South Africans take on the world in the biggest karting championship on the planet
- *Durban’s Cristiano Morgado is aiming for his fourth successive World title in the DD2 Masters Category.
- *Over 280 drivers from more than 60 countries will compete
- *Each driver gets a free-of-charge, brand new kart, engine, tyres, fuel, oil, kart trolley and tools to compete – a unique system to ensure absolute parity of equipment, so it’s all down to the driver!
This coming week, Ten South Africans will compete in the 2014 Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals in Spain, with four new karting world champions to be crowned on Saturday, November 29.
The South African team, selected after a gruelling season of local Max Challenge kart racing, comprises our champions and vice-champions in four classes – Junior Max, for drivers 13-16 years old, Senior Max for drivers 15-years and older, DD2 Gearbox, for drivers 15 years and older and DD2 Gearbox Masters for drivers 32 years and older.
Heading up our team is the vastly experienced Cristiano Morgado from Durban, who has won three Rotax DD2 Masters world championships on the trot, in 2011, 2012 and 2013. And Cris also holds a Senior Max title, which he won as far back as 2004.
Cris and the rest of the team have a lot of expectation resting on their shoulders, as, since the Rotax Grand Finals World Championship was instigated at the end of 1999, South Africans have won no less than 12 World Championships, starting with Gavin Cronje in the first Grand Finals in Puerto Rico.
The team is jetting out to Spain this weekend for the week-long build-up to the race. And their work will be cut out for them from the moment they arrive at the brand new Kartodromo Lucas Guerrero Chiva, located 30 km outside the beautiful Mediterranean coastal city of Valencia.
The South Africans will be taking on over 280 drivers, all of them national champions or regional champions, from more than 60 countries where Rotax Max Challenge kart racing is held under strict championship conditions. No wild card or paid drives are available and invitations are issued to Series or National winners only.
The week-long programme begins on Monday, November 24, with the raffle for karts, engines and tyres. This is the most amazing aspect of the Grand Finals and unique in any racing series in the world. The sight of close to 300 brand new, identical karts lined up on the track on their trolleys is truly breath-taking, and has been a feature of the Rotax Max Grand Finals since its inception.
On Tuesday, November 25, the drivers will take to the circuit for free, untimed practice, to learn the track, set up their karts’ chassis, and hone their driving sharpness.
On Wednesday November 25, official practice and qualifying begins for all four classes where South Africa will be competing. Only 36 karts are allowed out on the circuit at a time, so the drivers will be divided into groups to achieve this. Each category has approximately 72 drivers taking part from all over the world.
On Thursday November26 and Friday November27, the qualifying and elimination races will be run. The drivers are divided into groups so that they all race against each other at some point at this stage. The top 26 drivers from each category are then chosen to take part on the final day of racing on the Saturday, while there is also a “last-chance” race for each category, where the top six from these events go through to the pre-finals and the finals.
On Saturday November 27, the pre-final and finals of each category will be run, with the finals for each category starting in the early afternoon. And at 6.30 pm (SA Time), the prize-giving will be held to announce the four new World Champions.
- The South African Rotax max Challenge team is as follows:
- Junior Max: Jordan Sherrat and Kohen Bam
- Senior Max: Eugene Denyssen and Luke Herring
- DD2 Gearbox: Benjamin Habig and Bradley Liebenberg
- DD2 Masters: Cristiano Morgado, Erwin Sterne, Richard van Heerde, Marouan Selmi.
Says multiple World Champion Cristiano Morgado: “It’s all about 100 per cent focus, from the moment you arrive at the Grand Finals, through the kart draw, setting up your kart, through practice and qualifying, to the elimination races and the finals. You have to stay 100 per cent focussed for the entire week. “
By winning a Rotax Max Challenge World Championship title, karters will have the satisfaction of knowing that they are tops in their category in a race series that has over 15 000 drivers competing for titles in their respective countries each year!
And that, by winning, they have not done so through employing extra tuning secrets bought at great expense, but by competing in machines that are absolutely identical. It is this parity of equipment that has made the Rotax Series the most completive racing series in the world, regardless of the form of motorsport!