The 2012 Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals are well underway at the Kartodromo International do Algarve, in Portimão, Portugal. After picking up their chassis and preparing them on Sunday, teams and drivers hit the track on Monday for a quick afternoon shake-down before Tuesday’s official timed practice sessions. It was very cool and windy in Portugal today, resembling conditions similar to home for much of Team Canada.
The track here in Portugal is 1531 meters in length, and features everything from elevation to extremely long straights, and a super-slow infield making it very difficult to find the balance in driving and kart setup. Drivers must be on the ball to put together a great lap as momentum is very important.
Team Canada has shown very well thus far in timed practice in all four divisions.
Here is breakdown of each division when the timesheets are combined:
|1.||Otero Perez Alvaro (ESP)||1:02.461|
|16.||Zachary Claman DeMelo||1:02.884|
After today’s sessions, CKN caught up with Parker Thompson and asked him how he has compared this year’s event to last years and what he has planned for tomorrow.
“Basically, being my second time at the Grand Finals, I’m much more calm and feel more mature this year after being in fields with more depth in competition, including this years Euro Max in France, that really helped. When I go out on track, and maybe I’m not the fastest, for instance the last session we made a couple bad changes and went backwards putting us twentieth overall, compared to our fourth (in group) in practice two. I wasn’t freaking out, where as last year I was tore up and upset.”
“My expectations for tomorrow are definitely a top-ten in qualifying. Get us up in the front and away from the action.”
|1.||Alexandre Finkelstein (FRA)||1:01.148|
Rotax DD2 Masters:
|1.||Guy Pansart (FRA)||1:00.284|
CKN also spoke with Stuart Clark just after he checked out the final times from today’s session.
“The day went great today, we made steady progress. I think were in good shape for tomorrow and we don’t plan to make any huge changes. Our approach has been pretty slow and steady, we haven’t done anything aggressive. I think we’re in good shape for qualifying tomorrow afternoon.”
|1.||Xen De Ruwe (BEL)||59.419|
Finally, CKN spoke with Zacharie Richard-Robichon about his first time at the Grand Finals and how things are going for him.
“So far, so good. It’s a very impressive facility, but I’ve gotten settled in now. The biggest difference is that we don’t get a lot of time on track. There’s a lot of waiting around, although it make it that much better when you do get on track. In the two practice sessions today we’re right in the thick of it, missing only about two-to-three tenths and in both practices we made huge changes. I am confident in what we have an ready for qualifying tomorrow afternoon.”
Tomorrow CKN will have a live chat that includes a Live Timing feed, starting with qualifying at 1:05PM local time (8:05 Eastern). Be sure to tune it, as will keep you up to date, answer questions and even bring in a driver or two to chat with.