By: Nathan Kelly/CKN.
Wednesday brought a cool morning to Valencia as teams were seen dressed in Canadian winter attire in the morning. As the sun began to shine in the afternoon some of the jackets were put away and temperatures resumed their normal Spanish warmth. The day began with two ten-minute practice sessions for final preparations before qualification began. Overnight rain made for a wet track in the first round of practices as drivers struggled to get quick times and grip. The second practice saw drivers and teams give their final shot at any testing or tuning before the qualification. Practice tires were done after the final practice session and drivers made the transition to their race tires, which they will be required to run for the remainder of the Rotax Grand Finals.
Each class is running on different compound of tire, The junior’s will be running on Mojo D1’s, which have limited grip in comparison to other Mojo products. The Senior max runs on the Mojo D2’s which are the highest level of grip slick tire that Mojo offers, and finally the DD2 categories run on the Mojo D3’s, which are a stiffer version of the D2. Each tire offers different challenges for the driver, different compounds make tuning very different for each class and requires drivers to be ever so precise. Managing tires for all three days of competition is new this year, as in years past drivers who advanced to the final day of competition were allotted a second set. Tire management will be vital for those making a title run on Saturday.
It was a day of ups and downs for North American drivers. Three Team USA members were excluded from qualification for technicalities. DD2 Master’s driver Alan Rudolph found himself excluded from qualification before he could even start his engine. Rudolph attempted to double check his wheel nuts for tightness on the pre-grid and was excluded immediately for using tools outside of Parc Ferme. Ashley Rogero found herself in a similar situation come her qualification as she had a similar issue with an engine component. A third team USA member Dan Roeper was excluded from qualification results as he was penalized with aggressive driving in the qualification, losing his 12th place time.
Team Canada had some promising results as Jeff Kingsley found himself qualifying in seventh position. The Canadian has displayed high levels of consistency all week and shows promise for the heat races. Similarly in DD2 Ben Cooper had a respectable tenth place finish, and there is no question that position will improve throughout the week. In Rotax Senior devision Zachary Claman DeMelo scored a seventh place finish and we should see the Canadian also improving that result as the week progresses.
As always the Rotax Grand Finals has not disappointed with excitement levels as we wrap up the qualification round. Thursday brings the heat races in which drivers will look to advance their results. Two Heats on Thursday, one on Friday followed the Last Chance Races that we hope no North American drivers will need.
Stay tuned to CKN for results, posts and up to date coverage.
GoRotax Video Update.
Wednesday Qualifying recap featuring Ashley Rogero, Zachary Claman DeMelo, Alan Rudolph, Fred Woodley and Sting Ray Robb.