The 2013 Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals officially got under way on Wednesday with official Qualifying. After a day and a half of practice and testing, Qualifying capped the days activity in New Orleans, USA as drivers from around the world battled for the best time in their respective classes and the all important pole-positions. The four official Rotax classes were on track today while the Micro and Mini Max classes were supplied their karts for their invitational races later this week. The day was highlighted by extreme winds and very cold temperatures, things not expected in the south of United States.
Rotax DD2 Masters has looked like it will be a battle of past Grand Finals champions this week, but come qualifying there was a new name added to the mix.
Group one in qualifying had Canadians Francis Mondou and 2010 Grand Finals Champion Scott Campbell on track as well as last years Grand Finals Champion Christiano Morgado of South Africa. While Morgado shot to the top of the charts early, Campbell and Mondou waited for the right moment. For Campbell that would come in the middle of the session while Mondou waited right until the very end. At the end of the 15-minute session Morgado led the way while Campbell was sixth in group and Mondou in twelfth.
Group two involved Canadian Champion Stuart Clark as well as American Champion Alan Rudolph among many others. Lap after lap, Clark was able to better himself and wound up with the fifth quickest time in the session while Rudolph was able to better Morgado but just over a tenth of a second.
With the times combined, Rudolph earned Team USA their third pole-position of the day, while Michael Dauphin of France was second and Morgado third. Clark ended up seventh overall, with Campbell down 15th, placing both of them in group C. In his first Grand Finals, Mondou scored an impressive 29th and will be in group A for the heat races.