Cristiano Morgado was the story in DD2 Masters on Thursday as the South African driver dominated both of his heat races.
Rotax DD2 Masters Heat A vs B:
In the first round of heats the four-time Rotax Grand Final Champion took a substantial lead as predicted en route to the win. Second was Martin Pierce (Ireland) and third was Australian driver Adam Hunter. Rounding out the top five was Antti Ollikainen (Finland) and Ryan Urban (New Zealand). As for North America, Canadian Stuart Clark recorded a solid fifteenth position and Team USA driver Erik Jackson had a challenging race recording a 34th place finish.
Rotax DD2 Masters C vs D:
The second heat race followed the same format as previous classes as group C took on group D. Mikko Laine (Finland) put on a very strong performance finishing first in his respective heat. Primoz Matelic (Slovakia) was able to take home second place with Henry Martin (Argentina) finishing third. Tiffany Chittenden (New Zeland) who had just returned from the Las Vegas SuperNationals scored a fourth place with Charlie Hipp (France) rounding out the top five.
Derek Wang (USA), who has been battling Bronchitis since arriving late from Las Vegas, managed a tenth place finish putting the first North American inside the top-ten in the category. Mike Jones from Team USA found himself in seventeenth position after a long fought mid-pack battle. Alan Rudolph who was excluded from yesterdays qualification showed great promise off his start from 36th position but later spun resulting in 22nd place. Canadians Francis Mondou and Bobby Greene finished 30th and 33rd respectively as both drivers are facing challenges of the Grand Finals.
Rotax DD2 Masters A vs C:
The third race of DD2 Master heats (A vs C) was once again dominated by the four time world champion Morgado. Morgado definitively took the lead and did not look back for both heat races of Thursdays action. Antti Ollikainen (Finland) was able to lock down second place again with fellow teammate Mikko Laine taking third. Fourth was France driver Jeremie Charon and Chittenden (NZL) rounded out the top five. A couple of names are consistently appearing near the top of DD2 Masters which should make for some intense racing come Saturday.
As for North Americans, Alan Rudolph (USA) recorded quite an impressive drive as he ventured from 36th position to 17th. Teammate Mike Jones recorded a twentieth while Canadians Paul Carvalho and Francis Mondou found themselves in 25th and 26th respectively. Bobby Greene (USA) recorded a 27th place finish while Erik Jackson (USA) was 30th. Canadian Stuart Clark was running seventh when his throttle stuck, forcing him to take evasive action to control his kart in the tight hairpin section and ending up 32nd.
Rotax DD2 Masters B vs D:
The final DD2 Master heat (Group B + D) was claimed by Aussie Adam Hunter. Irish driver Martin Pierce took home second place and Primoz Matelic (Slovakia) was third. A tight battle made for some great close racing action as Spanish driver Javier Campo claimed fourth followed by Tommy Helfinger (Germany).
There were only two North American drivers both belonging to Team USA. Derek Wang found himself in 26th position after some early race carnage, followed by Kenneth Maxfield. Although the two drivers did not get the results they wanted we will look to see them improve in tomorrows heats.
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.