Team Canada got their first true taste of the Paladino International Circuit in Brazil as the 360 competitors at the Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals hit the track for their first three rounds of practice on Monday.
Mother Nature may have delivered some of the most challenging conditions we have ever experienced as the term ‘scattered showers’ could not have been truer. On and off all day, the number of times rain fell was easily in the double digits, but with the high heat, humidity and heavy wind only once were rain tires actually needed. In more than one session, the track would start out dry, dampen up enough for the officials to use the slippery surface flags, and then dry out and be back to full speed before the checkered flag flew.
These conditions left many scratching their heads as they tested setups and were delivered unique results.
We caught up with Saskatchewan’s Townes Allen after the day to get his feelings on his first Rotax Grand Finals experience so far. He as all smiles as the day concluded, showing good speed and learning what it’s like to be on track with 36 karts at a time for the first time.
“It was really good to finally get on track. Quite a challenging day with the weather constantly changing. We were fast to start of the day but as the track gripped up we didn’t quite adapt our kart to the track conditions.”
“It was a good experience to drive wheel to wheel with such a wide variety of different drivers from around the world. I was really starting to get the feel of driving in big trains and I felt I did quite well. The first day at the Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals was overall very busy and a lot of hard work. But I am very happy to be here and know this will help my driving a lot.”
“At the end of the day, we just focus on ourselves and take everything one step at a time. It then just becomes second nature to drive with such a big grid.”
Having two drivers for teammates that have been to this spectacular event before has also been helpful for Allen. Thomas Nepveu and Jason Leung are both experiencing the race for the second time in their careers and the three are working well together.
Tuesday will feature another full day of practice on track as drivers have three more sessions to sort themselves out and set up for Wednesdays important Qualifying sessions.