The 2012 Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals concluded today with the final races for all the competing classes. Today’s weather had made a complete 180 degree U-turn from yesterday and provided a dry track and softer winds to help out with today’s racing. It was the day to make dreams come true for any Rotax racer. Over 300 drivers here at Kartódromo Internacional Algrave in Portimão, Portugal have been here for over a week and today was the day that counted for all the marbles. Four categories had to run their pre finals and finals to determine who would be the Grand Finals Champion. There was no doubt today’s racing would be incredible.
Rotax Junior Pre Final
Kicking off the days action, Rotax Junior was on track first for their pre final. A wild start would see all three Canadian’s run into trouble as Parker Thompson, Zachary Claman DeMelo and Zacharie Scalzo were all held up. Scalzo would receive the worst as he lost his nosecone and would have to retire. Doing their best to work back through the field, DeMelo would run as high as tenth before crossing the finish line in twelfth, Thompson in nineteenth, and Scalzo ranked 30th. However following the race, DeMelo would be accessed a 10-second penalty and would be forced to start the final from twenty-third.
Rotax Junior Final
With the drivers on the starting grid for the final the tension really began to mount. All three Canadian’s were starting from the second half of the grid and things didn’t look so well. However a great start by both Thompson and DeMelo saw them advance and rounding the first lap Thompson was up sixth spots to twelfth. Unfortunately for Scalzo another opening accident had him round lap one nearly half a track behind.
Thompson’s pace to in the opening stages of the race was unbelievable as the talented driver from Alberta was on a tear picking off drivers all over the track and by the halfway point was up to fifth. Even though the leaders were able to break away early in the race, Thompson’s pace allowed him to catch up and with five laps to go, the lead was in sight. Attempting to pass into the fast turn one, Thompson was denied once, but the next time by he made no mistake and was now in pursuit of third place. Once again he used his straight line speed to his benefit and this time passed into the tight turn three. With a lap to go Thompson made his move into second and a three-kart scrap began. Trading places all over the track there was plenty of rubber being exchanged as the three all fought for two podium positions. Holding second with only four corners remaining Thompson would lose the position with two corners left but hold on to finish third! The result made Thompson the first driver from Canada to podium in Rotax Junior at the Rotax Grand Finals.
After battling through the mid-pack the entire race, DeMelo was able to cross the finish line in tenth, while Scalzo was scored with a disappointing twenty-ninth.