadian Zachary Claman-DeMelo lead a portion of this heat with a spectacular drive, but was edged out by Portuguese driver Bruno Borlido for the win. DeMelo showed excellent composure throughout the entire heat and shows great promise for future heats. Harry Webb was also in the mix rounding out the top three finishers after starting outside the top-ten. Another driver who had a fanastic drive was team USA member Philip Arscott who secured himself a fourth place finish. Rounding out the North American results for this heat was Dan Roeper (USA) with a seventeenth place finish, Christophe Paquet (CAN) in 22nd and Ashley Rogero (USA) was 33rd respectively.
Rotax Senior A vs C:
The second round of Senior Max heats saw even more excitement than the first round as drivers found their comfort zones. The heat between group A and C began with a wild start including multiple spins and pileups. The start saw DeMelo jump to the lead into corner one from his fourth place starting spot, only to be nudged from behind in the fast sweeping corner, sending him into a half spin and a miracle he wasn’t hit off completely. DeMelo was pushed back into seventh but was able to bounce back to a second place finish. Borlido was able to secure his second win with Spanish driver Eduardo Garcia rounding out the top three with Fredd Eriksson(Sweden) and Luca Travaglini (Brazil) completing the top-five. After winning heat one, Lahaye was forced into a DNF in heat two earning him a tough 35 points.
Mason Marotta (USA) had an excellent drive with a tenth place finish and Bryce Choquer (CAN) found himself in twentieth when all was done, cruising around with a wounded side pod for most of the race. Christophe Paquet (CAN) was 26th and Dan Roeper was 27th while Arscott was envolved in a wreck which caused him to have a DNF.
Rotax Senior B vs D:
The final round of Senior Max heats was group B vs D. Oliver Askew was able to redeem his loss from the first heat and secure a victory for Team USA. Second was Spanish driver Carlos Gil and third was Joseph Reilly (United Kingdom) followed by Nicolas Picot (France) and Martin Mortensen (Denmark).
For North Americans it was Team USA member Jake Craig who finished 17th as the only other North American in this heat. This puts Askew in an interesting position in regards to points as he has a victory and last place points.
Friday morning the Rotax Junior drivers will hit the track for their third and final round of heat races. Those placed within the top-28 advance directly to Saturday’s Prefinal while the remainder will have to race their way in via the Last Chance Race where only the top-6 survive.