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.
As always, Rotax Senior Max is a class full of International talent and a little more grit than the other three classes. This years crop of drivers is no different and we can’t wait to see them begin racing.
First up in qualifying was the odd numbered karts in group one. Skylar Dunning was the lone Canadian in the first group and after an up and down set of practices Dunning struggled to pick up the pace that the group was gaining on fresh rubber. Only being to manage the 24th best time in the group, Dunning knew right away he was going to have his work cut out for him in the heat races.
Group two saw Zachary Claman DeMelo and Olivier Bedard. Bedard was one of the first on track and this appeared to be a slight error as almost the entire group waited until halfway to hit the racing surface. With drafting a very key component in qualifying in the high winds, Bedard had nobody to break the wind in the early stages. With all kinds of strategy going on when the masses hit the track, many drivers struggled to get a fast lap in including DeMelo, waiting until his sixth tour to post a good time. Luckily he got it in as just over a minute late the red flag would be displayed ending the session two minutes short. DeMelo ended up with fifth best time while Bedard was down in 19th.
Overall it was the Spanish driver Carlos Gil topping the charts, followed by Aavo Talvar of Finland and Oliver Hodgson of the UK. DeMelo ended up 15th with the first group showing to be much faster. Further down, Dunning ended up 37th and Bedard 48th. For their groups Demelo will be in group C, with Dunning in group A and Bedard in group D.